Yucca plant brown leaves

Yucca Plants: Perfect Species for Inside and Outside Growing

Images of Yucca plant and pictures

Yucca is a plant known for clusters of white flowers and green sword-like leaves. Its blooming is bird-attractive during fall and summer. However, these are only common features, as there are various species available.

Though plants are native mostly to desert sections in South, North, Central America and West Indies, you can easily find them in homes and gardens all over the world. All that is required is your knowledge of proper care instructions. Personally I know much about the entire process. Some tips were suggested by my friends, and I’m ready to share them.

As a rule I hear the same everywhere – ‘yucca plants are easy to maintain, and that’s why I’ve chosen them.’ However, when it comes to reality, you should know the fact that they are also pretty susceptible to different problems, diseases and even pests. So, choosing the species only by yucca images is wrong. Personally I give preference to Bright Edge and Spanish Dagger. You can find pictures of them.

Bright Edge has spiny-tipped leaves that are 2-feet long and are edged with threads that are curly. What I like the most is that all leaves are banded with creamy yellow. During hot summer months there appear white flowers. Spanish Dagger has evergreen clumps of stiff. When its leaves get mature, they arch.

Things You Don’t Know about Yucca Uses

As far as I know, there are ornamental plants available. There are different types of yucca that have edible parts, including stems, leaves and fruits. In addition, yucca uses are different; it is mostly added to shampoos for Native America rituals. Its leaves are used in fires started through fiction due to their low ignition temperature. Filamentosa type is regarded to be a ‘meat hunger’, because its tough fibrous leaves and sharp spiny tips are commonly used in puncturing meat for forming a loop hung in smoking houses.

Planting Yucca. What’s Better: Seeds or Roots?

I believe that working with a yucca root is easier. But some of my friends are always ready to deny it. Well, everyone chooses the most appropriate option. Let’s see how to plant a yucca in each case.

If you go my way and choose roots, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a place where it is full sun to ensure the best outcome. This plant doesn’t like partial shade.
  2. Before planting yucca, check the soil for good drainage. If there is any need to promote it, do some slope to the area. Otherwise, your flower will not survive in wet ground and will rot pretty fast.
  3. Take a shovel and dig a hole. Inspect the soil type.
  4. Afterwards choose the location, add some sand in order to implement the soil. For this purpose you’d better dig a hole twice as deep and twice as wide as the root ball. Place soil into a large container, and then add about 50% of sand. Be especially attentive to the soil type that has a heavy clay base. In this case you’d better add more sand.
  5. Place the root ball on the top of the soil and make sure it is straight and centered. Fill in sand around the plant to the surface level.

Usually I also add some water. After this I know that I won’t need to water it for 2-3 weeks after planting.

As I rarely work with seeds I asked a friend of mine to tell me about the procedure. He says it’s as simple as that: just spread them on the top of the potting mix. For better results they should be spread nearly three inches apart. Then cover them with sandy soil. Make sure the layer is very thin. Water the seeds every 3-4 days. This will keep them barely moistened. Over-watering will cause rotting.

What about propagation? It should be propagated by removing either small plants or pups which normally appear around ‘the mother’. I suggest using a sharp garden spade for digging up the pup and planting it in a small pot.

When to transplant it? The best season is autumn for those species that are in the area with hot summers and pretty mild winters. This gives enough time for establishing before dry months. In case you live in the area with cold winters, transplanting should take place in spring after frost.

Yucca Care Guide and Basic Growing Tips

How to grow yucca? The basic requirements are the following:

  • bright light
  • if kept in house, 3-5 feet of a window
  • sandy soil
  • good drainage

Let’s check the details. If this is an indoor plant you should keep it in high or bright light settings. I usually allow the top 1/3 of soil to dry out before I start watering it again. If it happens so that the setting doesn’t have much light, nearly ¾ of the soil should dry down between the watering. If possible, use sub-irrigation to water house plants.

