Yucca plants are gaining popularity as one of the top choices both for indoor and outdoor gardens. Originating from hot and arid environments from Southern to North America and the Caribbean, these evergreen plants are adapted to many different environments making them easy to take care of.
Are you interested to know more about growing and caring for your own Yucca plants? This article will give you a good perspective on their ecology, maintenance, caring tips, and the best types of Yucca plants to keep in your home.
- Yucca species Perfect for your home
- 1. Spineless Yucca Plant
- 2. Red Yucca Plant
- 3. Yellow Yucca Plant
- 4. Adam’s Needle
- 5. Joshua Tree
- 6. Blue Joshua Tree
- 7. Dwarf Joshua Tree
- 8. Soapweed Yucca Plant
- 9. Spanish Dagger
- 10. Beaked Yucca Plant
- 11. Bear Grass Yucca
- 12. Banana Yucca Plant
- 13. Mojave Yucca Plant
- 14. Spanish Bayonet
- 15. Color Guard
- 16. Soaptree Yucca
- 17. Thompson’s Yucca Plant
- Yucca Plant Guide: How to Care for Them
- Yucca Plant Benefits
- Yucca Plants and your Pets
- FAQ – Yucca Plants
- Choosing the right Yucca Plant for you
Yucca species Perfect for your home
These beautiful plants can be kept anywhere from your kitchen to your backyard. These ideas will help you decide which Yucca plant is perfect for you! There are over 40 species of Yucca ranging from small shrubs to tall tree-like plants. We’ve researched, purchased and grown the easiest and best Yucca plants to keep in your home, which we have ranked in this list.
1. Spineless Yucca PlantSee on Amazon
Spineless Yucca, Yucca elephantipes can grow up to 30 feet, hence its nickname the “Giant Yuca” but it is more commonly grown as a small potted plant. These are the most common variety of yucca used as indoor plants.
Its spineless leaves also make it a safe plant to grow indoors. These are also great plants to grow outdoors. During summer, spineless yucca blooms white flowers that will grow into fruits.
2. Red Yucca PlantSee on Amazon
Native to Central America, Red Yucca plants are great additions to outdoor gardens, as there colors and texture create a striking contrast.
Named after its pinkish cluster flowers atop of tall slender spikes this kind of yucca plant grows like a grass and is highly tolerant of drought. These evergreen plants bloom all year round and are perfect for areas with lots of sun.
3. Yellow Yucca PlantSee on Amazon
A cousin of the Red Yucca is the Yellow Yucca, Hesperaloe parviflora native to South-western America which is often planted next to the Red Yucca, creating bi-colored gardens.
Like the Red Yucca, its beauty lies on its cluster of trumpet-like yellow flowers that can grow up to 5ft long. These are known to attract hummingbirds, thus, the yellow and red yucca are also known as, “Hummingbird Yucca”. This species blooms until fall.
4. Adam’s NeedleSee on Amazon
Native to Southeastern USA, Adam’s Needle, Yucca filamentosa has been used more than just for landscaping. With its fibrous leaves, Native Americans used the fibers for clothing while its roots were used as shampoos.
Its name was derived from its sharp-tipped leaves, which grow up to 4 feet tall. A trunkless variety of Yucca, Adam’s Needle is grown as a specimen plant or for fire-proof gardens. It is also known for its lantern like-white flowers that grow in the spring.
5. Joshua TreeSee on Amazon
AKA Yucca brevifolia is the largest variety of Yucca plants. The Joshua tree was named by Mormon pioneers due to its sturdy tree-like appearance which reminded them of the story from the Old Testament of the prophet Joshua, waving in prayer.
Growing up to 40 feet and living up to 150 years (though it can mature in 50-60 years), the Joshua Tree is considered by horticulturists as an exotic variety of yucca. In the wild The Joshua tree only grows in the Mojave Desert at the elevation of at least 2,000 ft, however, you can grow them at home, by using dry sand-like soil and keeping it in a hot climate.
6. Blue Joshua TreeSee on Amazon
Yucca brevifolia variety is nicknamed the Blue Joshua Tree due to its resemblance in structure to the Joshua Tree. One of the most sought-after outdoor Yucca plants, the blue Joshua tree brings instant beauty to any garden with its sharp bluish-purple leaves.
7. Dwarf Joshua TreeSee on Amazon
A more common yucca variety is the dwarf Joshua Tree, Yucca brevifolia. This looks identical to the Joshua tree but its a shorter version – growing to a maximum of only 12 feet compared to the 40-foot Joshua tree.
