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How to Treat Your Yucca
Member Name: Zmugzy
Date: 15/11/07, updated on 13/07/09 (998 review reads)
Advantages: Quite easy to look after and attractive to look at
Disadvantages: Slow growing and needs plenty of light
My sister has a Yucca plant neglected in the bathroom. It's a sad and sorry sight. It has a few straggly pale leaves. Though it has begun to make something of a recovery in the more light exposed bathroom after having only recently been moved there from the dimly lit living room where it had been suffocating for many years from a lack of light and too much smoke. Yuccas are easy to grow but that's no way to treat your Yucca.
~~ In The Wild ~~
There are between thirty or forty species of Yucca growing naturally in South America. In it's natural habitat the plant can reach up to fifty feet in height. It is a hardy plant that can withstand more temperate climates and even survive severe frosts. In the wild they produce a white flower but these must be fertilized by a special species of moth found only in their native areas. Cultivated plants in the UK therefore will not produce seeds.
~~ Varieties ~~
As an indoor plant the Yucca (usually Yucca elephantipes sometimes know as Yucca guatemalensis) will reach about eight feet at most and should take long time to do so if grown from a small stump. Yuccas can make unusual but attractive plants with their light brown stems topped by rosettes of leaves forming a crown. The leaves of this variety, although pointed and tough, are not very dangerous. However, if you have the Yucca aloifolia variety, more commonly known as Spanish Bayonet, you'll find that the leaf points are very sharp indeed and can cause considerable damage to skin. So this plant shouldn't be placed by doorways or where people are likely to pass on a regular basis.
~~ Purchase ~~
When you buy a Yucca plant you should make sure that the leafy rosettes are quite well developed. Avoid buying a plant if they are only just breaking out. If some of the leaves are blackened this means that the plant has probably been damaged whilst strapped during transit. You should make sure that the canes or stems of the elephantipes variety are sufficiently well routed so that the plant is held secure in its pot.
~~ Light And Growth ~~
The Yucca plant handles a variation in temperature very well, but needs plenty of direct sunlight to flourish so a South facing window or conservatory is preferable. You will find that over time the plant will bend towards the light source so it should be turned around every couple of weeks in order to maintain its shape. Indoors the Yucca is a very slow growing plant so it should take a few years to hit your ceiling.
~~ Plant Care ~~
During spring and summer the plant should be well watered on a regular basis and given a feed every two weeks. However you should be careful not to over water as this will cause the base of the stem to rot. If this happens stop all watering immediately and let the soil dry out. You can also spray the plant in summer with a fine mist spray. In winter the plant will need very little watering. You can let the compost dry out a little and it should survive a week or two on holiday. You should not use leaf shine to clean the leaves and instead carefully wipe off accumulated dust with tepid water.
~~ Pests and Disease ~~
You are unlikely to find an indoor Yucca suffering from pests or disease but they have been know to be prone to scale insects which can be removed individually with a swab soaked in methylated spirits. Sometimes plants are affected by Botrytis which is a type of grey mould. This can be remedied by dusting the effected parts with sulphur and by improving the ventilation.
~~ Conclusion ~~
This is a moderately easy plant to grow as long as you make sure your plant receives plenty of light and you get the watering right. You certainly shouldn't leave it to wither in dimly lit smoke filled rooms. You should find the small plants in most indoor garden centres. Small plants should cost about £5, larger plants of a few feet in height can be quite expensive ranging from £30 upwards.
Summary: A moderately easy to grow indoor plant