Yucca: An easy-care garden plant

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There are over 50 species of yucca, the majority of which are shrubs.

THE yucca plant is famous for its large spiny leaves that grow from a woody stem, much like a patch of pineapple. It is an eye-catching “architectural plant”, a striking focal point in a garden.

Many species of yucca are ideal ornamental plants, ideal for landscaping. The flowers are borne on a tall stalk rising above a clump of upright green leaves. The creamy white flowers are actually edible, with a subtle sweet taste, and like a cabbage, they can be eaten raw or cooked.

The seeds are formed in pods inside the flower cluster. The root can also be cooked in soups.

Yucca is from the Asparagaceae family; more specifically, of the Agavoideae subfamily.

There are over 50 species of yucca, the majority of which are shrubs; however, some resemble trees due to their leaves growing on thick cane-like stems.

Yucca is a hardy plant that needs little attention once it becomes established and has a long life, as evidenced by the many side shoots that would later grow into new plants.

In case of further expansion for moving to a new site, the plant can be dug up easily for a successful transfer without losing any leaves.

The yucca plant is native to hot, dry regions of the Americas and the Caribbean – in this native environment it can grow to great heights, up to 12 meters. Now the plant is distributed in various regions with different climatic and ecological conditions.

It entered the local landscape not so long ago, in residential areas and parks – almost anywhere people want it. The important point is that this plant grows well without the addition of nutrients.

The plant is suitable, even for indoor decoration, although those planted in pots may not have spiked flowers. It is a fact that leaves can collect dew and transfer moisture to the root system to survive. Each sheet has a thick waxy surface to prevent water loss or evaporation when exposed to high temperatures. The leaves are able to droop and cover the stem once it needs more hydration.

Spread

Yucca is propagated using cut pieces from the base of the matured plant. The planting material, much like the pineapple sucker, removes the lower leaves and places them in the soil mixture.
The plant needs a moist medium, and this can be done by watering it well but not so much that it becomes waterlogged. It will grow well in potting soil or a mix of cacti and succulents.

The soft-leaved variety can be grown in pots for interior decoration. It is good to refresh it by “resting” it outside between a few weeks. It’s fine to shorten a tall plant by sawing it off, to promote the growth of new plants and at the same time allow the old stump to regenerate new shoots.

Use

Yuccas are widely grown as ornamental plants in gardens. Many species also bear edible parts like fruits, seeds, flowers, and flower stalks. The root of the plant is edible, as are the petals, which can be blanched. Of note, the yucca flower is the national flower of El Salvador, and also the state flower of New Mexico, USA.

A flowering yucca plant.

Types

There are many varieties, including ‘Spineless’ yucca, ‘Adam’s Needle’, ‘Beaked’ yucca, ‘Spanish Dagger’, ‘Yucca aloifolia’, ‘Banana’ yucca and ‘Joshua’ yucca. Yucca ecology is highly specialized, with a mutualistic pollination system, pollinated by yucca moths, which transfer pollen from the stamens of one plant to the stigma of another, and at the same time they lay eggs in the flower that the larvae feed on immediately after hatching.

Yucca species are also the host plant for the caterpillars of several skippers.

Yucca filamentosa, Adam’s Needle, and Thread yucca are among the species of flowering plants found in the southern United States. They are generally “stemless”, being “multi-suckers” with heads measuring 30 inches long, filamentous with blue-green leaves unlike other yucca species, which are usually white.

The flower stalks can reach a height of 10 feet, bearing masses of pendulous cream-colored flowers. They are popular for landscaping and can grow well even in sandy or clay soil, or also in loam.

They have many cultivars, with yellow-edged foliage and cream-colored flowers. Additionally, the plant bears seeds that can be cooked and eaten as food.

Yucca flowers can be eaten raw or cooked.

Yucca aloifolia

This Spanish bayonet dagger plant can reach a height of one meter, with a 5cm thick stem – planted in a tub or pot. The trunk ends in a terminal tuft of pointed, pointed dark green leaves, each measuring over 60cm long and 5cm wide. The edges of the leaves are toothed, which makes the plant unsuitable for paths; he must be kept away from all passers-by, lest the leaves cling to their clothes.

New leaves are edged with bicolor, blue-green and yellow striped edges, making the plant a favorite for landscaping or container planting.

Happy gardening!






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