While watering, don’t let your plant sit in a saucer of water, which accumulated in the bottom. Be careful, as this extra water encourages rotting. Additional tips on growing are:

  • providing intense light at least once a day
  • using heavy pots, if there’s no such chance, place rocks on the top of soil in order to keep pot upright
  • water regularly, because if the plant doesn’t get enough liquid, its leaves will soon turn yellow and then brown

In winter: I always try to provide lower temperatures. Once I didn’t and some of my plants didn’t survive.

In summer: I leave them outdoors allowing getting more light, getting used to high heat and benefiting from fresh air. About 3-4 hours a day they are in direct sun. As this makes the soil dry out faster, I water it several times a week. This is basic caring for yucca.

Do not forget about pruning. With most plants this procedure stands for cutting the blooms and branches, while now we are speaking about cutting the trunk. For those species that grow outside this process is not necessary.

How to prune? The best time for it is spring. It should be done before the growing season:

  • I determine a halfway mark on my plant and take a cutting device. Usually it is a saw.
  • Using it, I lop off the leafy section that is on the top on the trunk.

For most people cutting at a halfway point is too difficult as it makes the trunk too short. Well, there’s no single rule, so you can cut a little bit higher. This is it.

For additional care for yucca you can also cut off blooms and leaves. Removing them can be done regardless of season, as there is no need to get worried about damaging the plant. So, when I see that the bloom is dying or old, I cut it off.

If you remove stalks, you can also use sharp shears and cut the stalk at about 4 inches above the place it grows out of the major stem. This is how to care.

What Diseases and Pests Plants Are Susceptible To?

Now that you know about the cultivation process, it’s time to get acquainted with diseases or pests risks. Among typical problems you can find leaves curling and yellowing, brown discoloration and lesions, stem rotting, etc. Let’s see what the reasons are and how to cope with them.

  • Gray Leaf Spotting

This is a quite common problem for many plants. Spotting appears in old leaves: you notice legions fray in color. When the problem affects my yucca I remove the infected areas and apply a fungicide.

  • Stem Rot

Once I had the problem like this. Besides, rotting of the stem is a common issue for most homeowners. The main cause is a bacterium that causes the stem have mushy discharges. The odor is really unpleasant, believe me! To avoid this you should use a proper potting soil and sterilized pots, while planting the cuttings.

  • Brown Spots

What about brown spots? This problem is of 3 centimeters in diameter. Its basic characteristic feature is a purple border. At first you don’t notice anything. Then you just try not to pay special attention to tiny clear zones on some old leaves. Finally, they turn yellow and brown, when mature. They are scattered all over the surface of those leaves that are at the bottom. And though the problem is rather serious, it can be removed. All you must do is remove all affected and old leaves and then sprinkle the remaining ones with a fungicide. This is helpful in preventing the re-occurrence of brown spots.

After getting acquainted with basic diseases you’ll be happy to know that yuccas are resistant to the greater part of pests. The infestation of mealy bug or scale is perhaps the worst that can happen. If you see any problem, make a special solution, mixing water and liquid dishwashing product. Spray the plant. If it doesn’t work, you may freely use any commercial insecticide.

If you have read this, you can stay cool: now you know all the basic information on planting, growing and caring for yucca. Choose any types you like to make your garden and house bloom all year round.

All publications about Yucca are below

Yucca Care

Yuccas are presently one of the trendiest plants around. Drive past any strikingly modern home and chances are you’ll see a yucca plant through the window or somewhere in the architecturally planned garden. But you don’t have to be on the upper rungs of the real estate market to enjoy these tropical plants, they look great in almost any setting. Learn all about yucca care in this How To guide.

Needles, Daggers, Bayonets

The yucca most commonly available as an indoor plant in New Zealand is the Yucca Elephantipes. Known variously as the Spineless Yucca, Spanish Dagger, Adam’s Needle, Spanish Bayonet and Soapweed yuccas are hardy perennials that generally range from 30 cm to 2.5 meters in height. They have thick woody stems that bear, at their upper ends, clusters of long, dark-green, spear-shaped leaves.

Yucca – a Plant With a History

During late spring and summer, yuccas may produce dramatic clusters of white, bell-shaped flowers. So striking are these flowers that early settlers of the south-western United States called them “Lamparas de Dios” or “Lanterns of God”. Pollination and proper yucca care are necessary for the formation of these flowers on indoor plants.

