Table of Contents
- 1 What are Yucca Plants?
- 2 Types of Yucca Plants
- 2.1 Yucca Aloifolia (Aloe Yucca)
- 2.2 Yucca Baccata (Banana Yucca)
- 2.3 Yucca Brevifolia (Joshua Tree)
- 2.4 Yucca Constricta (Buckley’s Yucca)
- 2.5 Yucca Elephantipes var. Yucca Gigantea (Spineless yucca)
- 2.6 Yucca Elata (Soaptree Yucca)
- 2.7 Yucca Faxoniana (Giant White Yucca)
- 2.8 Yucca Filamentosa (Adam’s needle)
- 2.9 Yucca Flaccida (Weak leaf Yucca Plant)
- 2.10 Yucca Glauca (Soapweed Yucca Plant)
- 2.11 Yucca Gloriosa (Spanish dagger)
- 2.12 Yucca Rostrata (Beaked Yucca Plant)
- 2.13 Yucca Rupicola (Twisted Yucca)
- 2.14 Yucca Schidigera (Mojave Yucca Plant)
- 2.15 Yucca Whipplei (Our Lord’s Candle)
- 2.16 Red Yucca Plant (Hesperaloe parviflora)
- 2.17 Yucca Thompsoniana (Thompson’s Yucca Plant)
- 3 Yucca Plant Care Guide
- 4 Common Pests and Diseases of Yucca Plants
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
- 6 Conclusion
- 7 References
What are Yucca Plants?
Yucca plants are popular ornamental houseplants famous for their spiky, large leaves and thick stems.
To beautify the garden landscape, you can plant these palm-like trees, and they will add your garden a tropical vibe.
Many people often consider Yucca plants to be a type of cactus. It is somewhat true because they are drought-tolerant and slow growers.
However, you must remember that they aren’t entirely thirsty and belong to the Asparagaceae family.
Most of these perennial plants look like trees, but you can also find shrub varieties interestingly.
One can easily identify the Yucca plants by their long sword-shaped leaves along with beautiful white flowers.
The color of the leaves may range from bluish-green or green. Some Yucca plants have white or yellow variegation.
The white bell-shaped flowers are a spectacular feature of these plants.
The large cluster of blooms with huge panicles comes from the center of the plant and may reach up to 12 feet tall.
Related post: Types of Succulents Plants to Identify What You Own
Types of Yucca Plants
Yucca plants are ideal for a landscape setting because each Yucca species has a unique shape and a striking appearance.
These plants have densely formed rosettes that contain thin leaves.
The tips of the leaves can be incredibly sharp, so it is best to keep them at a location where people rarely go.
On average, these plants can reach up to 30 feet tall and 25 feet wide. You can also find shorter Yucca plants, which may reach up to 4 feet tall.
This section will mention the most attractive and popular Yucca plants that can beautify your indoor or outdoor garden.
Yucca Aloifolia (Aloe Yucca)
Yucca aloifolia, or “Aloe Yucca,” can be found along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts of the USA. It is also known as the “Spanish Bayonet” because of its leaves.
This Yucca plant has an erect trunk that grows up to 20 feet tall and has a diameter of 5 inches.
You will see sharp leaves growing from the tip of the stem, and each of those leaves can reach a maximum of 2 feet long.
This Yucca plant produces giant panicles, where pendulous white flowers appear during the blooming period.
This plant prefers growing in sandy soil. It has good drought tolerance characteristics.
If you intend to develop it as a houseplant, you have to ensure that the growing spot receives full sun.
Even if you have a rocky garden, you can plant this variety there.
Don’t worry about water because this slow-growing species doesn’t have much water and fertilizer demand.
Yucca Baccata (Banana Yucca)
Yucca baccata, locally known as the Banana Yucca plant or Broadleaf Yucca plant, is native to the southwestern deserts of the United States, southeastern California, northwestern Mexico, and west of Texas.
The name “banana” has come about due to its unique banana-shaped fruits.
Don’t confuse this variety with Yucca schidigera (Mojave Yucca plant) because both species are pretty similar.
These perennial evergreen shrubs have blue, green leaves up to 30 inches long.
This type of Yucca plant needs full sun to grow. Though they can tolerate shade areas, placing them under those spots may inhibit their growth.
