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Yucca filamentosa (Adam's Needle)

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Scientific Name

Yucca filamentosa L.

Common Names

Adam's Needle, Common Yucca, Spanish Bayonet, Bear Grass, Needle Palm, Silk Grass, Spoon-leaf Yucca

Synonyms

Yucca filamentosa var. bracteata, Yucca filamentosa var. elmensis, Yucca filamentosa var. filamentosa, Yucca filamentosa var. laevigata, Yucca filamentosa var. latifolia, Yucca filamentosa var. maxima, Yucca filamentosa var. media, Yucca filamentosa var. mexicana, Yucca filamentosa var. nobilis, Yucca filamentosa var. patens, Yucca filamentosa var. ramosa, Yucca filamentosa var. recurvifolia, Yucca filamentosa var. variegata

Scientific Classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Yucca

Description

Yucca filamentosa is a very ornamental, virtually stemless, evergreen shrub, up to 10 feet (3 m) tall, that features a basal rosette of rigid, sword-shaped, spine-tipped, green leaves. It is readily distinguished from other species by white, thready filaments along the leaf margins. Leaves are up to 1 foot (30 cm) long and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) wide. In late spring, a flowering stalk rises from the center of each rosette, up to 12 feet (3.6 m) tall, bearing a long terminal panicles of nodding, bell-shaped, creamy-white flowers. Fruits are elliptical dehiscent capsules. Will form a small colony over time from basal offsets.

Photo via ricardo.ch

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 4a to 10b: from −30 °F (−34.4 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Under the right conditions, Yuccas are not difficult plants to grow. They tend to thrive on a little neglect, rather than too much attention. They are especially easy to overwater and soggy stems are a sign of too much water. The best conditions for Yuccas include a sunny corner with relatively low humidity. They are not prone to many pests, although scale can be an issue. Over time, plants will typically lose their lower leaves (in nature, they droop, forming a skirt around the trunk), giving the plant a pleasant "tree-like" appearance.

Yuccas are relatively slow-growing plants that should only need to be repotted every other year. They do well slightly pot-bound as long as they don't become heavy enough to tip over their containers. Repotting larger plants can be difficult, so larger plants can be refreshed with new potting soil by digging out the top 2 inches (5 cm) of the container and adding new soil. During typical repotting, remove the plant from its container and go up one container size. Always use fresh potting soil.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Yucca.

Origin

Yucca filamentosa is native to beaches, sand dunes and fields from southeast Virginia south to Florida and as far west as south and southeast Texas.

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