A member of the Agavae family, the yucca is closely related to the lily and has its origins in Mexico and Central America where it was prized by indigenous peoples for the medicinal and nutritional properties of the yucca flower. North American natives, too, found the plant useful, using it to make clothing and soap (yucca roots are rich in saponins).

Caring for Your Yucca

If you want a houseplant that will grow in most conditions and which requires minimal care, you won’t go far wrong with a yucca – in fact the plant is so hardy it is sometimes called the “No Water Plant”.

Yucca plants fare best in bright light situations. Indoor yuccas should therefore be placed near windows to take advantage of natural light.

Yuccas like sandy, well-drained soil. Use an appropriate potting mix and place a 5 cm layer of pebbles in the bottom of the pot for optimum yucca care. Do not put a catcher or plate under your yucca’s pot. Waterlogged roots are one of the most common killers of this plant.

Though yuccas are almost set-and-forget houseplants, they will benefit from a dose of fertiliser two or three times a year.

Watering Your Yucca

The single most important element of good yucca care is watering. Yucca’s like to be reasonably dry and suffer badly from over watering. Water about once every ten days. You can tell when it’s time to water by checking the soil – it should be dry down to a depth of about 2.5 cm.

Indications of poor yucca care due to watering are:

  • Leaves show brown tips surrounded by a yellow halo – too much water.
  • Leaves turn yellow or brown all over – too little water.


Happily, yuccas are resistant to most pests. Probably the worst thing you’ll find is an infestation of scale or mealy bug. If this occurs, just spray the plant with a solution of dishwashing liquid and water. If that doesn’t do the trick use a commercial insecticide like Neem Oil.


Generally, yucca care doesn’t involve pruning the leaves of your yucca plant, but you may want to prune in two other ways.

The flower stalk: this may be pruned away from the plant after (or even before) the flower has finished blooming. Use pruning shears to cut it about 10 cm above the stalk-base.

The plant itself: yuccas can grow quite tall and in a houseplant this may present a problem for the average homeowner. The solution is simple, but drastic:

  1. Remove the yucca from its pot.
  2. Use a saw to cut the plant in half – the cut should be made mid-way between the start of the trunk and the first leaf cluster.
  3. Re-pot the bottom half of the trunk (the root end) and water well.
  4. Place the re-potted trunk in a well-lit position.

Though it might feel like you’ve just killed your yucca, the plant will actually recover and begin to sprout new leaves.

A New Plant Free

You can grow yourself a whole new plant for nothing after the above pruning process. Just take the discarded leaf end of the trunk, saw off the top of the trunk just below where the leaves begin and pot with the old leaf end pointed upwards.

The Easiest of Houseplants

As long as you apply the principles of good yucca care (water sparingly, plenty of light, feed occasionally) your yucca plant will give you years of enjoyment for minimal effort, whether you live in a trendy house or not.

Yucca Care, 3.9 out of 5 based on 12 ratings

Tags: indoor plants

Yucca Plant Problems: Why A Yucca Plant Has Brown Tips Or Foliage

Who could forget the timeless beauty of the yuccas that grew in grandma’s garden, with their dramatic flower spikes and pointed foliage? Gardeners across the country love the yucca for their hardiness and sense of style. Yucca plants are typically easy-care landscaping plants, but they can have occasional problems. One of the most common symptoms of a sick yucca is browning leaves. Read on to find out why this happens and get tips on caring for a browning yucca plant.

Caring for a Browning Yucca Plant

When yucca plant problems do strike, they’re usually easy to resolve, so don’t panic if you’ve got a yucca plant with brown leaves. Several minor problems can cause browning of yuccas. The first step in caring for a sick one is to determine what, exactly, is causing the problem. While you’re doing your investigation, check for these items:

