Yucca

Yucca

Yucca is a showy perennial plant belonging to the Asparagus family. This genus includes over 40 species that grow in the subtropics of the North American continent.

At home, yucca is used in many different industries. Sweet juice is obtained from cut flowers and their petals are used for cooking. From a special type, filamentous yucca, they produce strong and strong fibers, they are found in ropes and ropes. They are also used in the paper industry, as well as in the clothing industry. It was the yucca that was used to create denim before the usual item of clothing became cotton. In the States, yucca threads are still added to jeans. This makes things made of it more durable.

The leaves of the plant contain substances that can be used for medicinal purposes. The roots of some types of yucca were used by the Indians in the form of a decoction as a shampoo.

Yucca only looks like a palm tree but has nothing to do with it. Those who have just started floriculture may even mistake yucca for dracaena or cordilina. The obvious differences between them are visible only after close acquaintance.

Description of yucca

Description of yucca

Yucca is a rheum-like evergreen with a low stem resembling a trunk. Sometimes branches may be present on it. In some varieties, the stem is so small that it is almost invisible. Large leaves arranged spirally depart from it. Erect white panicle inflorescences, appearing from the center of leaf rosettes, can reach gigantic sizes – up to 2 m in length. They are composed of flowers that resemble bells. The length of each of them reaches 7 cm. Later, in their place, fruits are formed, filled with black seeds up to 1 cm in size.

The smallest and most compact varieties of yucca are suitable for indoor cultivation. The leaves of domestic plants rarely exceed half a meter in length. Nevertheless, the size of the aboveground part remains impressive, therefore, as a houseplant, yucca is more often found in large, spacious houses, halls or offices. Due to the shape of the leaves and stems that become bare over time, this plant is often mistaken for a palm tree. The most popular are the branching varieties with several points of growth.

Flowering can only be observed in adult specimens that have reached at least 4 years of age. In the natural environment, the plant sets buds annually, but this can be achieved with garden cultivation only by bringing the conditions of keeping yucca as close to natural conditions as possible. For this, it is especially important to maintain the required temperature and ensure long daylight hours. If yucca is grown at home, you will not be able to admire its flowers.

Brief rules for growing yucca

The table shows brief rules for caring for yucca at home.

Lighting level The plant prefers bright, but certainly diffused light.
Content temperature In spring and summer, it is better to keep yucca in a room where it keeps +20 +25 degrees. In autumn and winter, she prefers coolness – up to +12 degrees.
Watering mode Watering should be done when the soil in the pot dries out about 5 cm deep.
Air humidity Each type of yucca has its own requirements for air humidity. Some varieties require an increased level – they should be regularly sprayed or bathed under a warm shower. Others are able to thrive well in normal room humidity.
The soil A neutral substrate is suitable for yucca. You can purchase specialized soil and add sand to it (up to a third of the volume of the pot).
Topdressing From spring to autumn, the plant is fertilized every 2-3 weeks using complex formulations. The dosage should be half of the indicated rate. The foliar method is preferred: the fertilizer solution is applied to the inside of the leaves.
Transfer It is carried out as the roots of the plant grow. When the flower becomes cramped, it is moved to a large container. The best period for this is spring. Too large specimens stop replanting, limiting themselves to replacing the top layer of the soil.
Pruning By pruning, a branching plant can be formed. Pruning helps create a more compact and spreading crown.
Bloom In the pot culture, yucca is grown for its large ornamental leaves.
Dormant period The resting period of the plant is almost not pronounced.
Reproduction Yucca can be propagated by seeds, cuttings, stem segments.
Pests Whiteflies, scale insects, spider mites and mealybugs.
Diseases Loss of decorative leaves due to care errors.

Yucca care at home

Yucca care at home

Yucca firmly holds the leading position among indoor flowers. There is nothing surprising in this – this beautiful palm-like plant is very unpretentious in care, which allows beginner growers to successfully do what they love, and those who already have it, do not waste a lot of time on it. Yucca is hardy and calmly tolerates lack of care, it would be watering. She also does not need frequent transplants.

But even this unpretentious plant requires some attention, especially if you want to brag about it in front of other lovers. You first need to figure out how to care for the yucca at home before purchasing it in the store.

Lighting

Yucca is very light-requiring, so it is worth providing bright lighting for it. But it should still be protected from direct rays. Best of all for yucca are not southern, but well-lit western or eastern windows. If the plant is located in a shady room where it lacks sunlight, it should be supplemented with fluorescent lamps. They should work about 16 hours a day. The optimal distance of the devices from the plant is 30-60 cm.

