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FlowerKisser® Weeping Pink Texas Yucca (Hesperaloe)

FlowerKisser® Weeping Pink Hesperaloe: 2021 Plant Of The Year

By David Salman, High Country Gardens Founder

I’ve been around long enough in the nursery industry to have seen a handful of plants go from obscurity to tremendous popularity. And Hesperaloe, which is now extensively planted throughout the Intermountain and Southwestern US, is one of them. For many years, Texas Yucca (Hesperaloe) was considered to be a cold tender native succulent for planting in the mild-winter areas of Texas, California, and the Southwestern US, only suitable for USDA zones 8-10. However, about 20 years ago I thought, “Why not give Hesperaloe a try in my Santa Fe display garden?”

I’m an avid hummingbird gardener with a passion for planting to bring hummingbirds into my garden — and Hesperaloe is a hummingbird magnet with its profusion of nectar-rich tubular flowers. Much to my surprise, after a few years in my USDA zone 5b garden, the Hesperaloe were thriving, unbothered by our frigid high desert winters. Hesperaloe can take 2-4 seasons to establish before they bloom, but their beauty — and the hummingbird show that comes with them — is well worth the wait. Some of my good friends in the Denver area had similar ideas to test Hesperaloe and came to the same conclusions. From that point on, I’ve been a keen advocate of planting Hesperaloe and started to work on selecting improved cultivars to share with even more gardeners.

Plant Story

I discovered the original FlowerKisser® Weeping Pink plant right here in a Santa Fe landscape. Its bright pink flowers and gracefully weeping habit of the numerous flower spikes immediately caught my eye. Seed-grown Hesperaloe have become so widely planted around Santa Fe and nearby Albuquerque that I now have a vast number of plants to study to find natural variations. After observing the original plant for several years and seeing that it flowers non-stop, and is essentially sterile, meaning that it sets very few seed pods, I began to propagate it.

FlowerKisser® Weeping Pink ‘WWG07’ is my third Hesperaloe introduction. Plants in the FlowerKisser® series are particularly nectar-rich, selected to attract many pollinators, including honeybees, native bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Previously, I released two other ever-blooming cultivars through High Country Gardens: Hesperaloe parviflora ‘Coral Glow’ PP#29,626 and Hesperaloe parviflora ‘Straight Up Red,’ our 2017 Plant Of The Year. 

Planting Tips

In the garden, find a full sun spot with well-drained soil for planting. The leaves are flexible and non-spiny, which make it nice to plant along sidewalks and driveways, much like an ornamental grass. 

Companion Plants

I recommend combining Hesperaloe with other cold hardy evergreen succulents such as Agave (Century Plant), Dasylirion (Desert Spoon), and Nolina greenei (Beargrass); large growing Penstemon (Beardtongue); Perovskia (Russian Sage); and Ornamental Grasses including ‘Blonde Ambition’ Blue Grama Grass (Bouteloua), ‘Thin Man’ Indian Grass (Sorghastrum), and ‘Pink Flamingo’ Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia).

Fertilize liberally with Yum Yum Mix each fall to encourage the plants to bloom strongly every year.

The Legacy of David Salman | High Country Gardens founder David Salman was a pioneer of waterwise gardening, a passionate plant explorer, and a charismatic storyteller. His commitment to cultivating a palette of beautiful waterwise plants transformed gardening in the American West. 

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