  • Normal aging. Yucca plant leaves turning brown can be a normal part of their lifecycle, provided the browning leaves are the oldest and closest to the ground. If leaves higher in the plant are also browning, you’ve got a different problem.
  • Lighting. You need bright light for your yucca to really thrive. Yuccas will warn you of low lighting conditions by becoming a brighter green, then yellowing and browning if insufficient light persists. Although they need bright light, never place indoor yucca plants in a window with direct sunlight, or else you’ll have the opposite problem and cook your yuccas to death.
  • Watering. Because yuccas are desert residents, watering can be fraught with problems. It’s hard to water them too little if you’re watering at all, but watering too much is easy and quickly leads to root rot in all varieties. If your plant is small enough to dig, check the roots. They should be firm and white or cream colored, but absolutely not black or squishy. If that’s what you find, cut away the damaged roots, repot your plant in a container or garden spot with good drainage and water only when the top two inches of soil are dry.
  • Fluoride toxicity. When your yucca plant has brown tips, it’s likely due to fluoride toxicity. This issue generally starts as small brown spots on leaf margins, but soon encompasses the entire leaf tip. It’s especially bad on older leaves. There’s no serious risk with fluoride toxicity, but it does make a yucca look unsightly. Switch to watering with distilled water and the problem will clear up over time.
  • Salt toxicity. Although fluoride isn’t a huge threat to your plant’s health, salt is a serious problem. If you live where the soil has a high salinity level, or you water from a water softener, your plant may respond with stunted growth, browning tips and leaf margins or other leaf-related issue. In very salty conditions, a white crust may form at the surface of the soil. You can attempt to flush the soil with salt-free water, but unless you act quickly, your yucca may be beyond saving.
  • Fungal leaf spots. Once in a while the conditions are just right for fungal leaf spots to take hold in yucca. The fungal pathogens involved will cause spotting, often with a yellow halo, but rarely damage whole leaves. Remove damaged leaves and spray the plant with a copper fungicide as long as the weather is moist to prevent the spread of fungal spores to non-infected leaves.

Agave and Yucca-Like Plants of West and Southwest USA

Plants > Agave and Yucca > Other Species There are several other rosette-forming plants of the Southwest deserts that resemble agave and yucca. Most widespread is nolina (beargrass), which has leaves that are thinner, straighter, less rigid and more numerous. There are 14 US species. Dasylirion (sotol) is a similar plant, notable for a row of tiny teeth along each leaf; it produces tall flower stalks, similar to an agave. Other yucca-like species include hechtia texensis (Texas false agave).

Other related US species:
Dasylirion texanum, Texas sotol, west and central Texas
Nolina arenicola, Trans-Pecos beargrass, far west Texas (rare)
Nolina atopocarpa, Florida beargrass, Florida
Nolina brittoniana, Britton’s beargrass, Florida
Nolina cismontana, peninsular beargrass, southwest California
Nolina erumpens, foothill beargrass, far west Texas
Nolina georgiana, Georgia beargrass, Georgia and South Carolina
Nolina greenei, woodland beargrass, northeast New Mexico, west Oklahoma, extreme southeast Colorado
Nolina interrata, Dehesa beargrass, extreme southwest California (rare)
Nolina lindheimeriana, devil’s shoestring, south-central Texas
Nolina micrantha, chaparral beargrass, far west Texas, southeast New Mexico

Is This Dracaena Or Yucca – How To Tell A Yucca From A Dracaena

So you’ve been given a plant with spiky leaves but no further information, including the name of the plant. It looks familiar, rather like a dracaena or yucca, but you have no idea what the difference between a yucca and dracaena is. How can you tell which it is? Read on to find out how to tell a yucca from a dracaena plant.

Yucca vs. Dracaena

What’s the difference between yucca and dracaena? While both yucca and dracaena have long strap-like, pointed leaves, this is where the differences between the two end.

First of all, yucca hails from the family Agavaceae and is native to Mexico and the Southwest United States. Dracaena, on the other hand, is a member of the family Asparagaceae, which encompasses an additional 120 species of trees and succulent shrubs.

How to Tell a Yucca from a Dracaena

What other yucca and dracaena differences are there?

Yucca is most commonly grown as an outdoor plant and dracaena very commonly, an indoor houseplant. However, both can be grown either inside or out, depending on the region and type grown. Dracaena thrives in household temperatures and will even do well outside provided temperatures are around 70 F. Once temps drop below 50 F. (10 C.) however, the plant suffers cold damage.

