Yucca (Elephant foot) - Expert Tips
How to care for Yucca: Expert Tips for Thriving Plants
Spineless Yucca, also known as Yucca gigantea or elephantipes, is a loved houseplant from the Yucca family. It is the family's largest and most heat-tolerant species and can grow up to 9 meters tall in the wild! However, when grown indoors, it stays a more manageable size.
There are almost 50 species of Yucca trees and shrubs. Although Yuccas are sometimes called a cactus species, they are not cacti but perennial evergreen shrubs and trees in the plant family Asparagaceae. The natural range of the Yucca genus, the 49 species and 24 subspecies, covers a vast area of the American continent.
Yucca plants are famous for their large, spiny leaves that grow on top of often long, thick woody stems. Yucca plants have a palm tree-like appearance that can bring a tropical feel to your home decor! They are easy to care for and do better with a bit of neglect than with too much attention.
Yucca Plant Care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully
- Yucca trees love lots of bright light, so place them near a south-facing window or in a spot that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.
- Only water when the soil has dried out completely. Yuccas are tough plants that can handle drought very well.
- Be careful not to overwater your Yucca plant. Its roots are really sensitive and don't like sitting in water. You can get root rot very quickly.
- Yuccas don't require much fertiliser, so be careful not to over-fertilize. Feed your Yucca with PLNTS Nutrition liquid fertiliser once a month during the growing season.
- Keep humidity rather low than high. Yuccas prefer low-humidity environments. Avoid too humid areas because excessive humidity can lead to fungal growth and other issues.
- They don't tolerate cold drafts well. Keep them away from windows and doors that may let in cold air.
- Look for common indoor plant pests, such as spider mites or mealybugs. Treat them promptly if you notice any infestations.
- If you notice brown edges on your Yucca's leaves, it could be a sign of either underwatering or overwatering. Slightly adjust your watering routine to find the right balance.
- Yucca plants can grow quite large, so providing them with enough space to thrive and show off their unique appearance is essential.
- During the winter, keep your Yucca plant at a slightly cooler temperature (13-18°C) to promote healthy growth in the spring. It will encourage dormancy and prepare the plant for the upcoming growing season.
Yucca Care Tips
Light and placement for Yucca
Yuccas are sun-loving houseplants. They need lots of bright light to thrive, so place them in a south-facing window or in a spot that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. They also do well in bright, indirect sun, although growing Yuccas in too little light can result in thinner and slower growth.
Expert tip! If your indoor Yucca tree has been growing in low light conditions or you just bought it, gradually introduce it to brighter sunlight to avoid shocking the plant.
If your Yucca is stretching out or appears pale in colour, it may need more light. If this happens, move the plant to a brighter location or add more light using grow lights.
Since Yuccas are drought-tolerant houseplants, they don't require much watering. Water them only when the soil has dried out completely. You can use a water meter if you need help determining when to water your Yucca. If the soil is moist, wait a few more days before watering again. Make sure that the plant has good drainage.
Good to know! When growth slows down in the winter, the plant will dry out more slowly. During this time, it needs less watering. The most common problem with Yucca is overwatering. They have sensitive fleshy roots that don't like standing water. Symptoms of overwatering include yellow leaves, soft, muchy leaves, brown tips, and wilting.
Yucca trees are light feeders but will occasionally benefit from fertilisation. Fertilise them monthly during the active growing season (spring to fall) with PLNTS Nutrition plant food. Just dilute it to half-strength to avoid over-fertilisation. In winter, it is not necessary to fertilise your indoor Yucca plant at all.
Temperature & Humidity
Yucca plants enjoy warm temperatures and low humidity levels. This makes them the perfect choice for most homes! Just keep temperatures between 15-28°C and humidity levels between 30-50%. During the summer months, you can bring your Yucca plant outdoor, just choose a spot with medium sunlight.
Yucca trees don't tolerate cold drafts well, so keep them away from windows and doors that may let in cold air. Slightly cooler temperatures between 13-18°C during winter months will encourage healthy growth next spring. Just remember that they still need lots of light during the winter, too!
Soil & Repotting
Indoor Yucca plants are not too fussy about soil types but require well-draining soil to prevent waterlogging and root rot. Cactus and succulent soil is a good choice for Yuccas, as it promotes drainage and prevents overwatering. If you use universal houseplant soil, mixing coarse sand or perlite is a good idea to improve aeration and drainage.
Yuccas don't require frequent repotting because they are pretty slow-growing houseplants. Watch when they outgrow their current pot or the soil starts feeling too compacted. Then it's time to give them some more room to grow! Find out how to repot your houseplants.
The easiest way to propagate a Yucca plant is via stem cuttings.
Just follow these easy steps:
- Find a stem that is not too young and thin or too old and thick - a medium-sized one works best.
- Use a clean, sharp knife or pruning shears to cut one or more parts about 6 centimetres from the trunk.
- If your stem part is without leaves, mark the part of the stem that grew closest to the base of the plant. This will help you plant it the right way up.
- Insert the cuttings about 2 cm into the potting soil. Water the newly planted cuttings and keep the soil slightly moist for about four weeks while the roots form.
Expert tip! Wear long sleeves and gloves when working near Yuccas to protect yourself from the prickly, dagger-like tips of the leaves that can occur in some species.
Yucca trees can also produce offshoots or pups, which can be separated from the parent plant and planted in their own pots. To propagate Yuccas with pups, gently remove the pup from the parent plant by cutting it at the base of the stem. Then plant the pup in well-draining soil. Water the soil lightly and keep it moist until roots develop and new growth appears.
Most common pests on Yuccas
Although Yucca plants are not affected by many pests, there are a few typical culprits you should watch for. Mainly aphids and mealybugs. Besides mild pest problems, Yucca plants can be susceptible to fungal diseases, these problems manifest themselves with spreading black spots on the leaves.
If you want to be sure about which pest or disease is bothering your plant and you want to know how to prevent it. Visit our PLNTS doctor page.
Is Yucca toxic for pets or children?
Whether the Yucca - of whatever kind - is really poisonous or not is a matter on which experts are still divided. Many experts regard the plant as entirely harmless, while others point to known cases of poisoning. We recommend you be safe and keep your pets and small children away from this plant. After all, you don't want them to eat your beautiful plant.
Buy your new Yucca online at PLNTS.com
At PLNTS.com you can buy your new Yucca online. Whether you like your PLNTS big from the start or prefer to grow them from tiny BabyPLNTS into full-grown PLNTS - buy Yucca Plant online at PLNTS.com.