Types of yucca plants

Yucca Plant Varieties: Common Types Of Yucca Plants

Large, spiky leaves and large clusters of white flowers make yucca plants ideal for many landscape settings. The twenty or so yucca plant varieties that are native to the United States. feature bold architectural shapes, adding contrast to many other garden plants.

Common Varieties of Yucca

Southwestern types prefer dry, sandy soil and lots of sun. Southeastern yuccas tolerate moist soil as long as it drains well. Here are some common yucca varieties you might want to consider for your garden:

  • Banana yucca (Yucca baccata) – Banana yucca is a Southwestern native plant that needs very little water and no maintenance. The spiky leaves can reach heights of 2 to 3 feet (.6-1 m.). It can take several years for a banana yucca to bloom, and it often dies soon after the flowers fade.
  • Soapweed yucca (Y. glauca) – This is another Southwestern type. Soapweed yucca produces 3- to 4-foot (1-1.3 m.) flower spikes, loaded with large white flowers. It thrives when left to its own devices in a sunny location.
  • Beargrass yucca (Y. smalliana) – The leaves of this Southeastern native are softer than those of most yuccas, so they are safe to plant around people. Beargrass yucca is spectacular when in bloom, and flowers produce a strong fragrance in the evening.
  • Spanish Bayonet (Y. aloifolia) – Keep this Southeastern yucca away from walkways and places where children play. Spanish bayonet yucca produces three stems of varying heights, each filled with densely packed, rigid, sharply pointed spikes. It’s easy to see where this plant got its name. Expect dense flower clusters up to 2 feet (.6 m.) long in summer. The Spanish dagger (Y. gloriosa) is a closely related and equally dangerous plant.
  • Adam’s Needle (Y. filamentosa) – The 2 1/2-foot (.75 m.) long pointed leaves of this Southeastern native arise directly from the ground. The drama begins when the plant sends up a 6-foot (2 m.) flower stalk that holds an abundance of pleasantly fragrant, bell-shaped flowers. Like the Spanish bayonet, it shouldn’t be planted in areas where it may come in contact with people.

What are Different Yucca Plants Used For?

So exactly what are different yucca plants used for? They actually have a number of uses depending on the types you have.

  • Yucca plants are not only grown outdoors in the landscape but they make lovely additions in the home when grown as houseplants.
  • Several types of yucca plants have edible flowers and fruit, including the banana yucca and soapweed yucca.
  • Yucca roots and leaves contain steroidal saponins, an anti-inflammatory agent used to relieve arthritis symptoms. It is also thought to purify and cleanse the blood, kidneys and heart. Always consult a healthcare practitioner before preparing your own herbal remedies.
  • Soapweed yucca is used to make shampoo and soap, and the leaves are woven into baskets. Historically, yucca was used primarily for its fiber, which was woven into fabric and twisted into rope.

Making your own yucca shampoo is easy. It takes one medium-sized plant to make enough for 12 shampoos.

  1. Dig up the plant, rinse off the roots and cut off the top.
  2. Peel the roots and cut them into pieces about the size of ice cubes.
  3. Beat the pieces with a hammer or process them with a blender. When it turns from white to amber, the shampoo is ready to use.

Yucca of West and Southwest USA

Plants > Agave and Yucca > Yucca Yucca are characterized by dense rosettes of narrow, thin, closely-spaced leaves, often edged by short, white, curling hairs. The leaf tip may have a spine but this is less sharp than on agave plants. There are 27 US species, much more widely distributed than agave, ranging across the Midwest, Great Plains and all the eastern states in addition to the south, in mixed environments including deserts, grassland, mountains and coastal scrub. They also extend through Mexico towards Central America. All species have the capability to grow tall and branch, though in some arid locations this does not happen, and the plants remain compact and single. Flowers are white and bell-shaped, growing in a great mass on a shortish stalk; they are usually produced once a year though may not appear if weather conditions are unfavorable.
Hesperoyucca is a very similar genus, differentiated by characteristics of the inflorescence and the fruits; there are only two species, in non-overlapping regions (hesperoyucca newberryi of northwest Arizona and hesperoyucca whipplei of south California).
Other US yucca species, mostly found in Texas and states further east:
Yucca aloifolia, dagger plant, southeast US coastal states from Texas to North Carolina
Yucca arkansana, Arkansas yucca, east Texas, east Oklahoma and west Arkansas
Yucca baileyi, Navajo yucca, Four Corners area (AZ, CO, NM, UT) extending east across parts of the Colorado Rockies
Yucca campestris, plains yucca, west Texas (southern Panhandle)
Yucca filamentosa, Adam’s needles, east USA (Texas to Virginia)
Yucca flaccida, beargrass, southeast USA
Yucca glauca, soapweed yucca, Texas and New Mexico north to Montana and North Dakota
Yucca gloriosa, moundlily yucca, southeast USA
Yucca louisianensis, Gulf Coast yucca, east Texas, south Arkansas and west Louisiana
Yucca necopina, Brazos River yucca, east Texas (rare)
Yucca reverchonii, San Angelo yucca, south central Texas
Yucca rupicola, Texas yucca, east central Texas
Yucca tenuistyla, white rim yucca, east Texas

