Planting And Growing A Yucca Planting And Growing A Yucca

You can grow a yucca plant (yucca filamentosa or yucca glauca) across North America, from zones 3 through 9. Because they grow very slowly, buy a yucca that is about 2/3 as big as you want it to grow. Follow these suggestions to grow beautiful yuccas with abundant blooms.

Step 1: Find a Suitable Location Outdoors

The needle palm yucca (yucca filamentosa) can tolerate partial shade, but needs full sun for at least 2 hours a day. The soapweed yucca (yucca glauca), needs 6 to 10 hours of direct sunlight per day in the summer growing season. Choose the spot for your yucca that will meet its light needs. Well drained soil with sand, gravel or pebbles mixed in is best for all yuccas.

Step 2: Plant the Yucca

Use a heavy clay or ceramic garden pot to plant the yucca, as most of their growth is at the top of the plant. They will tip over a lightweight wooden or plastic container. Choose a wide container, at least 36 inches in diameter, so the leaf growth can spread out. Move yucca indoors when frost becomes imminent.

Step 3: Care of the Yucca

Water the yucca plant no more than every 2 weeks through the spring, summer and fall. Let the potting soil dry out almost completely between waterings. Your yucca will need fertilizer once a year to enhance flower growth. Leave your yucca outdoors until the nighttime temperatures approach 32 degrees F. (0 degrees C.). It needs exposure to cold to trigger dormancy before its next bloom period. Once it's been in the planter for 3 years, gently transplant it to a larger container to maintain its growth.

Step 4: Blossoming

Yucca blossoms come out at different times according to the species. Needle palm yucca blooms in the early to late spring. Soapweed yucca blooms in midsummer to early September.

Other Yucca Varieties

If you live in growing zones 8 to 10, try the dagger plant yucca (yucca aloifolia) with its tall central shaft of white fragrant blossoms that draw birds and butterflies. It can grow to between 10 and 15 feet tall. Also suited for warmer climes is the spineless yucca (yucca recurvifolia), with its arching leaves. It grows up to 6 feet in height with white flowers from spring through summer. Both of these prefer full sunlight for several hours a day. In cooler zones, you can grow these two yuccas indoors all year round. 

Yucca pallida, or pale yucca, is another outdoor type that thrives in Zones 8 to 10.  Choose pale yucca for a xeriscape garden if you live in the southwest or in Texas. Beaked yucca (yucca rostrata) also grows well in the southwest, with a single main stem, and spreading fan-shaped foliage of narrow leaves. It has fruit with small sharp beaks, hence the name. A perennial, it grows only from seeds.

Yucca plants are succulents which retain water in their leaves, so avoid overwatering. Allow the soil to become dry and cracked on top between waterings.

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