Even the color of those bluish-green leaves can fade. Also, make sure that the location is warm.
Don’t overwater these banana Yucca plants, as they may attract pests and cause fungal diseases. You may enjoy its fruits that taste like sweet potatoes.
Yucca Brevifolia (Joshua Tree)
Yucca brevifolia, also known as the Joshua tree, is a tropical palm tree. Yucca, or Yucca palm, is a large tree that may reach a maximum of 40 feet.
The tallest Joshua tree has a height of 49 feet. This type of Yucca plant can be found in the Mojave Desert, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Mexico.
This species can survive for hundreds to thousands of years. The leaves can grow up to 35 cm long and 15 mm wide and have sharp points.
The margin of the foliage is serrated and white. Another variety of this species is the Yucca brevifolia blue or blue Joshua tree.
First of all, we suggest you grow a Joshua tree outdoors because these trees can grow very tall.
Also, growing this species outdoors will ensure its favorable condition. It grows well in warm temperatures and low humidity.
The soil should be sandy, and the drainage system must be fast. You don’t have to water or fertilize this plant too often.
If you want to fertilize it, we suggest you feed it with organic fertilizer once a month.
Yucca Constricta (Buckley’s Yucca)
Buckley’s Yucca plant is a perennial shrub found in sandy and rocky areas or hot deserts. Yucca constricta doesn’t have stems.
This type of Yucca has two-foot-long sharp, pointed, and twisting leaves with white fibers and pale green color.
During the summer months, it produces white flowers at the tips of the flower stalks. Deer may eat the flowers if they find an opportunity.
This Yucca variety grows well under the full sun. If you have sufficient space in your garden, you can grow this plant.
This species thrives even on poor and infertile land.
Remember that the most important factors for growing this Yucca tree are light, temperature, humidity, and water. This plant blooms when there is sufficient light.
Yucca Elephantipes var. Yucca Gigantea (Spineless yucca)
Yucca gigantea is a variety of Yucca elephantipes. It is also known as the spineless Yucca plant and doesn’t have razor-sharp leaves like the Aloe Yucca plant.
The spineless Yucca plant has sword-shaped leaves, which are tough because you cannot rip them easily.
Remember that you may distinguish it from the Aloe Yucca by the leaf pattern. Aloe Yucca has narrower leaves with a sharp tip.
Like most Yucca plants, this Spineless Yucca tree prefers full sun to grow. If you plan to grow it indoors, try placing it in the south-facing window.
Don’t place them in indirect light or shady areas, as low light will inhibit their growth.
Fix a watering schedule based on the temperature and soil type of the region.
You don’t have to water this spineless Yucca too often because it is drought tolerant.
Yucca Elata (Soaptree Yucca)
Yucca elata is also known as the soaptree Yucca plant or Soapweed plant and is native to the Chihuahuan or Sonoran desert in the USA.
Although the soapweed Yucca plant is widely distributed across the USA, its population decreases day by day.
This Yucca plant may grow up to 15 feet tall and has several brown-colored branches.
The leaves have a spiral pattern, and each of them can reach a minimum of 1 inch in length.
These grass Yucca varieties prefer growing under direct light.
In addition, you should try to plant it in well-drained soil because this species cannot stand excess water or heavy clay that has a higher water retention capacity.
The roots of this evergreen shrub are pretty strong and long. So, don’t worry about the watering schedule. Water them once every week.
Yucca Faxoniana (Giant White Yucca)
Yucca faxoniana is also known as Giant White Yucca. It is an evergreen shrub that has blade-like leaves.
Due to the sharpness of its foliage, this species is also called “Spanish dagger” or “Giant dagger.”
This multi-trunked shrub may reach up to 10 feet in length, and the bladed leaves may grow to 4 feet in length.
This Yucca plant produces creamy or white bell-shaped flowers.
These Yucca plants can be found in the Mojave desert or Chihuahua desert. It needs full sun to grow at its full potential.
Since they are native to the desert area, they are well adapted to drought areas.
Like most other types of Yucca, you don’t have to water them too often. Make sure the soil is well-drained and sandy.
You may feed them using organic fertilizer once every month.
Yucca Filamentosa (Adam’s needle)
Yucca filamentosa, or Adam’s needle, looks like Yucca flaccida, and that’s why both of them are often classified as one species.
