The yucca root is one of 40 species of the agave family and is grown in many parts of the world, such as Latin America, Africa and Asia. In different parts of the world, yucca is known as manioc or cassava. Growing as tall as 8 feet, yucca root is grown mostly for food, and is often boiled or steamed and used in a variety of cuisines. Yucca root can also be ground into flour and used to make noodles, pastries or as a thickening agent or a substitute for potatoes. The yucca root plant enjoys hot, dry conditions and lots of sunlight.
Fill a seed tray with a sandy soil mixture, such as a cactus potting mix. Spread the yucca seeds on top of the potting mix, spaced about 3 inches apart. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of the sandy soil.
Water the yucca seeds lightly once every two or three days to keep the potting mix barely moistened. Don’t over-water the seeds, because they’re susceptible to rotting.
Maintain soil temperatures of at least 70 degrees F. An air temperature of 80 degrees F is ideal for yucca seedlings. Use a heat mat if needed to maintain the appropriate temperatures.
Set the seed tray in bright, indirect sunlight when the yucca seeds germinate and begin to sprout. Move the yucca seedlings into full, direct sunlight when they grow to about 6 inches tall.
Transfer the yucca seedlings into individual 6-inch-wide planter pots after about eight to 10 weeks. Use pots that have drainage holes in the bottom and plant the seedlings into the same sandy soil or cactus potting mixture. Continue to water the yucca seedlings lightly to keep the potting mix barely moistened.
Transplant your yucca seedlings outdoors when air temperatures are at least 75 to 80 degrees F or warmer, preferably sometime from April through June. Select a well-drained, sunny spot for your planting location.
Mix some coarse sand with the native soil, so that you have 1/3 sand and 2/3 dirt. Plant your yucca seedlings at the same depth as they were growing in the containers, spaced about 4 to 6 feet apart.
Feed the yucca plants once each year with an all-purpose vegetable fertilizer, according to the instructions on the label. Water the plants only once every two to three weeks to barely moisten the soil.
Harvest the yucca roots by digging around the plant about 2 feet from the stem using a spading fork. Place the spading fork under the roots and lift gently.
Things You Will Need
- Yucca seeds
- Seed tray
- Sandy soil or cactus potting mix
- Heat mat (optional)
- Planter pots, 6-inch diameter
- Coarse sand
- All-purpose vegetable fertilizer
- Spading fork
- Yucca roots purchased from a grocery store will not grow successfully because of the amount of chemicals used to grow the plant, as well as to control diseases and insects.
- Do not over water your yucca plants. They like hot, dry growing conditions.
- Never eat yucca root raw, because it contains saponins, which are toxic. Before consuming yucca root, bake or boil it, which will destroy the saponins.