Yucca Plants

Yucca desmettiana

Popular both as indoor and outdoor plants, Yucca varieties provide species varying form large to small. Loved by landscapers for the easy care nature outdoors, the foliage givesa strong archetectural look. Indoors in containers they look great as well.

They come in a huge variety, many common names and many different sizes.

Commonly called Soapweed, Spanish Dagger, Spanish Bayonet and Adam's needle amongst other names. The lower growing species include Yucca pallida the pale leaf yucca which reaches only 1 - 2 ft tall although the flower spike is taller.

Yucca desmettiana (pictured right) is one of the soft leafed yuccas, green and burgundy foliage and one of the best landscaping varieties.

The tallest yucca of all is Yucca brevifolia, The Joshua Tree, and these can reach 40 -50 ft.

The foliage and the flowers also differ greatly, so the choice of Yuccas to grow in the garden will depend on what you are after.

Yucca plants are originally from the drier areas of Central and North America. They thrive in full sun and well drained soils. The common name 'soapweed' comes from the saponins contained in the roots of the plants, while the 'Spanish Dagger' comes from the sharp sword like foliage.

Yucca Varieties

Other Akebia species include :
  • Yucca aff harrimaniae
  • Yucca brevifolia - More cold tolerant than most.
  • Yucca baccata - Smaller growing than many.
  • Yucca desmettiana - A soft leafed variety.
  • Yucca elephantipes - Eventually reaches 20 ft plus unless pruned.
  • Yucca filamentosa - A stemless variety with tall flower spikes to 15 ft
  • Yucca flaccida - A smaller growing stemless species
  • Yucca whipplei -
yucca whipplei

Yucca Plants in the garden

The beauty of Yucca plants lies in the attractive flowers and the foliage, as well as the low maintenance nature of the plants.

Pictured right is Yucca whipplei (syn Hesperoyucca whipplei) forms a dense rosette of foliage, the flower spike can easily reach 15ft in height.

When planting, you do need to select a position that is very well drained. One of the main problems with growing Yuccas is poor drainage.

Many gardeners will raise the garden bed to improve drainage,or add extra material to amend the soil.

It is also a good idea to keep them away from traffic areas, the folaige is fairly sharp.


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Pruning Yuccas to Size

Yucca elephantipes is a classic example of where Yuccas need some care after a few years.

Like many Yucca species it is fast growing and can develop a trunk that is to tall in 4 - 5 years. You can rejuvenate the plant by pruning.

  • Look for a mature part of the stem,the bark will be dark colored.
  • Cut the stem at the desired height, leaving the foliage on the top
  • Set this cutting aside to allow the cut to callous over, 3 days in a shady dry position should do it.
  • You are now ready to repot using the same soil mix you would for a mature plant.
  • Water well and place the newly potted plant in a shaded position with good filtered light, not direct sun.
  • Keep moist but not wet.
  • You will see root formation in 4 - 6 weeks.
  • Slowly harden the plant by increasing the amount of sunlight.