Do you have a hot and dry yard? Have problems with growing plants? Then I have a solution for you, the Three Amigos. Wherever there is garden injustice, you'll find them. Wherever there is suffering, they'll be there. Wherever liberty is threatened, you will find..... well not quite! If summer is your 'El Guapo', then these "three amigos" are here to help.
Yucca's are an extremely versatile plant that many only think of seeing in the dry lands of the southwest and into Mexico. Surprisingly, they grow well for us in Northern Virginia, and really begin to shine when the temperature goes up. However, one word of warning, many types have a sharp spine on the tip of the leaf that will stick you like a bayonet. Be able to look past this and you'll have a plant with a touch of the exotic with the ruggedness of the wild west for the garden. Here's my top picks for, of course, the lesser known cultivars that you might want to try out:
2. Yucca rostrata 'Sapphire Skies' - Beaked Yucca. Collected from northern Mexico by Sean Hogan, founder of Cistus Gardens in Oregon, is named in honor of its powder blue foliage. It's very different from the standard Y.filimotosa types mentioned above by having thin, flexible leaves to give a fine texture. Over time it will grow to 4ft, producing an un-branched trunk, making a strong focal point in any garden. Plant it in a hot, sun baked site with exceptional drainage, and keep it sheltered from cold winter winds. It is a bit more particular in its conditions to ensure overwintering success, but I think you'd agree it's worth the investment to improve conditions to grow one of these specimens. Zone 6 - 10
3. Yucca aloifolia 'Purpurea' - Purple Aloe Yucca. A uniquely different yucca coming out of the desserts of the southwest. This one is new to me and is already on my wish list for trial. Rigid icy gray leaves are flushed with purple that only intensify as the temperature heats up. Drought, moisture and humidity tolerant makes this a viable player in many gardens. Zone 6
Yuccas make excellent container plants or planted as to create a strong architectural focal points in the garden. Successful once established, in the harshest parts of the garden, from droughts to prolonged sun exposure, and fully deer resistant. In the wise words of Steve Martin character, 'Lucky Day', "In a way, all of us have an El Guapo to face. For some, shyness might be their El Guapo. For Others, a lack of eduction might be their El Guapo. For us, El Guapo is a big, dangerous man who wants to kill us." We gardeners can conquer our El Guapo and produce a beautiful garden in summer by planting wisely and selecting any one of these "three amigos"!