It can be found in the southeastern region of the United States and may grow up to 10 feet tall with 6-foot long flower stalks.
Therefore, if you intend to grow this bear grass Yucca variety indoors, you must make sure there is sufficient space for the plant.
You should grow Yucca plants in a warm area with a low humidity level. This condition is ideal for Yucca plants’ growth.
Planting this Adam’s needle variety outdoors is often the best choice because it requires ample space.
If your garden has heavy clay soil, you should add more sand and coarse materials because these shrubs will not grow well in clay soil.
Yucca Flaccida (Weak leaf Yucca Plant)
Yucca flaccida has many names, like Adam’s needle, Beargrass Yucca, or Weak Leaf Yucca plant.
This type of Yucca plant can be found in the dry and tropical regions of the US. These plants are stemless and have beautiful, sharp green leaves.
They can grow up to 22 inches tall and 59 inches wide. The pointy leaves can be 22 inches long.
In summer, Adam’s needle plant produces 59-inch long panicles of white flowers.
Like the other Yucca plants, these varieties grow well in the direct sun and at warm temperatures with dry humidity.
In a nutshell, they grow best in desert areas.
You may plant it indoors to add a tropical or desert touch to your garden, but we suggest you plant it outdoors as it will reduce the chance of any injuries caused by that sharp foliage.
Yucca Glauca (Soapweed Yucca Plant)
Yucca glauca, or Soapweed, Yucca plant, or Spanish bayonet, is a beautiful shrub-like plant that can grow around 4 feet wide.
The leaves are approximately 2 feet long, and the inflorescence can reach nearly 3.5 feet tall.
The white to pale green leaves have sharp tips that can cause injury. This plant is widely distributed across Texas and New Mexico.
The dagger-like leaves subtend the tall flower stalks of this plant.
To grow this variety indoors, you must ensure the temperature is dry.
Since they are native to the tropical desert areas, it would be best to provide them with that condition.
Plant it in sandy, well-drained soil. Also, the planting spot should receive bright sunlight. Otherwise, the growth will be slower.
Yucca Gloriosa (Spanish dagger)
Yucca gloriosa is a beautiful species of flowering plant belonging to the Yucca genus.
Due to the shape and sharpness of the leaves, it is also known as the Spanish dagger.
You will find it widely distributed in the southeastern region of the US.
Yucca plants are often grown as ornamental species for indoor gardens.
The dark green leaves can reach around 20 inches long and 1.5 inches wide.
Growing these Yucca plants is relatively easy. If you plan to grow them in a container, you must mix sand and coarse materials.
Since these plants need sandy and well-drained soil, we advise you to avoid using heavy clay that retains water for a prolonged period.
The best idea is to plant them outdoors, and it will beautify your landscape. Water them once every week, depending on the temperature and soil type.
Yucca Rostrata (Beaked Yucca Plant)
Yucca rostrata is an impressive Yucca variety that should be planted in a tropical garden. If you plan to plant one, we recommend you go for it first.
The Yucca rostrata tree is single-stemmed, and from the top of the trunk, blue-green leaves come out like palm trees.
The crown looks like a pom-pom and contains thin, sharp leaves that reach 2 feet long. This beaked Yucca plant may reach around 6 to 15 feet tall.
Beaked Yucca is an ornamental plant, and it grows best in warm regions.
Unlike a few other types, it is a cold-hardy Yucca and can survive temperatures as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
It produces beautiful blooms when grown under the full sun.
These beaked Yucca roots are pretty deep, so you don’t have to worry about the watering schedule. Water this plant once every week.
Yucca Rupicola (Twisted Yucca)
Yucca rupicola is commonly known as Twisted Yucca or Rock Yucca because of its twisted sword-shaped leaves with dark to bright green colors.
The leaves of this Yucca are pretty sharp. You can find it widely distributed in the desert regions of Texas.
The leaves can grow to 2 feet long and begin twisting once they mature.
Growing these twisted Yuccas is relatively easy. Due to their smaller size, you may keep them indoors.
But you should be careful about those sharp leaves, especially if you have pets. Prepare the potting mix using sandy soil.
You can add coarse and organic materials to improve the soil condition, although these plants also grow in poor soil.
