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Bring in an exotic touch to your four walls with yucca plants.
This woody, evergreen shrub with its spiky green leaves will make your houseplant collection alive. You will agree that once it stands in your living space, it is pretty eye-catching. The best part caring for it is easy.
What Are Yucca Plants?
The genus Yucca is made up of more than 40 perennial trees, shrubs, and plants. Only a few you can grow in your home. These are the Yucca guatemalensis, and Yuca aloifolia. Then you have the Yucca filamentosa color guard grown as an outdoor plant to add height to the landscaping.
The guard yucca and other species you find in the Caribbean and Mexico are slow-growing plants. The best part is that the color guard yucca with the other species is very drought tolerant. Today we will look at how to care for the Yucca filamentosa color guard.
Caring for these species is similar and pretty straightforward.
Color Guard Yucca Plant Care
The Yucca filamentosa color guard has broad leaves and is a shrub sometimes labelled as a cactus. The sword-shaped leaves have yellow stripes, while the edges have a white thread over them. The plant also goes by many names such as Needle-palm, Adam’s Needle, and Spoon-leaf Yucca.
Scientific Name: Yucca filamentosa
Common Name: Needle-palm, Adam’s Needle, and Spoon-leaf Yucca
Plant Type: Perennial
Native to: Southeastern United States
Shape: Shrub with sword-like leaves covered with a white thread
Maximum Size: 4 to 6feet tall
Watering Requirements: Moderate
Light Requirements: Full sunlight
Preferred Humidity: Low levels of humidity
Preferred Temperature: Cold, hardy
Soil or Potting Medium: Well-drained sandy soil
Fertilizer: Granular and liquid fertilizer
Propagation Method: Root cutting
Vulnerability: Aphids and leaf spots
Toxicity: Toxic to petts
Yucca Filamentosa Color Guard Ideal Mix
Guard yucca is not picky when it comes to soil requirements. You can grow them in rock gardens on sandy soils. The important thing is to use well-drained soil to prevent the roots from sitting in water. Alternatively, you can enrich the potting mix by adding some perlite with coarse sand.
A key factor for your Yucca filamentosa color guard is getting the right amount of sunlight. Give your desert beauty-full sun grown in a rock garden with part shade. The same applies when growing your plant indoors. Provide it with bright indirect sunlight to prevent leaf burn.
Watering Your Adam’s Needle
Okay, this is where your yucca color guard becomes picky as it is drought tolerant compared to other yucca plants. The trick is not to overwater as the shrub needs moderate watering. The rule of thumb is to water when the top layer of the soil is dry.
During early spring in the growing season, you can water your plant well. But remove the water from the drainage if grown in containers. Not removing the water will cause damage to the root system. So you can expect to water your Adam’s needle yucca every three days or longer, depending on the season.
During winter, your water schedule will change as the plant needs medium moisture to survive.
The Preferred Temperature and Humidity For Your Plant
One thing you need not worry about with your Yucca is the temperatures. You can grow your plant in temperatures ranging between 44° to 75°F (7 to 24°C). Your Yucca filamentosa can tolerate a wide selection of temperatures.
Another benefit is that this shrub does not need high humidity levels and your average living space is just right. But during winter, it helps to keep the humidity level a bit higher. You do not want your Yucca color guard becoming a hotel for pests, and the leaves can dry out.
During spring to mid-summer, you can provide your Yucca with some liquid fertilizer twice a week. Or you can use a granular feed as well.
But stop feeding your guard Yucca color in the winter months when resting. Neither is feeding your plant needed in the garden or indoors after the first year of growing or repotting.
Root Cuttings Propagation
While division is one method of propagating your plant, you can use stem cuttings and seed propagation as well.
- Take your sterile shears to cut the stems at the desired length. The best is to take cuttings from the dark brown branches.
- Remove the lower leaves and leave them to air-dry for about two hours.
- Prepare a pot with some vermiculite and place one cutting per container.
- Place the containers in the sun to part shade and water them from time to time.
- You should notice the roots growing after four weeks.
- Once the roots are long enough, you can transplant them into the garden or a bigger pot.
An interesting note is if you notice new buds forming on the mother plant where you did the cuttings. Then, you might want to replant your mother plant.
Propagating From Seeds
The Adam’s needle plant you can also propagate using the seeds, but it does take patience.
- When the creamy white flowers form pods, you can take the seeds and place them in lukewarm water for a day.
- Place the seeds in well-drained soils such as coconut fiber.
- Take a spray bottle to moisture the seeds and give them some time to germinate.
- Once your babies reach about six inches, then you can repot them in a container or the garden.
USDA Growth Zone
The growing zone for Adam’s needle is hardiness zones 4 to 10. You should have no problem growing your Yucca filamentosa color guard indoors or in rock gardens.
Potting and Pruning
When growing guard Yucca outdoors can reach incredible heights about six feet to fill up the landscaping. Yet when grown as an indoor plant, it does not become that tall. So even repotting is not that big a deal and is done every two years as it is a slow grower.
But as it is a top-heavy plant, it does need pruning. The best time to transplant your dessert beauty is in spring. So if you do not want your color guard Yucca to grow too tall, remove your plant from the pot.
Then, use a sharp shear to cut the trunk into two pieces. Place the rooted end in the soil mix and water it. You should notice new leaves growing in a few weeks.
Yucca Plant Varieties
As mentioned, the guard Yucca is only one of the 40 species you can find. You do find the guard Yucca with variegated foliage as seen here:
The plant bears green leaves outfitted with golden-yellow edges. During midsummer, it provides a spectacular show of flower stalks that are bell-shaped. The blooms display a creamy white flower dangling from the stems.
The Yucca is another evergreen shrub that forms clumps that grow tall. The variegated leaves are yellow with green stripes displaying a gold color.
Another color guard Yucca variety is this gorgeous plant with a white bell-shaped flower and woody stems. The evergreen leaves look like swords with their yellow variegation.
Yucca Plant Diseases & Pests
While your woody friend is a remarkable plant, it is not perfect, and there are three pests to keep an eye on:
- Black weevil
These are some of the insects that can bother your color guard Yucca. Another concern is root rot caused by compost that is too moist. Other concerns are:
- Yellowing leaves from over or under-watering.
- Stunted growth can mean it needs more sunlight.
- Droopy leaves are a sign of too little light, and best to move them to a brighter spot.
- Leaf spots can be because you are watering it with limewater and best to use distilled or rainwater instead.
- But if the marks are brown or black, you need to deal with fungi or bacteria caused by pests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most parts of the Yucca plant you can eat when cooked. But do not eat the portions if you have not cooked them as the sap is toxic to humans and pets.
When you get poked by the Yucca, it can deliver a toxic chemical known as saponins to your body. Sometimes it leads to damaging red blood cells in the area.
You can cook and eat different parts of the Yucca plant. Still, the only section of the guard Yucca you can eat raw is the flowers that have a sweet taste or add them to stews or soups.
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