Beautiful Stranger – Beschorneria yuccoides

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This weird and wonderful creature is Beschorneria yuccoides, a rare but hardy yucca-like plant, flowering in our seaside garden last year. Its bluish-green leaves and 8ft long flower stalk, covered in bright green and red flowers, made it quite a talking point – even if it did take up half the garden for half the year. As it unfurled, it looked rather like it might reach out and grab you at any moment. The flowers dripped a sticky nectar on the ground, which is probably the food for some interesting bird or insect in its native Mexico. It didn’t seem to do much for our wood pigeons!

After flowering the main rosette of leaves died along with the flower stalk. Then, after a few tense months, several offshoots appeared and started to form a new clump of delicately silvered leaves. Unfortunately, snails seem to find the surface of these utterly delicious and leave unsightly scars and holes if not kept under control.

Otherwise this a fantastically trouble free exotic for us. It has endured two winters of snow and ice without so much as a blemish. This is helped by being planted in a south facing raised bed, with super-sharp drainage. The grey slate of the terrace warms up nicely in the sunshine, protecting the roots from the worst of the cold. Hopefully it won’t be many seasons before it flowers again and this time we should get more than one flower spike. Some things are worth the wait.