Yucca Schidigera (Mojave Yucca Plant)
Yucca schidigera, or Mojave Yucca, is native to the Chihuahuan and Mojave deserts of the USA.
In addition, you can also find these species in Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico.
This Yucca tree grows in rocky deserts and at higher altitudes. It looks similar to the Joshua tree.
Mojave Yucca may grow to around 16 feet tall.
You will see beautiful bayonet-like leaves at the top, forming a dense crown. Each yellow, green leaves can be 1 to 5 feet long.
You can get amazing medicinal benefits from this species. Research shows that this plant contains saponins with anti-arthritic features .
Since this tree grows in the desert area, you don’t have to worry about the watering schedule.
Make sure that they are planted under the full sun to grow to their full potential.
If you plan to grow them indoors, you should get a big pot as they grow up to 15 feet tall.
Yucca Whipplei (Our Lord’s Candle)
Yucca whipplei is a Yucca shrub that doesn’t have a trunk. The leaves are bluish-green and sharp with serrated edges.
The pointy leaves can reach around 3 feet, and the most stunning feature of this species is the flowers.
The stalks can be 14 feet tall, which is quite a considerable amount. Therefore, you should plant these varieties only if you have sufficient space in your garden.
This plant should be kept in a bright spot that receives full sun throughout the day. Midday sun exposure isn’t going to be a problem.
If you can place them at a warm temperature, they will grow to their full potential and produce more creamy white flowers.
You should plant Yucca in well-drained sandy soil. You don’t have to fertilize them too often as they grow in poor soil.
During the blooming period, they will produce beautiful white flowers.
Red Yucca Plant (Hesperaloe parviflora)
The Red Yucca plant is a beautiful variety of Yucca plants.
Remember that there is another relevant variety of red Yucca, and that is known as the yellow Yucca plant.
You can identify the red Yucca by its grass leaves and pink flowers, which grow on narrow spikes.
This species got its name from the red leaves seen in the winter months. They are ideal for growing in Mediterranean gardens.
They are not like the Spanish bayonet, so that these plants won’t cause injury. However, it contains toxic material, which is harmful to pets.
You can quickly grow the red Yucca plant (Hesperaloe parviflora) indoors because it has fewer demands than the other Yuccas.
Place them under bright and full sunlight to encourage their growth.
Water them sparingly, and make sure that the soil doesn’t stay soggy for a prolonged period. You can fertilize them with organic fertilizer once a month.
Yucca Thompsoniana (Thompson’s Yucca Plant)
Yucca thompsoniana is a slow-growing plant found in hilly and rocky areas of Texas and New Mexico. This plant grows up to 12 feet tall and 6 feet wide.
This looks like a Joshua plant because of the multi-trunk. It has thin bluish-green leaves that have serrated edges.
During the summer months, this plant produces beautiful cream-colored flowers.
There is a couple of things to remember for growing this large plant indoor. Make sure there is enough space to grow.
However, they grow pretty slowly but can be huge when they mature.
Also, this plant should be placed under direct sunlight. Shady areas will inhibit growth. The temperature should be warm.
Yucca Plant Care Guide
Yucca species grow perfectly in dry regions because they cannot tolerate excess water.
Although growing these plants is relatively easy, you must fulfill their demands to maintain their sharp and stunning looks.
If you can meet their needs, they will thrive happily. Remember that these ornamental plants will show a couple of signs of not being happy with the provided conditions.
Therefore, you should keep a close look at them.
Temperature, water, light, and soil type are considered the most important factors for growing these houseplants.
Yucca plants grow under full sunlight. Make sure you place them in a sunny location to receive abundant sunlight.
Although they can grow under indirect light, we suggest keeping them under direct light because little light will inhibit their growth.
Temperature and Humidity
Yucca plants prefer a desert area where warmer temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with low humidity.
However, providing this condition indoors is almost impossible unless you live in a desert area.
Don’t worry because they can grow even in Mediterranean gardens.
These plants grow naturally in dry regions. If you want to plant them in a container, you need to prepare the potting mix carefully.
The soil should be sandy, well-drained, and loose.
They don’t have any organically rich soil system requirements, but you may add organic materials.
Remember that productive soil isn’t good for growing these ornamental plants.
You can add perlite, pumice, and other coarse materials to improve the drainage system.
