The spineless Yucca plant, a native of Guatemala and southeast Mexico, is an ideal, easy care houseplant. Yucca plants can be a bush or a stalk plant. The long, leathery, sharply pointed leaves of a Yucca plant are a foot or more in length and about an inch wide. Yucca plants are very top heavy and should always be set into a heavy clay or ceramic pot to prevent them from toppling over. A Yucca plant is poisonous and should be kept away from small children and pets. Read more about common houseplants that can be dangerous in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants. A Yucca is the type of plant that complements a Southwestern look in your home or office.
Yucca plants grow best in bright indirect light. A Yucca can survive indoors in lower light but will need very little water. The slow growing yucca will be even slower to produce new leaves in low to medium light. An ideal location is near a west, east, or south-facing window.
A Yucca plant originates in the deserts of Mexico and Guatemala so it likes to be kept dry. Allow at least the top 50% of the soil of a to dry out before watering. Over watering is the main and probably the only way to kill a yucca.
Feed monthly in the spring and summer with a basic houseplant food at 1/2 the recommended strength.
A yucca can adapt to temperatures as low as 35° and as high as 90°.
Yucca plants do well in basic and even low household humidity.
Usual household plant pests stay away from a Yucca; even spider mites avoid this plant. If you do notice mealy bugs or scale, spray with the “Green Solution” (recipe in Glossary).
Use a good quality, well-aerated, loose houseplant soil that drains quickly for a Yucca Plant. Add sand to the soil if it seems too heavy or clay-like.
Yucca plants like to be root-bound in small pots.
If a yucca plant becomes top heavy and keeps falling over, cut the trunks off 1/2 way down. New growth will appear on the old trunk making it bushier and less apt to topple. Start new yucca plants using the sections of trunk that you cut off.
A yucca plant is propagated by stem (trunk) cuttings and offsets.
Poisonous Plant Info
Yucca plants are slightly poisonous with a #1 toxicity level. The poisonous part of the plant is difficult to reach, but a persistent child or pet might be able to get through the tough exterior and eat it.
When the bottom leaves on a yucca turn light brown and crispy, it usually means the plant needs more water. Be careful not to over do it, but water your yucca a little more frequently.
My suggestion to help your yucca look better is to cut the main stalk off just above the new growth at the bottom. This will encourage lots of new shoots on the cane. Plant the green top section that you cut off, include about 12″ of the stalk, in the bottom of the existing pot. This Yucca cutting should root in about four weeks and you’ll have a great looking plant.
The stems, or stalks, of yucca houseplants get soft and mushy when they are overwatered. Take your yucca out of the pot, get rid of all the wet soil, and allow it to lay out bare root for a day or two. Remove all of the stalk above the mushy part of the stem. Repot in dry succulent soil. The pot should barely fit the roots of the plant. If the roots aren’t totally destroyed, your plant should start sending out new shoots in about a month.