Plant of the Month Beschorneria yuccoides

Botanical Name: Beschorneria yuccoides

Common Name: Mexican Lily

Plant Family: Asparagaceae

Height: 1-1.5m

Width: 1-2m

One of the more striking plants during this time of year would have to be Beschorneria yuccoides. Commonly known as the Mexican Lily and native to Eastern Mexico this architectural beauty produces a large arching flower stalk that can reach up to 2m in height through late spring to early summer.

Image taken by Outdoor Establishments Design Team - Surry Hills, Sydney

Image taken by Outdoor Establishments Design Team - Surry Hills, Sydney

The large flower stalk slowly unfurls from the centre of the plant to display a mass of yellow-green tubular flowers enclosed by showy red bracts that would not look out of place in a science fiction film.

However, this plant is more than mere set decoration. A clump-forming perennial succulent with a basal rosette of long grey-green, sword-shaped leaves it has proven itself a worthwhile addition to a variety of garden types.

Mediterranean and tropical gardens benefit from its grey-green foliage and soft leaf tips when compared to its relatives the Agave and Yucca, while water-wise gardens appreciate its drought tolerance and hardiness. It can be mass planted, as seen in Sydney’s Hyde Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens, or planted singularly to accentuate its strong architectural form.

Image taken by Outdoor Establishments Design Team - Surry Hills, Sydney

Image taken by Outdoor Establishments Design Team - Surry Hills, Sydney

The Mexican Lily prefers full sun, but here at Outdoor Establishments we have had just as much success in a part shade position. Provided it is planted in a well-drained fertile soil and given room to grow.

Snails and slugs can be an issue but can be overcome through removal of the old leaves as they brown off. Flower stalks should also be removed once the flowers are spent to encourage new growth. Don’t let that put you off though; this is a low maintenance plant and the expression ‘thrive on neglect’ has often been used when encountering this plant in forgotten backyards.

With its ability to withstand heat, drought, wind and frost this tough yet beautiful succulent is worth considering the next time you are looking for something a little different beyond the usual "Agave attenuata."

Tip: The Mexican Lily mixes wonderfully with plants of similar form but varying size including Gymea Lily, Bird’s Nest Fern, Adam’s Needle, New Zealand Rock Lily, Dianella and Phormiums.

Interested in horticulture? Or want to talk to our design team about getting the ball rolling on your new garden? Contact the office on 9966 8630 or email us design@outdoorestablishments.com.au - we would love to help!