Re: has anyone north of VA Beach succeeded with Nolina?
I grew a N. lindheimeriana from seed to bloom but it did die the following winter. I've also grown N. parviflora. Both are cold Hardy but don't enjoy our moist climates. These are hardier than N. nelsonii which could not take our winter even when protected against moisture. Perhaps your just too moist?
If you want to mess with Nolina, try eco types from the eastern most ranges.