In the summer, the home flower can be carried outside. A bright corner, protected from strong winds and precipitation, is suitable for the plant. If the yucca spends the summer in an apartment, it is recommended to ventilate the room with her as often as possible.

Content temperature

In spring and summer, the room where the plant is located should not be hotter than +25. If the yucca has stood for a long time in the heat or direct bright sun, it should be transferred to the shade. When the bush has cooled down a little, its leaves are wiped or sprayed with a spray bottle.

In autumn and winter, the flower pot is kept in a cool place (about +12). In this case, the room should be light. Lack of lighting during this period can result in the stretching of the stems, and the foliage will lose its elegant appearance, fade and may begin to wither. The weakening of the plant’s immunity often leads to problems – diseases and pest attacks.

If it is not possible to provide the yucca with a cold wintering, until late autumn the plant is kept on the street, taking it into the house only before the onset of cold weather. In the spring, he is returned at the earliest opportunity. A seasoned and healthy plant, protected from rain and wind, will be able to withstand light frosts. If desired, it can even be transplanted into the open ground for the summer.

Watering mode

Yucca watering mode

The watering regime of the yucca depends on several factors. It is influenced by the size of the plant, the volume and material of the container in which it is located, as well as the quality of the substrate and environmental conditions. In summer and spring, when the bush grows, it needs to be watered very abundantly. During the time between watering, the soil should dry out at least 5 cm deep. In hot weather, the flower can be watered a little more often, but you should still wait for the soil to dry out. In contrast, cooler weather suggests less watering. Stagnation of water at the roots can cause putrefaction, which is why in winter the soil in a pot is moistened less often.

In case of doubt, whether it is worth watering a flower, you should postpone the watering procedure for a day or even two. In this case, the flower will probably not be waterlogged, and it will tolerate a short drought much better than overflow.

During the watering procedure, it is better to direct the stream of water to the edges of the pot, trying not to hit the leaf rosettes or the trunks growing nearby. This will reduce the risk of developing the disease. You can combine watering with top dressing.

Air humidity

Certain types of yucca require regular spraying or wiping with a damp but not wet cloth. To do this, take settled water at room temperature. It is important to moisturize the leaves of the plant when they are not in the sun, otherwise, the procedure may result in burns. It is best to do this in the evenings so that the leaves have time to dry completely overnight. Damp gravel or pebbles can be spread on the pallet to increase air humidity.

Periodically, the leaves of any yucca can be wiped from accumulating dust and dirt. To do this, a small bush can be bathed under a warm shower, after covering the soil with a waterproof film.

The soil

The soil for growing yucca must be nutritious and loose enough so that moisture and air are available to the root system. Ready-made earthen mixtures are sold in stores, but it is preferable to make it yourself. Take two parts turf, sand and leafy soil and one part humus and mix thoroughly. And don’t forget that the plant needs drainage.

Topdressing

No way

During the growth period, yucca needs constant fertilizing with mineral compounds. Usually they are carried out with a break of 2-3 weeks. To achieve the best effect, it is recommended to feed the yucca by the foliar method.

Periodically, you can use organic fertilizers for a flower: mullein, horse manure or humus in the form of infusions. It is not recommended to feed a sick or freshly transplanted plant for a period. In this case, the supplements will not bring benefits and may even harm.

Transplant features

Yucca needs transplants when it ceases to fit in a pot. In this case, the roots grow so much that there is practically no room for land there.

Spring is most suitable for transplanting a plant, but it is permissible to do this in summer as well. At the bottom of the future container, a layer of drainage is laid out: expanded clay, brick chips or pebbles. The substrate should be neutral and may include peat. You can purchase ready-made soil mixes for yucca, but sand must be added to any soil before planting. It should be up to a third of the main volume.

Transplanting the yucca should be done carefully, trying to transfer the plant into a new pot, without disturbing the earthen lump. If traces of rot are visible on the roots, they should be trimmed and processed. At the same time, signs of rotting of the root system themselves can serve as a reason for transplanting a plant. When the lump is moved to a new place, the remaining voids at the edges are covered with prepared soil mixture.

Sometimes the absence of transplants helps to limit the growth of the specimen so that it continues to fit freely in the apartment. For this, the root cutting method is practiced. During transplantation, they are shortened by a quarter using a sharp instrument. The sections must be treated with coal powder, and then the plant must be transplanted into fresh soil, not forgetting to add it from above. Yuccas that are too large for transplanting are no longer touched, but the top layer of soil in the pot is changed annually.

