How to Care for Red Yucca Plants

Overview

Red yucca, also known as hummingbird yucca, is a perennial plant valued for its large, ornamental flowers, attractive foliage, drought tolerance and ease of care. The plant blooms during early summer, producing large, red, tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds to the garden, hence the common name. Native to North and Central America, the red yucca plant thrives in USDA zones 5 through 11, making it ideal for lawns and gardens across much of the United States.

Step 1

Plant red yucca during mid-spring after all danger of frost has passed in your area. Choose a planting site that receives full sunlight throughout the day and consists of well-drained, moist soil. Space red yucca plants at least 3 to 4 feet apart.

Step 2

Spread a 3-inch layer of gravel mulch over the soil surrounding red yucca plants to insulate the soil, increase moisture retention and deter the growth of weeds. Allow 2 to 3 inches between the crown of the plant and the gravel to allow enough air circulation.

Step 3

Water once every five to seven days during the first year of growth to help establish the plant's root system. Decrease watering frequency thereafter to once every 10 days. Apply water directly to the soil and avoid moistening the leaves, as wet foliage is more vulnerable to disease.

Step 4

Feed red yucca plant during early spring, just as new growth begins. Use a balanced 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer to provide proper nutrition for root, foliage and flower formation. Apply according to the manufacturer's instructions for the best results.

Step 5

Use pruning shears to remove all damaged foliage and dead flower stalks from red yucca whenever possible to increase the overall health and visual appeal of the plant. Do not remove more than half the foliage at once, or the plant may not recover.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear gloves when handling yucca to avoid injury from the sharp foliage.

Things You'll Need

  • Gravel
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

References

  • University of Arizona Cooperative Extension: Red Yucca: Drought Tolerant and Colorful
  • Monrovia: Red Yucca
  • "New Mexico Gardener's Guide"; Judith Phillips; 2005

Who Can Help

  • US National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: red yucca plants, red yucca care, hummingbird yucca

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.