December 17, 2018 | Panayoti Kelaidis, Senior Curator & Director of Outreach

Everyone knows how valuable conifers and broadleaf evergreens are for winter color. However the year-round drama and beauty of succulent monocots, especially Agave, Yucca, Hesperaloe and Nolina, reveal their stellar status in the winter while they are admired for their flowers in the summer.

The pictures in the gallery below were all taken last week. Although still technically "autumn," we've had several snows and temps down to the lower teens, fairly consistently. These plants, in any case, will hold up all winter!

When Mountain States Nursery sent a semi load of Yucca faxoniana, Y. thompsoniana and Y. rostrata to the Gardens in the late 1990s I had a conniption. Surely these would be the most expensive annuals ever? But they and Dan Johnson, the Gardens associate director of horticulture and curator of native plant collections, knew better. These and the masses further out around the entrance to our Boettcher Memorial Center were once labeled Yuccarama on the Gardens map (a jocular nickname we used at first that is now replaced by Crossroads Garden).

Yucca rupicola is one of my favorites – army green. It never ceases to amaze me how hardy plants are from the Edwards Plateau of Texas.

Easily 40 years old, our clump of Yucca harrimaniae came from a collected specimen from southwestern Wyoming, a gift from Budd Myers. It's turning into a miniature tree.

We even grow Yucca glauca that's found in vacant lots around town. We planted them in Sacred Earth, our ethnobotanical native garden.

There is no reason why you can't fill your garden with these treasures. You can stock up on many varieties of agave, yucca and cacti at the Spring Plant Sale on May 10 and 11, 2019 (free admission to the sale and the Gardens), or at the Colorado Cactus and Succulent Society’s annual sale we host at the Gardens on July 6 and 7, 2019 (included with admission to the Gardens).

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