Yucca Plant: Care and Maintenance (Indoor and Outdoor)

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Yucca is a genus of highly drought-tolerant evergreen perennials that grow either as shrubs or small trees, requiring minimum care. Suitable for growing in hot, dry, and coastal regions, it can survive through snowy winters as well. The plant blooms once every year from July to August, depending on the variety grown, making an attractive houseplant.

Yucca Plant

Types of Yucca Plants

The genus includes 40-50 perennial trees and shrubs, with the most popular varieties mentioned below:

1. Texas Red Yucca

Red leathery leaves with tubular flowers and pink stalks

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-10

Texas Red Yucca

2. Yucca Schidigera

Tree-like structure with bayonet-shaped leaves and gray-brown trunk

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-10

Yucca Schidigera

3. Yucca Flaccida Golden Sword

Spiky leaves with white flowers

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9

Yucca Flaccida Golden Sword

4. Yucca Pendula/Soft Leaf

Multi-branched with bluish green leaves and white cluster flowers

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-9

Yucca Pendula

5. Century Yucca

Stiff and leathery green leaves with bell-shaped white flowers

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Century Yucca

6. Yucca Elephantipes/Spineless Jewel/Cane Yucca/Soft-tip Yucca

Small tree with multiple trunks, sword-shaped blue-green leaves, and white flowers

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-11

Yucca Elephantipes

7. Spanish Bayonet Yucca

Sparsely branched with sharp-pointed leaves and bell-shaped white/purple-tinged flowers

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8-12

Spanish Bayonet Yucca

8. Yucca Spanish Dagger

Tree-like or shrub-like with yellow-green or blue-green leaves and pale yellow-green flowers

USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-11

Yucca Spanish Dagger

9. Yucca Rigida/Blue Yucca

Powdery blue leaves with a white cluster of bell-shaped flowers

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-10

Yucca Rigida

10. Yucca Silver Star

Multi-trunked with bell-shaped ivory flowers

USDA Hardiness Zone: 11-12

Yucca Silver Star

11. Yucca Gloriosa Variegata

Single-stemmed with creamy-yellow leaves and flowers

USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-11

Yucca Gloriosa Variegata

12. Yucca Baccata/Banana Yucca

Spiky leaves with white flowers

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-11

Yucca Baccata

13. Yucca Glauca Soapweed

Long flower spikes with large white flowers

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-10

Yucca Glauca Soapweed

14. Yucca Rupicola

Twisted grayish leaves with pendant-like white or greenish flowers

USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-8

Yucca Rupicola

The care and maintenance of the different varieties of yucca plant may vary slightly based on what region they are growing in.

Yucca Tree Plant Indoor

Basic Requirements for Planting Yucca

Potting Mix with Good Draining

Since the plant is top heavy with low watering needs, it requires a well-drained soil that should be heavy enough to keep it in an upright position. Ideally, a mixture of equal parts of coarse sand, potting soil, and perlite, or a three to one mixture of sand and peat can be used when grown in a pot whether indoor or outdoor.

If you want to grow the plant in your garden or lawn without containers, make sure it is planted in sandy, dry, and gritty soil instead of some rich and highly fertile soil.

A Heavy Container

A heavy 10-17 inches large metal pot, preferably made of copper or brass, with good drainage will not only prevent your plant from falling over but also reduce water stagnation on your floors and furniture. Adding a 2 to 3 inch layer of rocks at the bottom of the container prevents water from getting stagnated and facilitates better drainage. If you are using a tray underneath the container, empty it from time to time to avoid excessive accumulation of standing water.

