The Yucca plant is a widely popular evergreen, drought tolerant 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 how to take care of your Yucca plants as well as the names of our favorite yuccas.
How much sun do Yuccas need?
Tip #1 - Yuccas should receive full sun to part sun. Low light levels cause spindly growth and fewer flowers and nobody likes a skinny Yucca.
How often should I water my Yucca?Tip #2 - 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.
What type of soil is best?Tip #3 - If 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.
How to pruneTip #4 - 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 trimmed 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. The top portion can then be planted and will root from the stem and continue to grow. 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 at the base unless you intend to collect the seeds. When you prune a yucca, it goes without saying that you need to protect yourself, especially your eyes, from the leaves which are often sharp.
Where to plantTip #5 - 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.
How to propagateTip #6 - 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. Yucca propagation is quite easy and in no time, you can turn one yucca into a flock-o-yuccas.
Variegated Yucca or non-variegated?
Tip #7 - Here at Plant Delights Nursery, we have grown dozens of different Yucca species and cultivars over the years. Below are a few of our favorite variegated and non-variegated species.
Non-Variegated Yucca Plant Cultivars
Variegated Yucca Plant Cultivars
- Yucca flaccida 'Golden Sword'
- Yucca flaccida 'Color Guard'
- Yucca flaccida 'Wilder's Wonderful'
- Yucca filamentosa 'Variegata'
With these 7 simple tips you can create a desert oasis in your garden with Yucca plants. Once you've decided which Yucca to try, be sure to watch our video below to see how to remove dead leaves from your Yucca. Enjoy!
Yucca Plant Care - Remove Dead Yucca Leaves Fast
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
USDA Plants Database - Yucca aloifolia
Missouri Botanic Garden - Yucca filamentosa Color Guard
Away to Garden Blog - Yucca Color Guard
Missouri Botanic Garden - Yucca filamentosa
USDA Plants Database - Yucca filamentosa
Ohio State Univerity Plant Facts - Yucca filamentosa
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center - Yucca filamentosa