A couple of days after transplanting the plant is not recommended to be watered. You should return to the usual mode gradually so that the flower has time to recover after moving.

In addition to the classic method, yucca can also be grown hydroponically.

Pruning rules

Yucca pruning rules

Usually, yucca has only one stem, but by pruning it can form a branching plant. In addition to visual appeal, this helps to create a more compact and spreading crown for the plant, and it will be easier for the stems to cope with the weight of the foliage. Otherwise, tall species can rest against the ceiling, and the stem will continue to bare over time.

For the first procedure, you will need a healthy young bush 30-50 cm high. Spring is best suited for formation. The optimal period is when the plant has already begun to wake up after winter dormancy but has not yet entered the full phase of development and growth. In autumn and winter, when yucca begins to recuperate after active development, you cannot disturb it with scraps. It is also not recommended to carry out the procedure in the summer.

With the help of a sharp tool, the very top of the bush (5-10 cm) is cut off, while the foliage, if possible, is tried not to touch, it is not suitable for grafting. Sections are sprinkled with crushed coal or treated with liquid paraffin.

Pruning growing side shoots can be done regularly.

  • To get a beautiful crown, yucca branches can be pruned so that the tops of new stems remain at the same height or positioned as intended.
  • The height of the remaining trunk should not be less than half a meter. The smaller stems are not yet strong and stable enough to support the growing side shoots.
  • For the same reason, the thickness of the main trunk cannot be less than 5-6 cm. This can accommodate 2-3 shoots.
  • Two days before pruning, the plant is watered abundantly: it will need a lot of moisture to restore it.
  • Shoots should be cut off in one go with a sharp knife or pruning shears in order to less injure the bush. It is not recommended to break off branches.
  • If you need to prune multiple main branches, don’t do it all at once. It is better to cut off one trunk per year, otherwise, the plant will take too long to recover.
  • After pruning, the plant should be kept in a warm, but a slightly shaded place. New buds will begin to form in about a month. If there are too many of them for the thickness of the stem, do not remove the excess until they begin to turn into branches. The plant can independently determine which buds to grow.

Yucca breeding methods

Yucca breeding methods

Growing from seeds

Once harvested, yucca seeds are sown in a substrate of equal proportions of turf, leafy soil and sand. The container with the crops is placed under a film. After that, it is required to periodically ventilate it, remove the accumulating condensate and make sure that the earth in the container does not dry out. Usually, you have to wait for seedlings for about a month. When the sprouts get stronger, they are dived into individual pots up to 6 cm in diameter. As they develop, they begin to be treated in the same way as a mature plant. A year after sowing, the seedlings are transferred into larger pots. The optimal difference in the size of the container is up to 3 cm.

Reproduction by a segment of the trunk

A growing yucca is easiest to propagate using stem segments. In the summer, pieces are cut from it with a length of at least 20 cm. On the mother bush, all the places of the cuts must be treated with garden pitch.

In order for the segments to take root, they are placed in moist sandy-peat soil. When planting, you should not turn them over, so you need to immediately mark where the bottom of the segment is. The container with the seedlings is covered with a foil: this helps to form the moisture necessary for their growth. The optimum temperature for keeping plantings is up to +24. A box with them can be kept outdoors or at home, but always in the shade. The soil is not allowed to dry out, it should always remain slightly damp, but you cannot fill the seedlings either – until leaves appear on the trunk, it is more difficult for the plant to evaporate excess water.

Typically, these sections take root within a month or two. Fresh leafy rosettes will begin to grow from the dormant buds on the stem. As soon as they are formed, the seedlings are transferred to a lighted place and begin to care for them, like an adult plant.

Cuttings

Another easy way to propagate is by using apical cuttings. The top of the plant is cut off with a sharp instrument, and the cuts are sprinkled with crushed coal. The resulting stalk is dried for several hours to allow the cut to tighten. Then it is placed in a jar of boiled water or planted in a container with wet sand. If the cutting is in water, you will need to add charcoal there, which will protect it from the development of rot. If the lower leaves still begin to rot, they are removed, and the water is completely replaced. When the roots grow from the cutting, it is planted in a pot with suitable soil for the plant.