How to Care for Your Yucca Plant

Maintaining Balance between Sunlight and Shade

It grows best in bright indirect sunlight but can survive in full-shade/lower light conditions as well. When grown indoors, it is better to place it near east, west, or south-facing window if possible, as it allows maximum sun exposure.

Watering: How Often Should You Water a Yucca Plant

A native of arid regions, yucca has minimum water requirements. During the growing season (spring and summer), adding about an inch of water every week would be enough. Once established, water once every 7 to 10 days during the hot, dry spells in summer. In winter, water well when the topsoil layer appears dry. It rarely needs any watering in the rainy seasons.


Feed your plant with a low-nitrogen balanced fertilizer at 1/2 strength, containing all the essential nutrients like calcium, magnesium, sulfur, zinc, iron, and manganese, once every month during spring and summer. Both granular and water-soluble fertilizers can be used. The former slowly dissolves in the soil and release the nutrients to the plant’s roots, while the latter readily supply the nutrients to the plant, promoting faster growth.

Pruning: How to trim it

You can do the trimming once your plant blooms unless you want to collect the seeds for a new plant. Take a pair of sharp garden scissors and chop the flower stalk off as low as you can. There should be no stub sticking above the leaves.

The specific leaf-clump that grows the bloom stalk gradually dies, making way for new growth. So, if you can wait till the clump is dry enough, you can just pull the whole rosette off without disturbing the rest of the plant or any new growths.

If the top of a yucca tree becomes too heavy with clusters of leaves that make it bend down, you can just cut the trunk halfway down. This will lead to new, bushier leaf-growth that will allow the tree to have better balance.

Repotting an Overgrown Plant

There is usually no hurry in repotting the plant as it remains fine even when the roots are a bit crowded. Though you may have to repot once the roots begin to come out of the drainage holes or form a thick layer on the topsoil of your container.

How to Repot

  • Water the plant thoroughly the day before transferring the plant.
  • Choose a new container that’s a bit larger than the older one and fill about 1/3rd or ½ with the same potting mix.
  • Remove the plant slowly from the old pot and detangle the roots carefully with your fingers.
  • Place it into the new pot at the same soil depth as before and add the remaining potting mix around the roots. Water the plant uniformly and allow it to drain.
  • Keep the plant in a shaded area for about two weeks to allow it to adjust to the new container before placing in sunlight.

Yucca Plant Diseases and Other Growth-Related Problems

Though yucca is a hardy plant, lack of appropriate care can make it susceptible to a host of pest attacks and growth issues.

Problems associated with Inadequate Care

Excess watering can lead to yellow leaves with brown tips, dead leaves, and root rot. Follow the right watering schedule to prevent it from occurring.

Exposing the plant to hot and bright sunlight suddenly from a shaded environment can lead to the formation of yellow and white blotches on the leaves (sunburn) as a result of a lack of acclimatization. So, when replacing an indoor yucca plant to an outdoor location, do it gradually over the course of a week so the plant gets a little time to adjust.

Excessive application of high nitrogen-containing fertilizers can result in browning and burning of leaves. Follow the appropriate fertilizing schedule to prevent it.

Fungal and Bacterial Issues

Fungi like Cercospora, Coniothyrium, and Cylindrosporium often affect the plant due to overwatering, causing fading of the leaves. Application of copper fungicide or neem oil may help in removing the spores from the leaves.

Leaf or blight spot is another common bacterial disease characterized by dark lesions on the leaves. Water the plant properly at the base and allow it to dry between watering sessions. Also, apply a good sterilized soil free of disease-causing bacteria and spores.

Leggy Leaves

Lack of sunlight can cause the leaves to become outstretched and leggy, especially when the plant is grown indoors. Exposing all the sides of the plant to the required amount of light will reverse the problem and ensure a uniform and healthy growth.

Yucca Plant Leaves Turning Yellow


Scale insects are relatively common, feeding on the sap, leaving behind deposits in the form of yellowish-white or black spots. Spraying light alcohol solution or insecticide over the affected areas could be useful. Agrave plant bugs attack in a similar manner, sucking out the juices from the plant, causing browning of leaves. Application of insecticidal solution directly over the leaves may help in controlling the problem.

Black Spots on Yucca Plant Leaves

It is also often infested by other insects such as mealy bugs, aphids, and weevils that could be eliminated by water sprays and insecticidal soap solutions.