Every Yucca tree is sensitive to excess water. So, you should water these trees carefully. Observe the soil moisture status before you water them.
The top few inches (2-3) should be dry between waterings. Make a watering schedule based on the temperature and soil type.
If your soil is too sandy, you may have to water almost every day.
Also, don’t forget to keep Yucca plants clean by misting water on their leaves, but don’t mist the leaves too often.
Remember that if you notice soggy stems, then reduce watering frequency.
These plants don’t need frequent fertilization because they can grow well in infertile soil.
Yucca species are slow growers, and regular fertilization isn’t going to enhance their growth.
If you want to fertilize them, we suggest you go for organic fertilizers because these will release nutrients slowly, and you will not have to worry about feeding them for the entire month.
Common Pests and Diseases of Yucca Plants
While growing Yuccas, you don’t have to worry a lot about their pests and diseases.
These plants are resistant to insects and pests, but that doesn’t mean that pests cannot attack them.
Aphids and mealybugs are two real pains for all the houseplants, and eliminating these insects is pretty hard. They pierce the foliage and suck the plant sap.
Even if you notice a single mealybug or aphid, remove it as fast as you can.
Once these insects are established, they are nearly impossible to extract.
Although there are ways to kill these insects, it is better to stop their infestation.
Along with these insect issues, these plants are quite susceptible to fungal disease.
You will see black or dark spots if the fungus attacks the plants. These plants are sensitive to overwatering, the leading cause of fungal infection.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where should we plant Yucca plants?
A place with access to direct sunlight is preferable. Even though Yuccas are tolerant of moderate shade, they thrive in full sunshine. Yuccas are native to dry and sunny environments. Due to the fact that Yuccas’ roots decay readily in damp soil, the soil should be moderately dry and well-drained prior to planting.
Do Yucca trees grow fast?
No. Yuccas are slow-growing plants that need little to no upkeep to live. Their foliage develops in a rosette shape either at ground level or on shoots, trunks, or branches, depending on the species. Because many of them have blades that are extremely sharp and spine-topped, they have earned the nicknames “Spanish bayonet” and “Spanish dagger.”
How can I get Yucca to bloom?
Yucca trees bloom during the summer. To get the bloom, you should keep them under the full sun. Further, maintaining the plant’s health via regular fertilizer and pruning will also aid in promoting growth and the production of yucca blooms. It is generally possible to induce the formation of a yucca plant blossom by supplementing the soil with a phosphorus-rich fertilizer or bone meal. The optimum time to trim yucca plants is in the early fall, before the leaves fall.
Can Yucca tolerate Full sun?
Yucca plants are supported by canes, which are huge, woody stalks. Yucca houseplant maintenance is simple after the plant has established in a bright to partially shady spot inside. Growing in full light and flourishing is possible for potted yucca plants, although they often get browning tips or white, rotting areas on the leaves.
Are Yucca plants Toxic?
Unfortunately, yucca punctures may carry harmful substances called “saponins” straight into the body, causing reactions, slowing healing, and harming red blood cells. With that said, Yucca plants are edible when cooked.
To sum up, Yucca plants can be a fascinating addition to your garden, and many beautiful types of Yucca trees can be found in garden stores or nurseries.
Yucca flowers add more beauty to these plants. Furthermore, gardeners can easily take care of these species because they have fewer demands, and they can be grown even in poor soil.
A few more things that you should keep in mind. These plants have sword-like leaves that are pretty sharp.
So, you must plant them or keep them away from those spots where people and your pets frequently visit.
Although they have similar characteristics to the cactus, don’t treat them like that.
If you can maintain the light intensity, temperature, and water content properly, the Yucca trees will reward you with a healthier and more beautiful look.
-  Cheeke, P.R. et al. 2006. Anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects of yucca schidigera: A review. Journal of Inflammation, 3: 6.
- Texas Natural Resources Server. Yucca. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
- UF/IFAS Extension: Solutions for Your Life. (2018). Yucca. University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Gardening Solutions.
- Utah State University. Yucca. Utah State University Extension.
- Bachman, G. (2018). Yucca Plants. Mississippi State University Extension.
- Graetz, R. & Graetz, S. Beargrass and Yucca. This is Montana e-magazine, University of Montana.
- About/mentions: Yucca, succulents
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.