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Yucca Plant Facts

By Julie Bawden-Davis
Yucca flowers are fragrant.

The yucca plant is a perennial evergreen shrub native to arid regions of North America. According to the Utah State University Cooperative Extension website, it is deep-rooted and long-lived, with some plants surviving hundreds of years.


Yucca has leathery, sword-shaped, spikey leaves and grows as high as 15 feet tall, depending on the species. Its foliage can be green to pale blue, and some leaves are striped in shades of white, yellow and cream. Yucca produces upright clusters of white, bell-shaped flowers.


There are more than 20 species of yucca, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Some commonly grown species include Spanish bayonet (Y.aloifolia), Adam's needle (Y. filamentosa), and curve-leaf yucca (Y. recurvifolia).


Historically, Native American Indians used all parts of the yucca plant. Its roots were made into soap and its leaf fibers were used for cords and sandals. The stalks, buds and flowers of some varieties were used as food.


Yucca plants require full sun and sandy, well-drained soil. They are drought-resistant plants, needing additional water only until they are established. Fertilizing is generally not necessary, although young plants can be fed to encourage initial growth with a half-strength solution of a well-balanced fertilizer.


About the Author


Julie Bawden-Davis is an accomplished writer, who specializes in home and garden. Since 1985, she’s written for a wide variety of publications, including “Organic Gardening,” "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "Parents," "Family Circle" and "The Los Angeles Times." Her books include "Fairy Gardening" and "Reader's Digest Flower Gardening." Bawden-Davis holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and is a certified master gardener.