Yuccas (Yucca) (also known as palm lilies) are reliable indoor plants that can easily thrive inside your four walls with a little effort. Despite its misleading name, the palm-like plant is not actually a palm tree, but an agave plant (Agavoideae). In this article, we will reveal how you can successfully grow and care for your yucca in-house.
Yucca Its Origin and Characteristics
The plant, which originally comes from the deserts of Central and North America, has found its way into our homes and is very popular due to its exotic appearance. The giant palm lily (Yucca elephantipes) is particularly common in living rooms.
In addition to indoor plants, there are also a number of yucca species that are also suitable for outdoor cultivation and can even survive cold winter condition. All species are characterized by their pointed and hard leaves, which emerge like spines from the center of the plant. Because of this, careful handling of the prickly agave plants is required.
Stem, Leaves and Flower of Yucca Plant
If the yucca is hardy, the trunk is usually short. It consists of rather fibrous wood. In the case of the trunk-forming species such as Y. rostrata, the height of the trunk can easily reach several meters, but only when there is a lot of warmth and sun.
The yucca leaves are semi-succulent, ie. they can store a little water. With the agaves they have the terminal spines on the leaf tips in common, which are, however, nowhere near as terrifying as the agave thorn.
The blossom gave the yucca plant its name ‘palm lily’. And the white or ivory color of the flower alone lives up to its name. But the yucca’s flower needs a lot of sun, which it does not get as a houseplant. So if you want to experience a yucca blossom, you have to keep the yucca outside in the bucket or plant a hardy yucca.
Some of the best hardy yucca species are:
- Yucca glauca, or small soapweed
- Yucca harrimaniae, or Spanish bayonet
- Yucca Nana, dwarf yucca
- Adam’s Needle
- Yucca Baccata also known as Datil Yucca
The Right Soil for Yuca
When it comes to growing any plant it is very essential to choose the right soil for the plant. For Yucca Plant it is a very simple composition of 40% Humus Soil, 40% Normal Garden Soil and 20% Sand Soil.
The right substrate is definitely an important factor for the yucca, as the greatest damage is caused by too much water. Yucca – whether outdoors or in pots – do not tolerate waterlogging and therefore thrive best on loose and nutrient-rich substrate.
The soil should always be permeable, which is why a drainage layer made of expanded clay at the bottom of the container is ideal for pot culture. If the substrate is too compact, mixing in sand can help.
How to Cut and Propagate the Yucca Plant by Yourself?
The simplest and at the same time most effective method of propagating the yucca is to cut off individual parts of the plant and use cuttings. If the yucca plant is about to be cut anyway, this method is particularly useful. Yuccas tolerate pruning very well, and even the trunk can be cut without any problems. That’s how it works:
- Either cut part of the upper stem directly or just shorten individual shoots on the plant. Due to the rapid growth in the right conditions, the yucca plant grows quite expansively and offers enough material for cuttings.
- Plant the cutting directly in the growing medium without any detours. Normal garden soil, which is mixed with a little sand, is ideal for this.
- The palm lily needs moist substrate for root formation, but does not tolerate waterlogging. Also make sure that the conditions are consistently warm. A place on the windowsill is quite suitable for this.
- After a few weeks, the stem or headpiece will form proper roots in the soil and the plant will sprout again. As soon as the yucca has reached a certain size that the soil in the pot is no longer sufficient, it should be repotted.
Which Location is best to keep Yucca Plant?
Yuccas love it very sunny and can therefore be placed in a location where they receive sufficient sunlight. Furthermore, it is essential to ensure that the yucca receives enough light and that there is high humidity, such as in the bathroom. In summer they can be sent outside to the “summer freshness”, provided it is warm.
The yuccas have to be brought back into the house by the end of September at the latest. There they should spend the winter at temperatures between 5 ° C and 10 ° C, please never at temperatures around freezing point, because yuccas are not frost-resistant. The winter quarters should also be bright. It should also be noted that the yucca must not dry out in winter, but should only be watered rarely.
- In addition to light, yuccas absolutely need a high level of humidity in order to feel comfortable. If this is not the case, the plant have to be sprayed regularly.
