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What is a Yucca Garden?

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  • Written By: N. Phipps
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Known by many names, including soapweed, Adam’s needle, and Spanish bayonet, yucca plants are common fixtures in the garden, both indoors and out. In fact, these dramatic evergreen shrubs can make a big impact and are easy to grow. A yucca garden can consist of one plant used as a focal point or many that are used as screening. They even combine well with drought-tolerant groundcovers.

Yuccas originate from Central America but are also native to the southwestern United States. These plants have woody stems and spiky, sword-shaped leaves with white flowers that bloom from midsummer to fall. It’s important to note that growing a yucca garden may not be suitable for those with young children or pets and shouldn’t be grown near walkways. Yucca leaves can be extremely sharp and should be handled with care, as well as gloves.

There are numerous varieties of yucca that include both solid green species as well as variegated yucca. The most common species seen in the yucca garden is Y. filamentosa, or Adam’s needle. This variety has yellowish sword-like leaves and long, curly threads along its leaf margins. Y. glauca, or Soapweed, is another popular species, though somewhat shorter and performs best in cooler climates. Other varieties include Y. flaccida, Y. elata, Y. rigida, Y. filifers, and Y. guatamaensis, which is most commonly grown indoors.

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Growing yucca is easy, as it tolerates and thrives in many conditions. A yucca garden can be grown indoors or outdoors, in pots or in the ground. Though the plants generally perform best under sunny conditions, low light or shade is tolerable. These plants can also grow in well-draining soil of nearly any type. Yucca plants can even tolerate fluctuations in temperature with little or no ill effects.

One of the greatest advantages to growing a yucca garden is its ability to withstand dry conditions, sometimes going months without water. In fact, too wet of an environment can lead to root rot, making well-draining soil vital. Yuccas have extensive root systems and can grow rather wide. Therefore, these plants require plenty of room to grow, spacing them anywhere from 2 feet (60 cm) to 4 feet (120 cm), depending on the species.

Overall, the yucca garden will take care of itself. However, routine pruning may be necessary, especially if the plants become too tall. If this is the case, the tops may simply be cut off and eventually be replaced by new heads. In addition, side shoots can be pruned. Spent flower stalks and dead or browning leaves may require removal as well. While most pruning takes place in spring, yuccas can usually be pruned at any time.

Propagating plants for the yucca garden is also easy. Generally, this is accomplished by removing the rosettes or shoots and placing them in a pot with well-draining potting mix. This should then be set in a shady location and kept moist, but not wet, until rooting occurs. Although much more time consuming, yucca plants can also be propagated by seeds.

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