Possible growing difficulties

  • Yellowing of leaves – may be due to natural processes. Young shoots appear only in the upper part of the plant, therefore, the exposure of the yucca trunk is associated precisely with the death of the leaves below. It is not recommended to prune dead leaves, it is better to wait until the plant drops them on its own.
  • Falling foliage –  may be associated with changes in the conditions of the flower. So the leaves can be shed by a specimen recently brought from the store or transplanted. Bulky shedding of foliage can also be due to a cold draft or too low a temperature.
  • Rolling leaves is another sign of coldness. In this case, the edge of the sheet becomes brown. Some varieties begin to curl the leaves even because of the night coolness coming from the window.
  • Lowering leaves is a sign of waterlogging.
  • Drying of the tips of the foliage is a consequence of the excessive dryness of the air. The leaves begin to dry out along the edge. Sometimes the plant behaves this way due to drafts or dry soil coma.
  • Brownish specks on leaves – usually caused by drying out of the soil.
  • Pale spots on foliage – formed due to too bright direct sun. They will feel dry to the touch.
  • Insect pests – the plant can be attacked by whiteflies, spider mites, as well as mealybugs and scale insects. They are disposed of by appropriate means.

Popular types of yucca with photos

Yucca aloifolia

No aloe vera

This popular species is found in areas of Central America and in some countries of the Caribbean. It does not differ in a fast pace of development, but over the years it can grow to an 8-meter height. The trunk of adult specimens begins to branch over time. On the tops of the branches, there are rosettes with hard fibrous foliage. In length, each leaf can reach half a meter, it has a dark green tint, a noticeable thorn and denticles. Withering foliage remains on the trunk, dropping down. This helps the plant to conserve moisture and protect itself from the scorching sun. The species has variegated forms.

An adult yucca bloom in summer, a large (up to 50 cm) panicle inflorescence is formed on it, consisting of small cream-colored flowers resembling bells.

Yucca whipplei

Yukka Vippla

This species is bush-shaped and is most commonly found in the state of California, but also occurs in Arizona and Mexico. It has a short stem, and its tough leaves form rosettes up to a meter in diameter. The oblong leaves have a gray-green tint. Each sheet is about a meter long. A thorn is located at their tops, the edge has teeth. The inflorescence outwardly resembles the flowers of aloe-leaf yucca but is much larger in size. A flower broom of this species can reach a height of 2 meters. At the same time, the size of individual flowers reaches 3.5 cm. They exude a pleasant smell. At the end of flowering, the rosette dries up, but the plant has many fresh shoots.

Yucca beak (Yucca rostrata)

Yucca cranberry

Thick-stemmed tree up to 3 m high. Has a branched crown. Long, leathery foliage can be flat or slightly convex and striped in color. There is a thorn at the top of the leaves, and small teeth at the edges. Peduncles are long panicles consisting of white flowers. The plant is extremely unpretentious and can tolerate both heat and cold.

Short-leaved Yucca (Yucca brevifolia)

Short-leaved yucca

This species is also called tree-like. The plant lives in the driest regions of the American Southwest. It reaches a height of 9 m, and the girth of its trunk is up to half a meter. Above, many branches leave from it. The foliage of the short-leaved yucca lives up to its name – in comparison with other species, it is much smaller, up to 30 cm in length and up to 1.5 cm in width. The leaves are hard, their edge is covered with small teeth, and at the top, like in other species, there is a thorn. Closer to the top, the leaf is colored brown. The flower stalks are also more compact. They have flowers of a light yellow hue.

Yucca radiosa

Yucca radiant

Also referred to as high. It can reach 7 meters in height. The plant is distinguished by very densely spaced narrow leaves, up to 60 cm long. At the same time, each leaf is no more than 1 cm wide. Each leaf has small grooves. The leaf has a pointed top, and narrows as it approaches the base. Another notable feature of this species is thin light threads extending from the leaves, giving the bush an original look. Inflorescences of radiant yucca are large – up to 2 m – and also have the shape of a panicle with white or pinkish flowers.

Yucca filamentosa

No niche

North American variety. Yucca filamentosa is characterized by the absence of a stem and very long roots that can reach great depths. This also helps the yucca to protect itself from severe frosts: it is able to withstand short cold snaps down to -20.

The leaves of such a yucca have a slightly bluish color, and along the edges there is a strong pubescence of fine curly hairs. In length, each leaf reaches 70 cm, and in width – 4 cm. Due to the abundance of root processes, such plants can grow strongly. A large two-meter inflorescence includes pale yellow flowers up to 8 cm in size. At the same time, filamentous yucca sets full-fledged seeds only with the help of artificial pollination: in nature it is pollinated by rare butterflies.