- Furthermore, yuccas have a high water requirement and therefore have to be watered often. Waterlogging is to be avoided at all costs.
- A monthly application of fertilizer from March to September is completely sufficient for the yucca plants.
- Yuccas should be repotted every 2 – 3 years, namely whenever the root ball is completely rooted. When choosing the planter, make sure that it is deep and not wide.
Caring Tips for Yucca Plant
Water the yucca plant properly
Yuccas are very sensitive to too large amounts of water, so in principle less than too much should be poured. Every now and then you should still water so that the plant does not sit permanently on dry land. When cultivating in pots, always make sure that not too much water collects on the saucer.
Fertilize the yucca plant properly
When it comes to the supply of nutrients to palm-like plants, the following applies: In the open field, the slight incorporation of compost is sufficient every year; in the case of potted cultivation, additional nutrients should be added due to the limited volume of the soil.
The first step is to change the substrate approximately every two years. As an ecological method, nettle manure is also suitable as a great fertilizer, but should always be diluted with water. Use tap water rather than rainwater, as it contains more of the lime that is important for yuccas.
Yucca Plant: Common Diseases and Pests
When handled correctly, a yucca plant does not usually pose any major problems, as these are often caused by too much watering. Nevertheless, in some cases diseases and pests can nestle which you should definitely get rid of.
These include fungal diseases such as powdery mildew or animal pests such as spider mites. While the latter feel particularly comfortable in dry air, fungal diseases and rot are favored by excessively high (air) humidity.
How to care when yucca plant has yellow leaves?
One of the most common problems is the leaves turning a yellowish tinge. The reason for this is in most cases too high humidity or an excess supply of water, to which the plant is sensitive. If you can rule this out as the cause, lack of light may be an option. The discolored leaves in the upper part of the plant are in any case a sign of incorrect care.
How to care when yucca plant leaves have brown tips?
Brown tips on the elongated leaves, like a yellowish discoloration, can indicate an excess of water. On the other hand, strong sunlight or very dry air in winter (for example next to the heater) can cause sunburn or dehydration. When using the yucca as a houseplant, pay particular attention to a bright, but not too sun-exposed place and only ensure additional moisture in the air in winter.
What to do when yucca plant is losing leaves?
All of the aforementioned care errors can ultimately lead to the plant’s leaves falling off if they are not remedied. Leaf fall can be particularly serious if additional parts of the plant become soft and rotten. This can either be due to waterlogging or a bacterial or fungal disease. In this case, remove the affected areas immediately.
But be careful : If leaves fall from the lower part of the plant from time to time, it is usually a natural process, as the trunk grows and new leaves are reproduced on the crown.
Discolored and falling leaves can indicate the following problems:
- Too much water / too high humidity
- Too little / much light
- Too dry air in winter
- Infections caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses
When is the best time to prune the yucca plant?
Yuccas sprout again after a short time when they are cut. It is therefore advisable to prune the plant in spring during the growing season so that there is enough time until winter. In addition to capping plant parts for reasons of space, thinning or cutting off diseased plant parts can also be good for the yucca plant.
How to properly prune a yucca plant?
Crooked and dense leaves can simply be removed at the base with sharp scissors to give the plant and you more light and space again. In addition to smaller cuts, the trunk can also be cut without any problems without causing any major damage to the plant. Due to the thickness, use a saw for the cut. The wound should ideally be closed with tree wax after cutting so that no infections occur and the plant does not lose moisture.
Note : When cutting yucca plant, the sharp-edged leaves can easily injure you. It is therefore always advisable to wear gloves when cutting.
Are yuccas easy to grow?
Yes yuccas are considered to be very easy to grow and care for, which makes them particularly popular as a houseplant.
Is yucca a good interior plant?
Yes yucca is a good interior plant, with very minimal effort you can grow a beautiful yucca plant in no time.
Can you grow a yucca from a root?
On each of the yucca trunks there will be a cutting that is already rooted. This does not require any special attention: it is simply put in a pot with soil and placed in a warm, bright place – preferably a window sill. When yucca is propagated with cuttings, these drift extremely quickly, so that a new yucca has emerged after a short time.
