Yucca palm: features
This plant of the Asparagaceae family grows in hot, arid areas of America and the Caribbean. In nature, they reach 15-20 m in height, at home they do not exceed 2 m. There are more than 40 different types of yucca plants. They all have the same large prickly leaves and white flowers.
Strong, cylindrical and slightly branched woody stem. Long pointed leaves grow at the end of the trunk, which can grow in the form of a rosette at ground level, or on stems and trunks.
Panicles of inflorescences on long stems develop from the central part of the bundle. They can exceed 2 meters in height. The flowers are bell-shaped and appear in summer (from June to August).
They are usually white or cream, and some varieties may have a pink, purple or green hue.
Additional information! Homemade yucca grows slowly, so it may take time for it to reach its maximum size. As the plant grows, it can form displacements at the base, which gives them a multi-stemmed appearance.
How to grow yucca at home
Adult yucca is hardy and unpretentious. The plant loves the sun and warmth, feels best in bright light, and can withstand direct sunlight. Tolerates prolonged drought, and almost does not need care. Can be very long-lived, grows slowly. It is difficult to get rid of them when they are firmly rooted.
The yucca flower is not too demanding of the soil if it is well drained. Does not like soil rich in nutrients.
Grown in a container: a mixture of sand and peat in a ratio of 3:1 with potted soil.
WateringThe yucca plant is extremely resistant to drought: they accumulate water in their trunks or bulbous bases. Because of their thick waxy leaves, they don’t need much water after rooting. If they forget to water them for several weeks, they will survive perfectly. Water when the topsoil dries. In winter, they need less water. Standing water is often a breeding ground for plant diseases, as well as insects and mold.
Pay attention! Excessive watering can manifest itself in the form of falling foliage or rotting of the trunk at the soil level. Yellow leaves or soft roots may be a sign of excessive watering.
Yucca does not need high humidity, so it does not need to be sprayed. From time to time, the leaves are wiped so that there is no dust left on them.
How to fertilize yucca plants
In the spring and autumn period, liquid fertilizers rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are applied, at least once a month, diluted in irrigation water. Every 3 months, a slow-release granular fertilizer is introduced at the base of the plant. Granular fertilizers dissolve slowly, and water-soluble fertilizers immediately deliver nutrients to the roots of plants.
A balanced fertilizer, low in nitrogen, can help potted plants grow and develop.
Young plants or those that were previously incorrectly planted will show an improvement in growth when fertilizers are added.
Too much top dressing can harm the yucca or even kill it. Fertilizer burn can be caused by excessive exposure to nutrients. It is impossible to repair the damage caused by the burn of fertilizers, so you need to carefully apply them to the plant.
The lower leaves naturally die off by themselves. Under the right conditions, they can grow quite tall and wide. The height and width can be maintained by pruning and dividing the plant.
Pruning yucca usually presents no difficulties. How and when to trim the yucca? If the yucca has outgrown the limits of its container or a dedicated garden plot, pruning will reduce its size without causing harm.
Tree reduction should be made in early spring, before the beginning of the growing season. Cut off the upper part of the desired size.
The hardy plant will sprout again from the cut, and continue its growth. Pruning of dry or damaged leaves can be done at any time. Pruning will help restore the plant to a healthy state, improve its appearance. After flowering, the peduncles should be cut to the base.
They do not need to be transplanted very often: every two or three years in the spring – this is normal. Transplanting mature yucca is difficult because of its bulky shape. In this case, remove as much soil from the surface as possible with a spatula and add fresh.
How to propagate yucca
How to grow yucca from shoots, root cuttings or seeds? When propagated by cuttings, they are cut in the spring from mature shoots, since mature wood is less susceptible to rotting. Remove the leaves, except for the top few. This will reduce the amount of moisture lost by the plant when new roots grow.
The stalk is placed in a cool shady place for a few days, let it dry a little. This will improve rooting. Then the stalk is planted in potted soil, well watered and placed in a place where there is indirect light. The stalk will grow in about three to four weeks.
A simple way to propagate yucca is by using branches at the base of the trunk, having done this when transplanting the plant in the spring. How to grow yucca with a process? The process is cut off with a sharp knife, and the cut is allowed to dry for several days. Plant a new plant in a new pot, and water it well. Keep in a warm place.
How to grow yucca from seeds? They grow easily from seeds. They are planted indoors in spring, they germinate from 30 to 35 days. To help germination, soak the seeds for 24 hours before planting. Plant to a depth of one to two seeds. Keep the soil slightly moist at a temperature of about 20 C. As soon as the seeds germinate, place the young seedlings under a growing lamp or on a bright sunny window.
The growth of yucca is quite slow, especially if it is grown from seeds. It may take several years before they bloom.
Diseases and pests
Among the parasites, the yucca is afraid of the red spider and cochineal, which usually nest in the cracks of the trunk and in the areas of the leaves.
Weevil – black beetles, lay holes on the stems. Once the yucca gets infected with them, it is no longer possible to remove the insects. They can be eradicated only by destroying the plant, and refusing to plant for several years.
Mealybugs are another pest that lives around yucca plants. Cleaning the plant with water will make it quite easy to get rid of these insects. The damage caused by these creatures is not as serious as the damage caused by weevils.
Some yucca species are susceptible to ticks belonging to the arachnid family. Tiny insects manifest themselves as visible cobwebs on the leaves of the plant, which simple water can wash away. Keeping it moist will help prevent tick infestation.
Yucca is afraid of root rot due to stagnation of water. Stem rot is one of the most common problems of yucca. The rotting of the stem is due to excessive watering, and most often it occurs in winter. Yucca do not like to sit in wet ground, so they reduce watering. If the problem has spread too far, it may no longer be possible to save the plant.
Brown or black spots on foliage are caused by bacteria or fungi. The affected leaves are removed and treated with an organic fungicide. Brown leaf tips may occur due to irregular watering. Brown spotting on the leaves can often be caused by watering from above, so it is always better to water at the base of the plant.
Yellow leaves are a normal phenomenon for the lower leaves – they die and fall off naturally, eventually giving the plant the appearance of a palm tree. If the whole plant is covered with yellow leaves, it is likely that it was watered too little or too much.
What yucca plants exist?
Yucca is represented by many different species, which can be characterized by different heights, leaf color and varying degrees of resistance to weather conditions.
One of the most popular species, often grown in European gardens, is the “Adam’s needle”. It is not only beautiful, but also resistant to low temperatures, which is typical for most European countries.
In addition to its beautiful appearance, yucca also has beneficial properties for human health. The roots and leaves contain an anti-inflammatory agent, (mainly leaves are used, although roots are also used).
The health benefits are due to one of the components of this plant – saponins. Thanks to them, the plant can help people with:
- inflammation of bones and joints;
- intestinal and digestive problems;
- increased immunity of the body.
Pay attention! Many yucca plants are not only beautiful, but also edible. The flowers can be used to decorate cakes or salads. Yucca is also a key ingredient in natural shampoo.
The plant has many advantages: purifies the air, and can remove harmful toxins from the air. In addition to using roots, leaves and flowers, yucca attracts with its appearance. Following simple recommendations, and with minimal effort of growing yucca, you can get a healthy and beautiful plant.