Its branches are also more compact unlike the spread-like branches of the Joshua tree. When this species blooms in spring, it produces beautiful ivory bell-shaped flowers.
8. Soapweed Yucca PlantSee on Amazon
Also known as the Yucca Glauca, this type of Yucca planet grows in central North America throughout desert grasslands. Its sharp tall leaves grow up to 4ft tall and the roots of these plants are sometimes used to make soaps.
As an evergreen shrub, this is a great all-season landscape plant with its beautiful rosette-forming blue-green leaves. When in bloom during the months June till August, it has green and white fragrant flowers.
9. Spanish DaggerSee on Amazon
Another southeastern US native, the Yucca aloifolia or the Spanish Dagger is a favorite outdoor ornamental plant. Its sword-like foliage gave way to its popular name.
With its unique growth pattern and flowers, this variety of Yucca plant is used in landscaping as an accent or as a background. This species blooms from June till July and can grow up to 12ft.
10. Beaked Yucca PlantSee on Amazon
Also known as the Big Bend Yucca, Yucca rostrata the Beaked Yucca is characterized as a single trunk yucca with its iconic pom-pom shaped sharp pale bluish leaves. This cactus-like plant has soft thin gray fibers draping from its old leaves giving an illusion of a silvery haze.
When in bloom, the Beaked Yucca has yellow-orange flowers. This is considered by many gardeners as one of the most handsome yucca plants and is widely used in Mediterranean and gravel gardens.
11. Bear Grass YuccaSee on Amazon
Similar to Adam’s Needle, Bear Grass aka Yucca filamentosa, is one of the few varieties of Yucca plant that has adapted to extreme cold and even frost. That is why, Bear Grass Yucca also grows in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada.
Though Bear Grass and Adam’s Needle may look almost the same, Bear Grass has softer leaves – its name came from the fact that young bears eat their stems. Beargrass Yucca also grows head-shaped white flowers when in bloom.
12. Banana Yucca PlantSee on Amazon
Certain Yucca plants have edible stems, flowers, and fruits. Banana Yucca, Yucca baccata is a species that grows edible fruits. Its banana-shaped fruits (thus the name) are soft and succulent, eaten by Navajo and Apache Indians. Like most Yucca plants, its leaves are sharp and they grow flowers in spring.
13. Mojave Yucca PlantSee on Amazon
One of the bigger variety of Yucca plants is the Mojave Yucca, Yucca schidigera. As it belongs to the same genus as the Joshua tree, Mojave Yucca has a tree-like structure and a distinct cane trunk.
Commonly found in the Mojave Desert, it grows up to 16 feet and with its sharp-edged leaves, can be planted in a big pot as an accent to a large open space. Well known for its traditional medicinal uses, the roots of this plant are edible and highly beneficial for human health.
14. Spanish BayonetSee on Amazon
Yucca aloifolia is a species that can grow up to 15 feet, having dramatic sharp leaves and flowering spikes, the Spanish Bayonet is easy to distinguish.
One of the more common Yucca plants used in bigger gardens, the Spanish Bayonet is also the best choice for gardens near the coast, as this variety is resistant to the salty environment.
15. Color GuardSee on Amazon
One of the varieties of an Adam’s Needle, the Color Guard Yucca plant is great for both indoor and outdoor use. Like most shrubby-type of Yucca, it is great as a houseplant, then when it matures and grows bigger, it can be moved into your garden. Its stunning foliage is green with a striking yellow stripe down the center, with bright pink margins.
16. Soaptree YuccaSee on Amazon
Also known as Yucca elata, is one of the tallest kind of yuccas growing up to 4.5m tall. This plant originates from the Chihuahuan Desert but is now a common sight in people’s gardens.
Its palm-like leaves, white flowers, and height make the Yucca Elata a favorite ornamental plant in outdoor gardens. Its trunk and roots were once used by Native Americans to make soaps.
17. Thompson’s Yucca PlantSee on Amazon
With its single or dual trunk and pom-pom shaped foliage, Yucca thompsoniana is often mistaken for the Beaked Yucca. However, Thompson’s Yucca is smaller than the Beaked Yucca and can only reach at most 6 feet tall.
It’s quite a beauty with its perfect shape and cute look that will instantly accentuate any space both indoors and out.
Yucca Plant Guide: How to Care for Them
One of the reasons people are drawn to buy and take care of Yucca plants is their reputation for being low-maintenance. This is due to their high tolerance to extreme conditions, such as drought, hot and arid environments, and even cold weather – the perfect plant for people with busy lives.
