Hesperaloe, or false yucca, refers to a whole genus of flowering succulents that belong to the family Asparagaceae and subfamily Agavoideae. Hesperaloe gets its name from “hesperos”, which means “western” in Greek and its second half, “aloe”, because of its resemblance to the aloe plant.
Hesperaloe plants are yucca-like perennial plants having long and narrow leaves, which are produced in a basal rosette. Hesperaloe is native to the dry regions of Texas and Mexico and is popularly also grown as xerophytic ornamental plants. There are many different species of Hesperaloe that can be found all over Central America.
Some of the common Hesperaloe plants are Hesperaloe parviflora (red yucca), Hesperaloe nocturna, Hesperaloe funifera, Hesperaloe campanulate, Hesperaloe malacophylla, Hesperaloe engelmannii and Hesperaloe chiangii.
- 1 Types of Hesperaloe Succulents
- 2 How Do You Take Care of Hesperaloe?
- 3 How Fast Does Hesperaloe Grow?
- 4 What Grows Well with Hesperaloe?
- 5 How Do You Get Hesperaloe to Bloom?
- 6 How Do You Divide Hesperaloe?
- 7 Is Hesperaloe Poisonous to Dogs?
Types of Hesperaloe Succulents
Hesperaloe parviflora is a beautiful dense, clumping plant with slender, fountain-like, blue-green foliage throughout the year, but stunning when in flower during the summer months. Reddish pink flowers bloom almost all summer. It looks superficially like a Yucca.
How Do You Take Care of Hesperaloe?
In the natural habitat, the Hesperaloe grows and thrives in hot and dry conditions. The Hesperaloe plant needs plenty of sunlight to grow, can remain fresh and live without water for a very long time. While the Hesperaloe is quite heat resistant, it can also withstand the cold and can be grown in the USDA hardiness zone of 5 to 10.
During the cold season, the leaves of the Hesperaloe plant may die; however, the plant remains alive. These plants do not require a lot of water and are drought tolerant; however, it is recommended to water these plants at least around 2 times a month. Watering them a bit during summer encourages flowering; however, you must take care not to overwater the plant.
The Hesperaloe plant grows quite well in different types of soil; however, they prefer sandy soil, which needs to be well-drained and dry and they generally do not tolerate wet soil. Hesperaloe are hardy and long-living plants compared to other ornamental plants and so they are quite popularly used for decorative purposes.
How Fast Does Hesperaloe Grow?
The growth rate of the Hesperaloe varies from slow to moderate, depending on the temperature and water.
What Grows Well with Hesperaloe?
While often, Hesperaloe look nice and decorative when planted in mass, they do quite well when planted in containers or as an accent plant. If you plan to grow your Hesperaloe with other plants, you must ensure that the companion plants also have the same water requirements such as Panicum grass, sedum, agave, Mexican primrose, cacti, brittlebush, coneflower or wildflowers such as calylophus and penstemon.
How Do You Get Hesperaloe to Bloom?
Typically, Hesperaloe produces many flower stalks every year with a profusion of tubular flowers that start blooming in spring and go on until summer. The stalks usually grow to around 3 to 5 feet, sometimes even reaching 9 feet in height.
However, if you have Hesperaloe at home and want it to bloom, then you must make sure that the plant gets plenty of sunlight. Hesperaloe plants can withstand freezing temperatures; however, a late frost can damage the flower stalks, which are just starting to bloom.
If you notice that the flower stalks that are emerging are black in color, then it is a good idea to cut them off. The Hesperaloe plant will bloom from early summer until fall and the new flower stalks will appear by this time.
How Do You Divide Hesperaloe?
Typically, the Hesperaloe plant spreads by itself via self-seeding, you can grow it from seeds or it can be propagated using clump division. While it is easy to grow the Hesperaloe plant from seeds; however, it takes many years for the plant to flower and so clump division is the more popular method of propagation.
Over time, you will notice the clumps expanding and becoming denser. You can easily divide the clumps and move the extra pieces and pot them or plant them in other areas. Dividing is best to do in fall or winter before the new growth starts in the plant.
To divide the plant, look closely and you can see where the clump has developed new offsets. You can use a sharp spade to dig away the new offsets. Each offset produces a new plant. If you want to reduce the size more, then you can simply dig and remove the root clump and divide the entire thing.
Is Hesperaloe Poisonous to Dogs?
While the Hesperaloe plant is drought resistant and low maintenance and also attracts hummingbirds, as well as deer with its beautiful flowers, the plant contains saponins, which are quite toxic to dogs. Ingesting the plant may cause your dog to vomit.
If you do have Hesperaloe plants in your garden and if your dog happens to eat a few leaves or some part of the plant and shows any clinical symptoms of poisoning that are associated with the plant, then it is a good idea to take your pet to the vet immediately and have him treated.