Can Yucca be Harmful to Pets

Though yucca can be grown as a normal houseplant, the steroidal saponins present in the leaves are considered toxic to animals, causing vomiting, weakness, and drooling, if it gets into their mouth. Therefore, it is advisable to keep the plant away from the reach of your pets.

by gMandy | Updated : October 17, 2018

Yucca Plant Blooms: How To Care For Yucca After Blooming

Yuccas are prehistoric spiky plants perfect for an arid area of the garden. Their unique shape is an excellent accent to the southwestern style or novelty garden. This amazing plant produces a flower when mature, once per season if you are lucky, but more likely every few years. The bloom lasts weeks but then gets ratty and dies.

Cutting yucca flower stalks after they die is thought to spur further flowers. Should you remove spent yucca flowers? If you have questions on how to care for yucca after blooming, read on for a few answers.

Should You Remove Spent Yucca Flowers?

Yuccas produce a flower spire with many dangling panicles, which are individual flowers. Yuccas are members of the lily family with blooms of similar form but much different foliage. The plants form rosettes of spiky sword-like leaves from the center of which rises the flower spires. Once all the panicles are finished, yucca flower after care may include cutting out the stem if you wish or leave it in the plant for an interesting touch.

So should you remove spent yucca flowers? This is a question where the answer depends upon to whom you pose the question. In reality, the plant will produce no more flowers that year, so it really doesn’t matter. There is no evidence that cutting out the spent flower will encourage more blooms or enhance the rosette’s growth.

The only real reason to cut the flower is because you find its faded beauty bothersome, or to prevent seeds from forming and making little baby yuccas. This is possible in good conditions, where seeds may germinate in as little as three weeks. However, maturity takes many years and blooms even longer. It is more important how to care for yucca after blooming and what to do if any offsets appear.

Cutting Yucca Flower Stalks

If you choose to prune out the dead flower stalk, choose some hefty pruners with long handles. Make sure the blades are clean and sharp to avoid damaging the crown of the plant. Wear long sleeves and thick gloves or you may find yourself pricked by the biting tips of the foliage.

Reach as far in as you can to the center of the rosette and cut out the stem. Cutting yucca flower stalks is as simple as that. Just remember the safety tips to prevent any injury.

Caring for Yuccas Following Blooms

Flowers are spent during the middle of summer when it is the hottest. Supplemental watering is an important part of yucca flower after care. Watch for aphids, mealybugs or scale and deal with any insects as they come with an insecticidal soap spray.

Remove any pups or offsets and pot them up to grow larger before turning them loose in the garden.

Yuccas are tough plants that don’t need any pampering, so caring for yuccas following blooms is worry free.

