Native to Mexico, these striking plants combine handsome, lance-shaped dark green leaves with showy, tubular summer flowers. They are related to yuccas and agaves, but they have spineless leaves and need a bit more water and shade than their cousins. They prefer fertile, well-drained soil, though they will tolerate short periods of drought. Excellent as specimen plants, in lightly shaded borders, or in containers.
B. 'Ding Dong.' Zones LS, CS, TS; USDA 8-11. This excellent hybrid between B. septentrionalis and B. yuccoides dekosteriana forms a rosette 34 ft. tall and 23 ft. wide; leaves are rough-textured. At maturity, a bright red, 7-ft.-tall flower stalk is topped by bell-shaped red-and-green blossoms.
B. septentrionalis. Zones MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 7-11. To 3 ft. tall and wide. Lush, pendulous green leaves to about 2 ft. long; fuchsia red flowers atop a glossy red spike. Needs light shade in the Coastal and Tropical South. Tolerates considerable moisture if soil is well drained.
B. yuccoides. Zones CS, TS; USDA 9-11. The most widely available species. Clump slowly grows 34 ft. tall and wide; narrow gray-green leaves can reach 2 ft. long and wide. Flowers in early summer, when a thick, branching, coral-pink, 3- to 7-ft. stalk is hung with pendulous yellowish green blooms with red bracts. Thrives in well-drained garden soil or large container; suffers in cold, wet earth. B. y. dekosteriana (Zones LS, CS, TS; USDA 8-11) grows 4 ft. tall and wide, with waxy blue-green leaves and a tall red flower stalk bearing green-and-red blossoms.