How Do I Divide Yucca Plants?

Overview

Yucca plants thrive in many types of soil in mild to warm climates. These plants grow from root division, forming a collection of leaves atop a single trunk. The majority of yucca plants form sharp spines at the tips of their long, sturdy leaves. Yucca plants produce pale yellow, white and cream blossoms early in the year. Divide this perennial to obtain small starts for new yucca plants.

Step 1

Choose a healthy, mature yucca in the early spring. Look for a strong specimen displaying numerous areas of new growth. Divide when the soil is slightly moist, but not wet. Avoid digging up a yucca when the soil is very dry and crumbly.

Step 2

Dig a circular perimeter around the base of the yucca plant. Allow a few inches to each side of the plant to avoid damaging the plant's root system. Dig up the entire clump with a sturdy garden shovel. Do not disturb or damage the trunk or stem of your yucca when digging it from the soil.

Step 3

Pull out loosened shoots with small roots. Divide tangled roots with a couple of kitchen forks. Place the forks against one another, with backs touching. Stick these between root sections and gently pry the roots apart. Discard any rotted roots and hard, woody sections by cutting them from the healthy roots with a sharp knife. Cut off a few inches of healthy root sections near the outside edges of the main clump to use for growing new plants.

Step 4

Place the parent plant back in its original hole after dividing several root sections for new plants. Backfill the remainder of the hole with soil. Tamp down the soil and water until slightly damp.

Step 5

Collect some soil from areas near the parent plant. Avoid using rich potting mixes or soils from other areas of your yard that contain additives or amendments. Fill your pots half full with the soil. Place your yucca root cuttings on the surface of the soil. Add a few inches of soil on top to cover the root cuttings. Water the soil until slightly moist. Place your pots in a warm, sunny location. Check the soil in your pots every few days and add a little water whenever the soil becomes slightly dry to the touch. Transplant these young plants into your yard or garden after new shoots appear above the soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear heavy gloves when digging and dividing yucca specimens with sharp spines.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Forks
  • Knife
  • Soil
  • Pots

References

  • University of Minnesota: Dividing Perennials
  • Parker County Master Gardener Association: Red Yucca
  • Department of Agriculture: Yucca

Who Can Help

  • University of Georgia: Landscape Plants for Georgia
Keywords: yucca cultivation, divide yucca, yucca roots

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.