We had a discussion this weekend about Yucca plants. Larry’s sister Evelyn is here from Australia and she grows one in a pot and it is spiny and doesn’t bloom. Very evasive so she has it in a pot and not in the ground. Never waters it just lets nature take care of it. INTERESTING as the ones I have seen here have been soft leaves and a big white bloom. So here is the information about the Spanish bayonet, Adam’s Needle and just information about yucca plants. I will have Ev look at these and see if the first 2 are what she has in her yard. It is great to learn about gardening from all over the world.
How many of you raise yuccas?
Yucca Aloifolia, also appropriately named the ”Spanish bayonet,” has sharp, stiff, daggerlike foliage capable of penetrating a person’s hand if he or she is not careful when working near it. In many cases, puncture wounds caused by this pointed foliage have resulted in serious infection requiring medical attention. They also have been known to cause blindness to pet dogs and cats that have run into foliage. The Spanish bayonet is but one of about 30 known species. It is native to North America and may be grown to a height of 25 feet. Its rigid green leaves are about 2 feet long and 2 inches wide. The tip of the leaf is armed with a sharp, dark spine.
Yucca filamentosa, commonly called Adam’s needle, Spanish bayonet, yucca and needle palm, is a virtually stemless broadleaf evergreen shrub (though it looks more like a perennial than a shrub) that is native to beaches, sand dunes and fields from South Carolina south to Florida and Mississippi. It has escaped cultivation and extended its original range north into New England. It features a basal rosette of rigid, sword-shaped, spine-tipped green leaves (to 30” long and to 4” wide) with long filamentous (as per specific epithet) curly threads along the margins. Leaves form a foliage clump to 2-3’ tall. In late spring, a flowering stalk rises from the center of each rosette, typically to 5-8’ tall, but infrequently to 12’ tall, bearing a long terminal panicles of nodding bell-shaped creamy white flowers. Fruits are elliptical dehiscent capsules.
Yucca is a genus of perennial shrubs and trees in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Agavoideae Its 40-50 species are notable for their rosettes of evergreen, tough, sword-shaped leaves and large terminal panicles of white or whitish flowers. They are native to the hot and dry (arid) parts of the Americas and the Caribbean. Early reports of the species were confused with the cassava (Manihot esculenta). Consequently, Linnaeus mistakenly derived the generic name from the Taíno word for the latter, yuca (spelled with a single “c”). It is commonly found growing in rural graveyards and when in bloom the cluster of (usually pale) flowers on a thin stalk appear as floating apparitions.
The natural distribution range of the genus Yucca (49 species and 24 subspecies) covers a vast area of the Americas. The genus is represented throughout Mexico and extends into Guatemala (Yucca guatemalensis). It also extends to the north through Baja California in the west, northwards into the southwestern United States, through the drier central states as far north as southern Alberta in Canada (Yucca glauca ssp. albertana). Yucca is also native to the lowlands and dry beach scrub of the Gulf and South Atlantic States from coastal Texas to easternmost Virginia. Yuccas have adapted to an equally vast range of climatic and ecological conditions. They are to be found in rocky deserts and badlands, in prairies and grassland, in mountainous regions, in light woodland, in coastal sands (Yucca filamentosa), and even in subtropical and semitemperate zones, although these are generally arid to semi-arid.
Yuccas have a very specialized, mutualistic pollination system, being pollinated by yucca moths (family Prodoxidae); the insect purposefully transfers the pollen from the stamens of one plant to the stigma of another, and at the same time lays an egg in the flower; the moth larva then feeds on some of the developing seeds, always leaving enough seed to perpetuate the species. Certain species of the yucca moth have evolved antagonistic features against the plant and do not assist in the plants pollination efforts while continuing to lay their eggs in the plant for protection. Yucca species are the host plants for the caterpillars of the yucca giant-skipper (Megathymus yuccae),ursine giant-skipper (Megathymus ursus), and Strecker’s giant-skipper (Megathymus streckeri). Large Joshua tree with thick trunk love this name and wonder how many of you have seen this one?
Species of yucca have adapted to a wide variety of climates in mountains, coastal sand, grasslands and prairies as well as rocky badlands and deserts. Most species of yucca have thick, waxy skins to prevent loss of water through evaporation. They frequently store water in thick roots. Some yuccas store water in thick, fleshy leaves. Some desert plants have an oily coating on their leaves or pads that traps moisture, thereby reducing water loss. Some species drop their leaves during drought to prevent the loss of water through transpiration. Dead leaves of yucca collecting against the trunk of the trees help protect it from the sun. The channeled leaves of a yucca direct dew and rainfall water to their roots. Yuccas are said to be “fire adapted”; that is, they grow and spread vigorously after wildfires.
Yuccas are widely grown as ornamental plants in gardens. Many species also bear edible parts, including fruits, seeds, flowers, flowering stems, and more rarely roots. References to yucca root as food often arise from confusion with the similarly pronounced, but botanically unrelated, yuca, also called cassava or manioc (Manihot esculenta). Roots of soaptree yucca (Yucca elata) are high in saponins and are used as a shampoo in Native American rituals. Dried yucca leaves and trunk fibers have a low ignition temperature, making the plant desirable for use in starting fires via friction. In rural Appalachian areas, species such as Yucca filamentosa are referred to as “meat hangers”. The tough, fibrous leaves with their sharp-spined tips were used to puncture meat and knotted to form a loop with which to hang meat for salt curing or in smoke houses.
Cultivation Yuccas are widely grown as architectural plants providing a dramatic accent to landscape design. They tolerate a range of conditions, but are best grown in full sun in subtropical or mild temperate areas. In gardening centres and horticultural catalogues they are usually grouped with other architectural plants such as cordylines and phormiums. Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) are protected by law in some states. A permit is needed for wild collection. As a landscape plant, they can be killed by excessive water during their summer dormant phase, so are avoided by landscape contractors.
The “yucca flower” is the state flower of New Mexico. No species name is given in the citation.
taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca
till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa

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