Leaves Have Turned Purple on Hesperaloe - Knowledgebase Question

Grand Junction, CO
Question by audreymullis
April 24, 2002
I was given a red yucca plant from Monrovia last June...It flowered well for awhile and seemed to be fine for the remainder of the summer and fall. I planted it in a tub so that I could move it into the garage in the winter. Before I moved it into the garage, I cut the stalk off where it had bloomed. I watered it occasionally during the winter and it seemed to do allright. A couple of weeks ago, after we had had some really nice warm weather, I felt it was probably okay to move it back outside. Shortly thereafter, we had an unexpected freeze, with temperatures around 28 for several hours. I noticed afterwards that the leaves had turned purple. Does this mean it will not survive? Is there anything I can do? We have yucca growing wild all around here and I notice those leaves did not turn, so I am afraid that it was damaged by the weather. It may have been better off outside all winter.

Answer from NGA
April 24, 2002


The commonly called red yucca is actually not a yucca, but Hersperaloe parvifola, which is hardy in zones 6-11 (zone six is -10 to zero degrees). Many succulent-type plants will turn somewhat purple when exposed to cold temperatures. As long as the root system is still viable, the plant should be okay. However, extremes of temperature can be very stressful, especially if a plant doesn't have a chance to "harden off."In spring, slowly ?harden off? or acclimate your plant to moving back outdoors by putting it outside in a sheltered location for a couple hours at a time, gradually increasing the time period. In fall, do that in reverse, rather than abruptly moving from outside to inside, which will help lessen the shock. Be careful not to overwater in a container situation. These plants don't like wet roots. I hope this info helps!

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