6 Ways to Maintain a Yucca

Yucca are amazingly drought-resistant perennial plants whose waxy white flowers bloom in late summer through September. They do well indoors or outdoors in suitably warm growing zones from 8 to 11. In cooler zones they can be grown as annuals, from late spring to the end of September. Here are 6 suggestions to maintain your yucca plants in the best of health.

Plant Yucca in Full Sunlight or Partial Shade

As natives of the desert, yucca plants thrive in full sunshine. If you have no such spots in your garden, plant them where they will get 3 to 4 hours a day of sun, facing either west or south. Indoors, place your yucca in an east, south or west-facing window. Keep them on the floor indoors so that they do not brush the room's ceiling.

Give Yucca Plenty of Room in the Garden

As yucca can grow as high as 8 feet (2.5 m) tall, they need proper spacing in the garden, so plant the largest varieties up to 45 inches (1.2 cm) apart. Even the smallest varieties should be planted no closer together than 18 inches (45 cm).

Water Rarely

Yucca are succulents, used to sending out long deep roots to find water, which they store in their leaves. Provide water for them indoors or outdoors every 2 to 3 weeks. Permit the soil to dry completely and crack on top before watering again.

Grow in Semi-Arid Soil in Hot to Cool Temperatures

Add sharp-edged gravel and coarse sand to both indoor containers and outdoor bedding plots for yucca to maximize soil drainage. Fertilize once a year with a low-nitrogen fertilizer to promote flower bud development and blooming. Yuccas can handle a wide range of temperature settings from 100 degrees F. to the low 30s F. (high 40s to 2 C.), so there is no need to move them indoors if you live in a frost-free region.

Re-pot Yuccas Every 3 Years

Yucca grows slowly but steadily and will become root-bound in a container in 3 years. Move carefully to a new container. Wear chain-mail reinforced leather gloves up to the elbows when handling yuccas, as their knife-sharp leaves can slice through skin and bone.

Place Yuccas Close to the Soil Surface When Planting or Replanting

Plant yucca seeds or replant yucca with mature root balls close to the soil surface in your container or in the garden. They need good airflow and the ability to extend roots deeply to thrive. For indoor yuccas, such as spineless yucca, grow them in a clay container that will permit greater air circulation and help the soil drain and dry out quickly.

Indoors, yucca are beneficial to your home's air quality, as they remove little of the humidity from the air. They use the nitrogen and carbon dioxide effectively, returning oxygen to the air in exchange. Their flowers contain only small quantities of pollen, so they rarely trigger allergies. Use a yucca outdoors as a focal point in your garden, and plant low drought-resistant flowers around it as companions.