Leafy Yucca (Yucca recurvifolia)

Yucca folded

The trunk of this species does not exceed half a meter in height, but sometimes it can strongly branch. It is distinguished by drooping leaves of a meter length and silvery-green color. The foliage is hard and leathery to the touch. Like other species, it has a thorn on top, and teeth along the edges.

Yucca glauca

A two-meter bush with a small stem. Yucca glauca is a native of the western United States. Dense rosettes consist of greenish-blue fibrous foliage. At the edges they have a white border or gray fibers extending from the edge. The length of each sheet is up to 60 cm, and the width of the rosette can be up to 1 meter. The inflorescence also has a meter size. On it there are numerous bell flowers of light greenish or cream shades. The seed pods of this species are considered edible.

Yucca gloriosa

Yukka nice

She is a “Roman candle”. It grows in the southeast of America. It can resemble both a bush with a spherical crown and a low tree. The tree-like stem may branch slightly. The leaves have a bluish tint and reach 60 cm in length. Rare teeth are located along the edge, a sharp thorn grows at the top. There is also a variegated form. But it’s worth knowing that the juice of the glorious yucca leaves can be irritating.

The glorious yucca is one of the record holders in inflorescence size. In this species, its length can reach 2.5 m. Flowers up to 5 cm are painted in an unusual creamy purple color. In addition to external features, the species is notable for its persistence, it is not afraid of periods of cold weather or drought.

Yucca elephantipes

Yucca elephant

The species is named so because of the resemblance of the trunk to the leg of this animal. Usually it is an upright bush or tree up to 10 m tall. A lot of twigs leave the tree-like stem. On their tops are rosettes of hard, thornless leaves. The size of each can be from 0.5 to 1 meter. The length of the inflorescence of this species does not exceed 1 m. It consists of 5 cm flowers each.

Yucca treculeana

No Track

A Mexican variety also found in the southern states. It has a tree-like trunk with few branches. Despite the slow growth rates, the size of the plant can reach 5 m. The bluish-green leaves are collected in dense rosettes. They can be either straight or slightly curved. Each leaf is more than 1 m long and up to 7 cm wide. Adult specimens form inflorescences up to 1 m long from white flowers with a purple hue.

Yucca schottii

Yukka Schott

This yucca is also called large-fruited. She prefers to grow on sand. In nature, it lives in the southern regions of Arizona. Its trunk is up to 4 m high and can branch slightly. The leaves are hard and straight, can be up to 0.5 m long, about 4 cm wide and have a light color. There are thin threads along the edge of the sheet. The branches, like the peduncle, have a slightly bent shape.

Southern Yucca (Yucca australis)

Yucca south

Also called filament. Yucca australis is a tree up to 10 m high, which can branch at the top. The closely spaced leaves have a deep green color. Their length is up to 30 cm, width – up to 3 cm. Along the edge of the foliage is covered with threads. The inflorescence of this species is unusual – it branches and does not rise above the plant, but hangs from it. Its dimensions reach 2 meters, and the flowers have a delicate cream color.

Comments

  1. M

    Melissa on December 2021

    Good afternoon,
    Such a misfortune, they raised Yucca from a cutting, in two years it grew more than a meter, it was all with green leaves to the very bottom, a month ago, for some reason, the lower leaves began to turn yellow, they were cut off, but they began to turn yellow further,
    tell me why? and what can be done ??

    Thanks in advance for your reply

    1. L

      Lora on December 2021

      The leaves from below gradually die off, sometimes gradually from their old age
      . Do not overdo it with watering. can check the roots by taking out a lump from the pot – have they rotted?

  2. D

    Debbie on March 2021

    The leaves of the yucca are curled up

    1. D

      Diana on March 2021

      Chances are, the most common problem you have when growing yucca is too much or too little moisture. You need to ensure the plant is properly watered.

    M

    Madison on February 2021

    A very beautiful and majestic plant. True, it takes up a lot of space. It multiplies easily. They cut off small shoots from her (or whatever she has), all gave roots and now these are magnificent specimens. Calmly endures all the hardships of apartment maintenance. I have it on the south window.

  3. E

    Eva on January 2021

    I dreamed about yucca for several years, and then I took it and bought it, and my yucca has been growing for 9 years. I’m waiting for flowering, but I read that only adult plants are blooming, is I already an adult? But it seems to me that the yucca does not bloom in the room.

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