Yucca, on the other hand, is native to the hot and arid regions of the Americas and the Caribbean. As such, one would expect that it prefers warm temperatures, and it does for the most part; however, it is tolerant of temperatures down to 10 F. (-12 C.) and can be planted in many climates.

Yucca is a small tree to shrub that is covered with sword-like, pointed leaves that grow to between 1-3 feet (30-90 cm.) in length. The foliage on the lower portion of the plant is commonly made up of dead, brown leaves.

Although dracaena also has long pointed leaves, they tend to be more rigid than those of yucca. They are also darker green and, depending upon the cultivar, may even be multi-hued. Dracaena plant also usually, although not always, depending upon the cultivar, have multiple trunks and look much more like a real tree than that of yucca.

There is, in fact, another similarity besides the pointed leaves between yucca and dracaena. Both plants can get fairly tall, but since dracaena is more of a houseplant, pruning and the choice of cultivar generally keep the plant’s size down to a more manageable height.

Additionally, on dracaena plants, when the leaves die, they fall from the plant, leaving a characteristic diamond shaped leaf scar on the stem of the plant. When leaves die on yucca, they tend to remain adhered to the trunk of the plant and new leaves push out and grow atop them.

Yucca plants to blame for gardening injuries including permanent hearing loss, study finds

Updated January 20, 2018 09:08:44

The fashionable yucca plant is to blame for a spike in gardening-related ear injuries, new research has found.

Over a five-year period 28 patients presented to the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne with ear injuries caused by the spikey plant, according to a study published in the UK journal Clinical Otolaryngology.

Ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon Professor Stephen O’Leary, who authored the report, said some of those injuries were very serious.

“It was a bit of a surprise to us,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.

“We had repeated episodes of people coming in after they were gardening or handling their yucca plant.”

He said one in seven of those cases resulted in the patient suffering permanent hearing loss.

Arrow-like leaves pierce inner ear

Native to dry regions of North and Central America and the Caribbean, yucca plants are popular as architectural plants in landscaped gardens.

The leaf of the yucca plant is long and thin with a sharp, pointy end.

“A lot of people are a bit worried about their eyes when they pick up a yucca plant,” Professor O’Leary said.

“But they don’t really think that if the yucca plant is next to them then those fronds can pass straight down the ear canal like an arrow.”

He said the spikey leaves initially perforate the ear drum, but “fortunately for us the ear drum can recover”.

“But if they go much further, the angle and orientation of these things heads them straight into the little bones of hearing and into the inner ear itself.

“That’s what causes very significant and permanent injury to the hearing.”

Professor O’Leary said the inner ear was an “incredibly delicate structure” that was notoriously difficult to treat, and any injury should be seen to quickly by an ENT surgeon.

“ENT surgeons are the people that can actually operate on your ear and patch up that inner ear if it needs to be, and that has to be done soon,” he said.

“If it is actually done in time there’s a very good chance of stopping that progression to a permanent hearing loss.

“If you feel at all dizzy after you’ve had an injury to the ear with a yucca plant, that’s the red flag that this could be very serious indeed.”

Native alternatives available

Patrick Honan, a horticulturalist with ABC’s Gardening Australia, said the yucca’s resilience had seen it become “almost ubiquitous” in Australian gardens.

“They can take a lot of drought, a lot of neglect, and they look really evergreen so they’re really good for a dry Australian climate,” he said.

As an introduced species, that hardiness can become a problem when garden waste is disposed of in bushland areas.

“Before you know it, because yuccas are so resilient, you’ve got a plantation of yuccas growing.”

Mr Honan said people wanting a native alternative should consider Acacia aphylla (leafless rock wattle).

“It has that same really modern strong, bold look,” he said, adding that other native yucca alternatives included local species of dianella or lomandra.

He warned gardeners to wear protective clothing, including gloves and a wide-brimmed hat, and to remain aware at all times.

“I know it’s very enjoyable and you can get into the groove very quickly, but you can’t garden if you’re injured.”

Topics: landscape-gardening, gardening, ear-nose-and-throat-disorders, academic-research, human-interest, melbourne-3000

First posted January 20, 2018 08:00:00

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