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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Yucca Bright Star: New from Notcutts

Posted by Graham Rice on 02 Jan 2011 at 06:21 PM

Yucca,Bright Star,Walbristar. Image ©David HideThis is one of the most dramatic plants you could ever grow. A form of Yucca gloriosa, which grows wild in the south eastern USA, Bright Star (‘Walbristar’) (left, click to enlarge) features dramatic rosettes of sharp-pointed, narrow, blue grey leaves with a bold and bright variegation.

The leaf edging is broad and bright yellow, altogether more dramatic than the existing variegated form. The early leaves are short and held vertically, then as they lengthen they are pushed outwards as new leaves emerge in the centre. Eventually they become horizontal, and the result is a full rosette of dazzling foliage.

Mature plants then send up a branched flower spike, with pink buds opening to a mass of white flowers.

This new variegated yucca arose like this. Every year, nurseryman Tim Crowther propagates the widely grown, much paler variegated form of Yucca gloriosa by removing the side shoots, commonly known as “pups”, from the base of the stems of the parent plants.

In 2000 he noticed one side shoot with more variegation. He rooted it, then removed the tip to encourage branching and finally selected the new side shoot with the broadest variegation in the richest colour. That plant became Bright Star - and he’s justifiably proud of his find.

Yucca Bright Star is the supernova of yuccas for visual impact,” he told me. “Dramatic evergreen blue grey leaves with broad creamy gold margins have a huge impact summer and winter in both tubs or border. In July, the flower spikes are 1 to 2 metres tall, flushed pink in bud and opening as large waxy ivory flowers. What’s more, under the stress of drought or high temperatures, the rosette centre and leaf tips can turn a rich flamingo pink.”

This is a fine plant for a sunny site, and will not object to dryish well-drained soil. It can also be grown as a specimen in a container, especially as it will take a few years to reach flowering size. Be sure to stand the container on pot feet to avoid waterlogging.

Yucca gloriosa Bright Star (‘Walbristar’) has been available from the RHS Plant Centre at Wisley, but is now available by mail order from Nottcuts.

Image © David Hide. Thank you.


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