(Sun)Light for the Yucca Plants
When taking care of Yucca plants indoors, make sure they receive enough sunlight. Although tolerant of different environments, they need sufficient sunlight to grow.
Yucca Plants Watering
How often should you water your Yucca plant? Since they are native to dry soil and drought-resistant, you don’t have to water them every day. This is the key element making Yuccas easy to take care of and so popular. Before watering your Yucca plant again, allow half of the soil to be dry otherwise you’ll overwater it.
Overwatering is one of the main reasons a Yucca plant dies. If you notice brown ends on the leaves and they are drooping as well as the foul smell from its roots, then you are overwatering your yucca plant.
Soil and Pots
Soil condition is very important when growing a Yucca plant. If you didn’t buy your Yucca plant already in a pot, then the right soil for this plant should have a 3:1 sand and peat ratio. Make sure water drains easily where you potted the Yucca since they don’t thrive in moist and watery soil.
Yucca Plants Maintenance
Keep your Yucca plants clean and healthy by dusting them over once a week. It’s similar to maintenance for outdoor plants, just keep them healthy-looking by removing old and dry leaves.
As slow-growing plants, they don’t frequent fertilizer. A well-balanced nitrogen fertilizer to boost your Yucca plant’s health and growth is ideal to give it once or twice a year.
Yucca Plant Benefits
Yucca plants are great houseplants and beautiful landscape features, however, they are also very beneficial to have for other reasons. Here are some modern benefits of having a yucca plant:
- Yucca plant are great air purifying plants
- Placing Yucca plants with sharp leaves below windows for security purposes.
- Processing Yucca roots for their medicinal properties like sugar control, stress reliever, and joint pain remedies.
- Red and Yellow Yucca attract hummingbirds, giving more life to your garden.
That’s not all because the benefits of Yucca plants are not the only reason they became popular, also because it has been used for many different products. These plants have served various cultures for centuries, used by Native Americans as food (fruits), soaps, and for weaving baskets from their flowers, roots, and leaves.
Yucca Plants and your Pets
While Yucca plants have increasingly gained popularity as an indoor plant, there is one major concern about having them around: are Yucca plants safe for your pets?
The quick answer is; it could be harmful, and let me explain. Cats and dogs might chew on the leaves and afterward, may experience constipation or vomiting. This is because the Yucca plant contains steroidal saponins that are toxic to cats and dogs.
Most yucca plant varieties have sharp leaves and hard trunk, making them impossible for your pets to nibble. However, there are one species that may be an issue – the Spineless Yucca. This shrub is one of the most common houseplants to have and due to its softer leaves, your pets might be drawn to graze on them.
If you see further signs of pet poisoning like dizziness, lack of appetite, weakness and dilated pupils then call your veterinarian or pet poisoning hotline right away.
FAQ – Yucca Plants
Whether or not you have had a yucca plant before, you may have some questions for us. Luckily, you aren’t the only one. We hope this list of commonly asked yucca plants questions can help you with anything you might be wondering.
Yucca plants will do well as long as they have plenty of water. They are known for being easy to grow and being very hardy to many different kinds of conditions. They love the sun, but they can handle a little shade, as well.
Yes, of course! Yucca plants are native to growing in the outdoors, so they do well in this environment. As long as you make sure they are getting enough water and sunlight, you will be able to reap the benefits.
You might be surprised to learn that a yucca plant has quite a long lifespan. In fact, they can live anywhere from five to seven years. This depends, of course, on how well you care for them.
Choosing the right Yucca Plant for you
With their beauty and low-maintenance, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Yucca plants have gained popularity. Whether you pick a shrub or tree-like variety, Yucca plants are great additions either for in your home or for your garden. There are plenty of species of Yucca to choose from and it is wise to pick the right one that suits your taste and purpose.
Do you want indoor plants only? Then you can pick the spineless kind, while those with bigger outdoor space who want to give their gardens a new look can consider having Spanish Bayonets. Needless to say, Yucca plants are versatile in terms of adding personality from a minimalist apartment to a magnificent garden.
From a simple penchant for yellow flowers as a child to becoming a full-time gardener, nature advocate, and garden designer, I am extremely happy to finally have a platform for me to successfully spread knowledge and expertise in the garden. After graduation, I took many courses related to garden design to feed myself with more knowledge and expertise other than what I learned from my mom growing up while also joining as many garden design competitions locally. For any garden design inquiries, I’m your designer!