The Yucca plant is a widely popular drought tolerant evergreen garden perennial. This US native plant has many species and varieties that grow well in our gardens (e.g., Yucca aloifolia, Yucca filamentosa, Yucca gloriosa). There are also plenty of awesome variegated forms to choose from. Here at Plant Delights Nursery we have been growing Yucca plants in our garden for over 25 years and we want to share the top tips for growing Yucca plants as well as the names of our favorite yuccas.
Tip #1 - How much Sun Should a Yucca Receive?
Yuccas should receive full sun to part sun. Low light levels cause spindly growth and fewer flowers. And nobody likes a skinny Yucca.
Tip #2 - How Much Water Should a Yucca Receive?
Yucca plants are quite drought tolerant due to their thick waxy leaves so they don't require much water after establishment. However, landscape specimens always look better with regular watering during the growing season (spring and summer)...about an inch per week is enough. Yuccas are very drought tolerant so if you forget to water them for a few weeks or a few years, they will survive just fine.
Tip #3 - In What Type of Soil Should You Plant a Yucca?
As long as it is well-draining, Yucca does not care what type of soil you plant it in. How great is that? Low pH or high pH... sand or clay...a yucca plant will be happy in just about anything.
Tip #4 - How to Prune a Yucca
Pruning a yucca plant is easy but uncomfortable. Old leaves on the bottom of yuccas naturally die and turn brown. Trunked yuccas like Yucca aloifolia will develop a 'skirt' of old leaves much like a palm tree does and they can be pruned away or left in place depending on your aesthetic...some people like their yuccas with a skirt and others prefer skirt-less yucca plants. If your Yucca aloifolia gets too tall for its spot in the garden, you can cut the trunk (in early spring prior to the growing season) to a better height and the yucca plant will resprout from the cut point. Both Yucca aloifolia and Yucca filamentosa can produce offsets that you may wish to prune away to keep them in-bounds. Yucca flower stalks turn ugly after flowering is over and they can be cut to the ground unless you intend to collect the seeds. When you prune a yucca, it goes without saying that you need to protect yourself from the leaves which are often sharp.
Tip #5 - What is the Best Location for a Yucca in Your Garden
Sharp-tipped leaves mean you should plant yucca plants away from sidewalks, paths, mailboxes and driveways. Individual Yucca plants can grow 3' wide and with offsets, a Yucca clump can be several times that so give your garden visitors plenty of space to walk around your Yucca.
Tip #6 - How to Propagate Yucca
You can propagate Yucca via division, root cuttings, stem cuttings and seeds. Stems and offsets can be cut, the bottom few inches stripped of leaves and the cuttings planted and treated gently until they root. You can collect yucca seeds, and plant them out but be patient as the seeds are slow to sprout. You can also use a shovel to dig up a section of rhizome, cut it into 3 inch sections and plant them. You should see growth from rhizome cuttings in about a month. It is quite easy to turn one yucca into a flock-o-yuccas.
Tip #7 - Our favorite Yucca Plants
Here at Plant Delights Nursery we have grown dozens of different Yucca species and cultivars over the years. Species that we really like are Yucca filamentosa, Yucca aloifolia, and Yucca gloriosa. There are several variegated cultivars that we especially like including, Golden Sword Yucca and Yucca Color Guard. Both Golden Sword and Color Guard Yucca may be sold as Yucca filamentosa or Yucca flaccida as those pesky plant taxonomists have got us growers all mixed up.
With these 7 simple tips you can create a desert oasis in your garden with Yucca plants. Enjoy!
Ohio State University Pocket Gardener - Yucca filamentosa
Royal Horticultural Society - Yucca Golden Sword
Floridata - Yucca aloifolia
Plants for a Future - Yucca aloifolia
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center - Yucca aloifolia
University of Florida Extension - Yucca aloifolia 1
University of Florida Extension - Yucca aloifolia 2
USDA Plants Database - Yucca aloifolia
Missouri Botanic Garden - Yucca filamentosa Color Guard
Fine Gardening - Yucca Color Guard
Away to Garden Blog - Yucca Color Guard
Missouri Botanic Garden - Yucca filamentosa
USDA Plants Database - Yucca filamentosa
USDA Plant Guide - Yucca filamentosa
Ohio State Univerity Plant Facts - Yucca filamentosa
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center - Yucca filamentosa
Gardening Know How - Caring for Yuccas
Gardening Know How - Pruning a Yucca
Gardeners HQ - Growing a Yucca
Succulent Plants Page - Yucca
WikiHow - How to grow a Yucca