Yucca filamentosa - Yucca
Family: Agavaceae

Hear the scientific name

Yucca filamentosa is an evergreen, drought hardy, bold focal point foliage plant with a radiating "southwestern look". Adam's Needle Yucca also has prominent flowering stalks in mid-summer.

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  form Form

-short- to medium-sized evergreen ornamental "shrub"

-evergreen foliage forms a clump maturing at 2.5' tall x 2.5' wide, but the annual woody inflorescences bolt up to 8' tall

-radiating clump growth habit

-slow growth rate of spread, but a rapid growth rate for the annual upright inflorescences

foliage Foliage

-medium green, glaucous, evergreen, sword-like, radiating from ground-level fibrous stems, and bending downwards with age

-lanceolate and slightly concave leaves are each to 2.5' long, with veins that are parallel along the length of the blade

-margins have exfoliating white threads, hence, the specific epithet)

Flowers
flowers

-creamy-white conical inflorescences range from 3-8' tall, blooming during July and Aug., and are quite showy when in flower

-individual flowers hang downwards, with petals that resemble huge teeth emerging from the corolla, and bloom from the bottom to the top of the semi-woody inflorescences

Fruit
fruit

-the yellowish green fruit capsules occur along the persistent upright stalks, maturing to brown in early autumn if left alone, but best pruned away for neatness and to promote the superior evergreen foliage effect

Twig

-the very short, fibrous, semi-woody to pulpy stems occur at ground level and are hidden by the dense evergreen foliage

Trunk

-not applicable

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Culture

-full sun to full shade

-performs best in full sun in moist, well-drained, deep soils, but it is extremely urban tolerant, including tolerance to poor soils, various soil pHs, soil compaction, heat, high light reflection, extended drought, pollution, and winter salt spray; however, it oes not tolerate poor drainage or wet sites, and does not bloom in full shade

-propagated primarily by root segments and clump division, but also by seeds

-Agave Family, with few disease or pest problems

abundantly available in container form

-the flowering stalk should be deadheaded (pruned away, all the way to the ground) after flowering is finished, as the fruiting stalk is unsightly and will persist for 2-3 yrs. as "dead wood" unless it is removed

-have many deep tap roots, and are extremely difficult to completely remove by digging out; in fact, this serves as a method of propagation, as many miniature Yuccas will return in a couple of months or the next year from the remaining or broken root segments; in this case, repeated applications of herbicide are needed for control

Hardiness

-zones 4 to 9

Origin

-native to the Southeastern U.S. (although it is often planted for a "southwestern" xeriscape look)

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Assets

-evergreen foliage

-extremely urban tolerant (especially to heat, drought, and blazing sun exposure)

-winter salt spray tolerant

Liabilities

-dead basal foliage needs to be carefully removed in early spring and immature fruiting stalks are best pruned away just after flowering has finished in mid-summer, to keep the plant tidy

-removal by digging entails follow-up with several applications of herbicide, as the remaining root segments will resprout

Function

-a bold evergreen focal point in the landscape, either in group plantings or solitary, used at entranceways, borders, rock gardens, island beds, or as a specimen

Texture

-bold texture in foliage, flower, and fruit

-thick density for the evergreen foliage, and open density for the large inflorescences

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Varieties and Cultivars - Search OSU PlantFacts for additional plants in this species

Alternates

-true southwestern accent plants (basically members of the Cactus Family and similar families)

 


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