A yucca houseplant will have a relatively short life of about 5 years even if cared for properly. However, a full yucca tree can live for at least a couple of decades. Some varieties, such as the Joshua Tree Yucca, can take 50 years just to reach their mature size.
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Do Yucca Plants Come Back Every Year?
Yucca plants are perennials which means they do come back every year. Most varieties of yucca bloom in the summer such as yucca filamentosa (also known as Adam’s Needle) which blooms in June. Another type, yucca aloifolia, blooms in July. Try to familiarize yourself with the different blooming periods of yucca plants.
How Big Can a Yucca Plant Get?
Yucca plant size varies by type, sometimes drastically. A dwarf yucca may not grow more than ½ feet tall while a Joshua Tree yucca (yucca brevifolia) can reach up to 40 feet tall. Let’s look over the most common types of yucca trees and their maximum sizes.
- Adam’s Needle (yucca filamentosa): Adam’s needle yucca blooms reach up to 8 feet in height, leaves reach up to 3 feet
- Spineless Yucca Trees: peak sizes of 30 feet
- Spanish Dagger (yucca aloifolia): can reach 10 feet tall
- Yucca Flaccida: 5 feet tall at the peak
- Yucca Gloriosa: a yucca gloriosa maxes out at 8 feet in height
- Joshua Tree (yucca brevifolia): is the tallest yucca and nearly reaches 40 feet
- Soapweed Yucca (yucca glauca): won’t grow beyond 3 feet tall
- Twisted Yucca: flowers of the twisted yucca reach up to 5 feet
- Dwarf Yucca (yucca nana): grows between 6 and 8 inches tall
- Beaked Yucca (yucca rostrata): yucca rostrata grows up to 15 feet in height
- Banana Yucca (yucca baccata): yucca baccata maxes out at 3 feet tall
- Yucca Elata: the yucca elata can reach sizes of 20 feet
- Our Lord’s Candle (yucca whipplei): flowers of yucca whipplei reach up to 14 feet high
There are many more species of yucca beyond these. Yucca plants are some of the most vibrant and varied plants there are. Remember that species of yucca plants vary wildly in shape, size, and growth habits. You can grow anything from a small bush to a rather large tree depending on what you want out of a mature plant.
How Do You Know If Your Yucca is Dying?
A mature yucca plant is hard to kill, but it’s not impossible. If you notice yellow leaves, brown leaves, dead foliage, wilting yucca flower stalks, or dark spots, your yucca may be dying.
- Dying yuccas will often have dead foliage, dark leaf spots, or be visibly wilting.
- Yuccas are often easy to save by adjusting yucca plant care needs.
Don’t worry though, unless your plant is diseased, it’s generally fairly easy to save a dying yucca. You’ll simply have to adjust how much sun, water, or fertilizer your plant is getting. Below, we will go into more detail about proper yucca care.
How Do You Keep a Yucca Plant Alive?
Maintaining a healthy yucca requires three things: getting enough sun, providing the correct amount of water, and adding fertilizer as needed. Indoor yucca plants, unlike outdoor plants, can struggle to get enough sun. Yucca needs bright indirect light (direct sunlight can burn the leaves), which can be hard to get indoors. Yucca needs plenty of sunlight, up to about 6 hours a day. You’ll need to place your yucca cane near a lightly shaded window for best results.
- Give your yucca plenty of indirect sun.
- Water your yucca once every 10 days.
- Fertilize your yucca plant every 3 months.
- This organic fertilizer for succulents and cacti is great for yucca plants.
Yucca plants need relatively little water. Unless you’re growing a big tree variety, most yucca will thrive with an inch or two of water every 10 days. As for fertilizer, yucca should be fertilized every 3 months. How much fertilizer varies by type. Dwarf potted yucca plants only need a few teaspoons of fertilizer at a time.
What Kills a Yucca Plant?
Yucca tends to be a pretty hardy plant. They are extremely drought tolerant and survive dry conditions and moderate humidity with ease. Outdoor yucca plants even grow successfully in the Mojave Desert, so it takes a lot to kill them. This means that getting rid of an unwanted yucca plant is something of an ordeal. After all, the Mojave Desert is one of the least hospitable places on the planet. How do you kill something that can survive the Mojave Desert?
- Outdoor yuccas are extremely hardy and difficult to kill completely.
- It may take years of regularly uprooting an unwanted yucca and pouring herbicide into the stem or trunk to kill it completely.
It takes a lot to kill outdoor yuccas. You’ll have to prune off the leaves and uproot as much of the plant as possible. Then, drill holes in the stem or trunk of the plant and pour herbicide into the holes. This is similar to the work required to kill a tree without cutting it down. If you’re lucky, this should be enough to kill the hardy yucca roots. If you’re unlucky, you may have to repeat this process across a few years before root death is permanent.
What is the Lifespan of a Yucca Plant?
Yucca lifespan can vary greatly depending on variety and whether it’s an indoor plant, if it’s potted or not, and how well you care for it. Potted yucca plants that are grown indoors tend to live for 5 to 7 years. Here are a few key tidbits to keep in mind about yucca plants:
- Yuccas are perennial plants that come back every year.
- Yucca lifespan can vary from a few years to several decades.
- Growing habits and peak heights vary widely based on the yucca species.
- Yuccas are hard to kill because they are adapted to desert environments.
- Keep an eye out for warning signs of poor health like dying foliage and wilting leaves.
- Yuccas need lots of indirect sun, mild amounts of water, and fertilizer once every 3 months.
With these tips, you’re sure to raise a healthy yucca cane plant of your choice. Potted yucca plants make great plants especially if you live in drier, sunnier climates. However, they can be grown indoors as long as the room stays warm and sunny. Choose a beautiful yucca variety you love and have fun growing!