Plants

Guide to Yucca Plants: How to Grow & Care for This House Plant

Read our complete guide to Yucca Plants for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for Yucca house plants.
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Yucca plants are perennial shrubs or trees belonging to the Asparagaceae family. It is a popular indoor plant that adds a touch of green to every space. The leaves are long and pointy, sometimes even razor-sharp. They grow in rosettes and produce a flower, usually once a year.

These trees are native to the Caribbean and warmer parts of the Americas. When kept indoors, yucca plants are slow growers and rarely take up too much space. However, plants that are grown outside and in hot and dry climates can be very tall.

There are around 40 species in the Asparagaceae family, and some of them, like yucca elata, contain saponins. These compounds are mildly toxic to cats and dogs. But they can be deadly when eaten in a large amount.

About Yucca Plants

  • Yucca plants are easy to grow and will not require a lot of your attention. These perennials are drought resistant, and there is no need to water them all the time. Location is the key if you want a healthy yucca plant. Provide plenty of sunlight to this tree, and it should thrive on its own.
  • The soil shouldn’t be moist all the time. This plant will die if you water it all the time. So it is the perfect choice for those of you who sometimes forget to take care of your houseplants. Young yucca plants will benefit from liquid fertilizer, but once your tree is established, you can let it grow on its own.
  • While you can keep your yucca plant indoors all the time, consider moving it outside in summer. This tree loves sun, but place it in a slight shade. Of course, carry the container back inside once the weather turns cold.
  • You can grow yucca plants from seed, offsets, or cuttings. If your plan includes keeping this plant indoors and in a container, you can plant the seeds at any time of the year. Outdoors yucca plants should be planted in spring.
  • Yucca plants are generally very healthy and rarely attract pests. Of course, exceptions happen occasionally. Always water your yucca plants at the base and avoid getting the leaves wet. This common mistake could make the foliage turn brown. Additionally, root rot could appear if you don’t provide the plant with well-drained soil.
Yuccas make great indoor plants
Yuccas make great indoor plants

Yucca Plants Features: An Overview

  • The height and spread of yucca plants depend on the specie. If you go for a smaller tree, it will be somewhere between 2 to 4 feet tall. On the other hand, some species that are grown outside may be up to 30 feet in height.
  • The blooming time is unpredictable. Some yucca plants will develop a flower in spring, while others could bloom in late summer or early fall. The flowers will emerge from the center of the plant and could be quite tall.
  • Yucca plant flowers are usually white or cream. However, some species have blossoms that are purple, green, or even pink.
  • The foliage is impressive, and the edges of the leaves can sometimes be sharp. Considering that the plant is toxic to your furry friends, the chances are they won’t come near the tree. The leaves are generally long, with pointy ends.
  • The flower petals from a yucca plant are a delicacy in Central America. In Mexico, they are often prepared with tomato, onions, and chili. Other recipes include boiling the petals and sprinkling them with lemon juice.
  • The previously mentioned yucca elata is used for some Native American rituals. Saponins are extracted from the plant and turned into shampoo for these occasions.
  • Yucca plants are sometimes mistaken for yuca, also known as cassava. These are two entirely different species.
Growing Yucca Plants
Growing Yucca Plants

Growing Yucca Plants

Creating the best environment for your yucca plant is the first step you need to do to make this plant thrive indoors. The ideal place for a yucca plant is right beside a west-facing window. Don’t worry if you can’t provide hours of direct sunlight to this plant because it will do just fine in partial shade.

Even though yucca plants do not grow extremely fast, repotting will be necessary every two years. Remove the plant from an old container and place it in a bigger one. Don’t forget to use new potting soil for this.

The quality of soil is not super important to yucca plants. It needs to hold the plant upright, and that is about it. Established yucca plants can grow to be heavy and topple over the containers. So you can add a bit of sand to the potting soil to make it heavier.

When grown indoors, yucca plants will need fertilizer once a month, especially in spring and summer. Outdoor yucca plants do produce flowers every year, but this could be a bit tricky for indoor plants. However, it is not impossible with proper care.

Re-potting a Yucca plant
Re-potting a Yucca plant

As you might have guessed, pruning will be necessary if your yucca plant grows too tall. You can cut through the tree trunk with really sturdy scissors or use a saw. Then return the lower part of the plant into the pot. This process could be stressful for the plant, so water it well after pruning.

Overall, yucca plants are healthy and rarely develop a disease. Leaves that are changing colors could indicate that your plant has a fungus or that you have been watering it a bit too much. When it comes to insects, scale and cane borers might be an issue. Luckily, dealing with these pests is easy.

There are around 40 different yucca plants, but if you want to have one indoors, you should choose either yucca guatamalensis or yucca aloifolia. Both are slow growers, so there is no need for repotting them frequently. The foliage is magnificent, and these plants will look equally gorgeous in small and large spaces.

While yucca plants are native to warm parts of the Americas, they can adapt to almost any climate. For instance, yucca filamentosa and yucca gloriosa don’t mind colder weather and you can even plant them outside in your garden.

Are you planning to add a couple of yucca plants to your yard? They can look impressive in the garden! Don’t plant them near flowers that need regular watering. Additionally, think about the size of the tree. It will need space to grow, so it is best to keep them away from pathways. After all, sharp leaves could be very inconvenient to anyone using the path.

Watering Yucca Plants

Yucca plants like neglect and doesn’t need frequent watering. After all, the plant is drought resistant, and the only way you could damage it is by letting it grow in a moist container. Therefore, well-drained soil is a must for this plant.

Considering that spring and summer are the growing seasons for yucca plants, you can water them often during this period. But always check the soil and don’t water the plant unless it feels dry. Then relax your watering schedule during winter and colder weather.

Yuccas
Yuccas

Propagating Yucca Plants

There are several methods you can use to propagate yucca plants. The easiest one is from offsets. Cut an offset from the plant, remove any foliage, and put it in the ground. Then water the new plant well. Make sure you do this in spring,

Root cuttings might be a bit more complicated since you have to get your hands dirty, but it is a fast method of propagation. You can do it in either winter or spring. Dig around the root and cut a smaller section off. Don’t plant it right away but place the cutting in a dry place for about two days. Then put it in a container. Water the cutting well and keep it away from direct sunlight.

Of course, you could use yucca plant seeds, but this process could be a bit lengthy. If you have a yucca plant that produces flowers, you will discover that the pods are filled with seeds. Collect these carefully and store them for a couple of months, preferably during winter.

If you start the seeds in early spring, you will have a small yucca plant when the summer rolls in. Use well-draining soil and keep it slightly moist. Once the sprouts emerge, move the pot near a window that gets enough sunlight.

Final Thoughts

Yucca plant is an ideal houseplant because it is easy to grow and doesn’t need extra attention. They are well-liked decorative plants with long pointy leaves and a small tree trunk that forms when the lower leaves fall off.

This plant will be healthy as long as you keep it near a sunny window and don’t water excessively. You can even use fertilizer to give your yucca plant a boost. Even though they are native to warm and dry climates, yucca plants are highly adaptable and can thrive in almost every environment.

While outdoor yucca plants produce flowers once a year, your indoor plant could bloom in spring or summer. The flowers are gorgeous, usually white or cream. And you can collect seeds from the pods to grow even more yucca plants!

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Hollie Carter

Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at hollie@gardenbeast.com or follow on twitter https://twitter.com/greenholliec

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