How do you care for a yucca plant outside?
As a desert plant, yuccas also bring a southern flair to the garden, which can even be preserved during winter. Several species such as the filamentous palm lily (Yucca filamentosa) or the candle palm lily (Yucca gloriosa) are hardy and can therefore be cultivated with us over the long term. These species can also impress with their large, white inflorescences outdoors. Due to its sunny origin, the following applies to both the filamentous palm lily close to the ground and the taller candle palm lily: The plant needs a full sun, sheltered and warm place if it is cultivated outside. The south side of the house wall or a wall is ideal for this purpose.
How to split yucca plants?
When propagating yucca from unrooted cuttings, it is important to note the direction of growth: that part of the trunk that was below must also be treated as the lower part, otherwise no roots will be formed.
About a third of the cuttings are placed in a pot with a mixture of sand and earth, which must be well moistened. The upper interfaces are sealed with candle or tree wax. Then the pots are covered with a foil bag and placed in a warm, bright place. During the following weeks it is important to ensure that the soil is always kept well moist.
When the first shoots appear after 3-4 weeks, the foil is removed and the small yuccas can be fertilized. If the leaf crown is quite lush, the plants are transferred to pots with ordinary soil.
How long does it take for a yucca plant to mature?
The typical yucca matures at 2-3 years, but it may take up to 5 years or more to display a flowerspike.
Yucca plant benefits.
Some species are grown for their aesthetic value. Yucca, on the other hand, is better recognised for its health advantages. Because of the many therapeutic plant chemicals and minerals that it contains, certain of its parts, especially the bark and root, have long been utilised in both conventional and alternative medicine.
The following are some of the health advantages of yucca:
- It contains anti-inflammatory properties
Yucca is high in phenols such as yuccaol and resveratrol, which have anti-inflammatory effects. These chemicals not only have anti-inflammatory effects, but they also have antioxidant characteristics.
- It aids in the relief of arthritic pain.
The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory chemicals found in yucca are thought to benefit people with osteoarthritis, often known as the wear-and-tear type of arthritis.
- It reduces cholesterol levels in the blood.
Yucca contains steroidal saponins, which are plant-based chemical substances that bind to cholesterol and aid in its elimination. Saponins also assist reduce cholesterol levels by preventing the body from absorbing cholesterol.
- It helps to prevent heart disease.
Yucca not only lowers cholesterol levels, but it also lowers oxidative stress on the cardiovascular system, assisting the body in the battle against heart disease. Free radicals produce oxidative stress, which weakens cells and speeds up heart disease, cancer, and a variety of other illnesses linked with ageing.
- It improves the immune system.
Yucca is high in antioxidants and Vitamin C, two nutrients that help to improve immunity and general health. Vitamin C encourages the production of white blood cells, which are the body’s “fighting cells.” It helps the body’s defence against viruses and germs. It helps to keep infections and illnesses at bay.
- It improves the health of the skin.
Yucca offers a number of skin advantages, including the ability to protect the skin from the sun. It is said to provide greater UV protection than several commercially available sunscreen creams. Yucca extract is one of the most used components in cosmetics and skin care products.
Indoor yucca plant varieties.
- Spineless Yucca (Elephantipes)
- Banana Yucca (Baccata)
- Beaked Yucca (Rostrata)
- Joshua Tree (Brevifolia)
- Adam’s Needle (Filamentosa)
- Spanish Bayonet (Aloifolia)
- Beargrass Yucca (Smalliana)
- Spanish Dagger (Gloriosa)
Can we propagate yucca from leaves?
Try removing the leaf at the bottom of the plant that has a strong connection to the trunk; you’ll find leaves developing in groups there, so clipping and potting it for at least 2 months will result in new roots being produced.
Can yucca tree grow huge?
Depending on the variety, smaller trees may grow to be 2 to 4 feet tall and broad, while bigger trees can grow to be 30 feet tall and spread to 25 feet wide with offsets. Smaller trees are more common than larger trees. Left unchecked, offshoots may develop into clusters that are many times the size of the original plant.