While you might be under the impression you need to live in a tropical climate to grow a yucca plant, they actually make for excellent indoor companions. A genus of more than 40 perennial plants, shrubs, and trees, these evergreen plants are native to Mexico, the Southwest and the Caribbean and look similar to agave or dragon plants.
Yucca’s sword-like leaves add texture to any space. Thanks to its tree-like stature, the yucca plant can grow several feet tall indoors. Outdoors, some varieties may reach 30 feet! Don’t worry, while some can grow an astonishing 2 feet per year, others will grow roughly 5 inches. This beautiful plant also produces a white, vertical cascade of flowers when it reaches maturity.
It’s important to note that yucca plants are mildly toxic to pets and humans when ingested, so if you have curious critters or little ones that may try to taste the leaves, you might want to consider another plant.
If you’re a plant parent, you know how much worry can go into helping your baby thrive. What do you do if your plant grows too tall? What do you do if the leaves turn yellow? With adequate care, a yucca plant can grow for decades. We’ve put together a short guide to yucca plant care, so you can help the newest member of your household thrive.
How to Grow Your Yucca Plant
If you’re too busy to constantly fuss over a plant, the Yucca is a good choice because it’s one that would rather be neglected than given too much water or sunlight. Choose a sturdy container as a home base for your new yucca plant. Since they get heavier as they grow, it’s important to have ample support at the base. These plants do well when they’re slightly pot-bound. Bottom-heavy plants are more prone to tipping.
Use well-draining soil that will keep your plant upright in a pot with drain holes. Remember, these are plants that are fond of sandy terrain. A loose soil mix with perlite to promote drainage will do best for yucca plant care. Your plant needs bright, indirect light. It doesn’t like bright, direct light. (This can create burnt brown leaves.) Not having enough light can slow the yucca’s growth. During spring and summer, it’s recommended you feed the plant liquid fertilizer once a month.
Water the yucca when the soil feels 75-100% dry. Adaptable to most indoor temperature fluctuations, yuccas grow best with moderate humidity.
Yucca plants lose their lower leaves as they mature, which makes them look like small trees. Prune old leaves to promote new growth. You’ll know you’re on the right track when you see little “pups” appearing off the side of the mother cane, near the soil. Cut and replant mature, green pups in the fall and water well. Taking some of the parent roots when the pup is attached can help it form its new root system. Pale, whitish pups are too new to survive on their own, so it’s best not to rush this process.
Promote Your Yucca’s Blooms
These lovely plants will display the most beautiful flowers that will brighten up your home. If your plant hasn’t blossomed yet, there are a few things you can do to promote flowering. First, make sure your fertilizer is rich in phosphorous. Be mindful of overwatering, which can deter blooming. If it’s early spring, you might be able to transfer your pot outdoors, depending on your climate. This can help jumpstart the plant’s blooming process.
However, if you have a plant that’s just a year or two old, know that it’s not ready to bloom. It can take several years before it’s mature enough for this step.
Yucca Plant Care Tips
Thankfully, yucca plant care is fairly easy to stay on top of. Repot the plant every other year to welcome continuous growth and be sure to cut off mature leaves as they die. Yellow leaves can be a sign of improper light or moisture (either too much or too little).
Overwatering will destroy this plant. When the top half of the soil is dry, give it a little water. Keep plant leaves dust-free by wiping them down regularly with a damp cloth. While the yucca doesn’t require any extra humidity, it will enjoy an occasional misting.
If your plant is getting too tall for your space, you can cut it down. Gently remove it from the soil and place it on its side. Then use a sharp saw or pair of scissors to cut the trunk in half. Stick the bottom half in soil and water it well. New leaves should appear in a few weeks. After several months, it will look like a smaller version of the original plant. You can also stick the top half of the plant in a new pot and it will re-root to propagate another new plant.
This is best done in the fall when the plant’s growth is at a minimum. You might want to wear gloves since the sap can irritate skin, especially for those prone to allergies.
We hope this yucca plant care guide helps your plant thrive! And, when it does, we suggest you try your luck growing something from the similar-looking Dracaena genus.