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How to Grow Yucca Plants in Clay Dirt

By Barbara Raskauskas ; Updated September 21, 2017

The yucca plant enjoys arid conditions. Its sword-like leaves grow 1 to 2 feet long from a center core, making it look like a shrub. The shrub-like portion of the yucca can reach widths of 3 to 6 feet depending on the variety. In the spring, a shaft about 1 inch in diameter emerges from the center of the shrub-like base. The shaft can reach heights of 12 feet in a few weeks. Large, white bell-shaped blooms will droop in clusters from the shaft. By amending the soil, you can successfully grow yucca plants in clay dirt.

Choose a sunny, well-drained location to plant yucca. Dig a hole three times as wide as the potted plant or rootball and two times as deep. Place the removed dirt in a wheelbarrow or on a tarp. Digging a hole larger than the plant will help the roots expand into loosened soil.

Mix up to 50 percent organic matter, like leaf mold or compost, or potting soil into the removed soil.

Backfill the hole halfway. Place the plant in the center of the hole, and make sure the top of the rootball is level with the ground. Add or remove soil as needed.

Remove the yucca from the pot, and place the plant in the hole. If the yucca is burlap-wrapped, leave the burlap on when you place the plant in the hole. Backfill the hole halfway up the side of the plant. If the rootball was covered with burlap, pull the burlap back so the top half of the rootball is exposed.

Water the partially filled hole to settle the soil mixture. Finish backfilling the hole and water again. Regular rainfall should be sufficient to keep a yucca healthy. Water only if there are extended dry periods, like more than two weeks without rain.

Apply about 2 inches of mulch across the surface.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Tarp or wheelbarrow
  • Organic matter
  • Mulch


  • If the soil is particularly dry, moistening it the day before planting may help with digging.
  • Cut the flower shaft at the base after the blooms have faded.


  • An established yucca can be difficult to remove from the landscape. It's deep and far-reaching roots can send up new sprouts several feet away.
  • The sturdy, pointed leaves can poke tender skin.

About the Author


Barbara Raskauskas's favorite pursuits are home improvement, landscape design, organic gardening and blogging. Her Internet writing appears on SASS Magazine, AT&T and various other websites. Raskauskas is active in the small business she and her husband have owned since 2000 and is a former MS Office instructor.