Houseplant of the month December: Yucca

Houseplant of the month December: Yucca

A houseplant that looks striking all year round thrives on neglect and is easy to grow: Yucca. What more could you ask? Yuccas make great houseplants, looking rather like indoor palm trees with their bare stems and rosettes of long leaves. Although mature Yuccas can eventually reach a height of several metres, they are very slow-growing and will live happily in pots for a long time.

Types of Yucca

There are more than twenty different species of Yucca, but the two most commonly grown indoors are Yucca guatamalensis (previously called Yucca elephantipes), and Yucca alifolia. Both have long, sword-shaped leaves, but the leaves of Yucca alifolia are stiff and tipped with very sharp spines. Yucca guatamalensis leaves are softer and arching, with no spines.

NB: Yucca leaves contain saponins, which are toxic to cats and dogs if eaten.

How to grow Yucca plants

Yuccas do best in bright but indirect light. In winter, a sunny, south-facing window is ideal. In summer, provide some light shading to protect the leaves from the hot midday sun, or move the plant to the west- or east-facing window.

Yuccas don’t need a particularly fertile growing medium, but it must be free-draining, while still being heavy enough to hold the plant securely. A mixture of 1 part sand to 3 parts multipurpose compost is ideal.

How to care for a Yucca plant

Yuccas are very easy to care for – simply follow these tips:

  • Don’t overwater. Yuccas are desert plants, so are very drought tolerant, and overwatering may kill them. In summer, wait until the top half of the compost in your container is dry before watering. Water very sparingly in winter. Never leave the plant sitting in water.
  • In spring and summer, feed monthly with a general houseplant food diluted to half-strength.
  • Yuccas will naturally grow towards the light, so turn indoor plants regularly to keep them from getting lopsided.
  • Yuccas do not need regular pruning, but if a plant is getting too tall, cut it back in spring, reducing the height by half.

How to propagate Yucca plants

Yuccas can be propagated easily from offsets. These are shoots that appear at the base of the plant. Remove them in spring when the plant is starting to grow, cutting each offset off at the point where it joins the main plant. Leave the offsets out to dry for a few days, then push the bases into a mix of compost and coarse horticultural sand. Please place them in a propagator with a bottom heat of 18ºC (65ºF), or cover them with a clear plastic bag and put them somewhere bright and warm, out of direct sunlight. Don’t water for the first couple of weeks, until the shoots have developed roots.

If you’re after a big, bold indoor plant to brighten up a room, come and visit our centre and choose from our fantastic range of houseplants. You’re sure to find the perfect plant for you.

You might also be interested in:

Upcycling home trends with used furniture

These upcycling home trends with used furniture are a great way to spruce up furniture that you no longer want to use but don’t want to put into waste. Upcycling can mean you create something new for your home or even something to sell on for someone else. It helps minimise landfill and can be an environmentally friendly way to update your home and garden furnishings. 

1. Upcycling with old wooden desks 

If you are done with an ol...

Read more...
Squirrels in your garden

Seeing squirrels in your garden can be terrific fun, and they are quite common in many areas, especially where there are plenty of trees. They will happily munch new shoots, berries, fungi and many other things you might not want them to eat, so there are some protective measures you can take if you want to keep them off your plants and away from the bird feeders. Grey squirrels are common but red squirrels are now endangered. Here is how to welcome squirrels into your garden...

Read more...
15 gardening tips for February

In February, you can really sense that spring is just around the corner, with snowdrops and daffodils starting to appear and buds swelling on the trees. Please make the most of dry days with our top 15 gardening jobs for February.

Top 15 gardening tips for February

  1. Prune winter-flowering shrubs like Mahonia and Viburnum x bodnantense as soon as they’ve finished flowering, to keep their shape neat.

  2. Prune bush roses n...

Read more...
Popular houseplant: the money tree

We know money doesn’t really grow on trees, but you can still have your own money tree in your home, enriching you with the beauty of nature. The money tree (Pachira aquatica) is native to swamps and riverbanks in Central and South America, where it can grow to a height of 18m (60ft). Grown as an indoor plant, it doesn’t reach these lofty heights, though it can eventually reach 1.8m (6ft). We offer beautiful houseplants to cheer up your interior in our garden centre. The mone...

Read more...

Opening hours

  • Monday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Tuesday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Wednesday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Thursday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Friday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Saturday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Sunday
    10:30 - 16:30
Show all opening hours