Nolina nelsonii or Nelson’s blue bear grass makes a remarkable specimen in the garden with round heads of 3′ long blue strappy foliage. It hails from the Tamaulipas region of Mexico where so many plants have proven to be great performers in the southeastern US. We grow this species in sunny mixed borders in ordinary garden soil as well as in the fast draining Xeric Garden. As a young plant, it resembles a narrow leafed yucca but as it develops a full head it stands out from the crowd. The leaves are flexible with small serrations along the edge. Over time Nelson’s blue bear grass will form a trunk and plants can grow to 12′ tall. It will occasionally send up a flower spike comprised of thousands of small creamy-yellow blossoms that float above the blue foliage. The rounded form combines well with flowering perennials and shrubs and should be fine once established in zone 7 gardens.
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