The yucca most commonly available as an indoor plant in New Zealand is the Yucca Elephantipes. Known variously as the Spineless Yucca, Spanish Dagger, Adam’s Needle, Spanish Bayonet and Soapweed yuccas are hardy perennials that generally range from 30 cm to 2.5 meters in height. They have thick woody stems that bear, at their upper ends, clusters of long, dark-green, spear-shaped leaves.
During late spring and summer, yuccas may produce dramatic clusters of white, bell-shaped flowers. So striking are these flowers that early settlers of the south-western United States called them “Lamparas de Dios” or “Lanterns of God”. Pollination and proper yucca care are necessary for the formation of these flowers on indoor plants.
The single most important element of good yucca care is watering. Yucca’s like to be reasonably dry and suffer badly from over watering. Water about once every ten days. You can tell when it’s time to water by checking the soil – it should be dry down to a depth of about 2.5 cm.
Indications of poor yucca care due to watering are:
- Leaves show brown tips surrounded by a yellow halo – too much water.
- Leaves turn yellow or brown all over – too little water.
Happily, yuccas are resistant to most pests. Probably the worst thing you’ll find is an infestation of scale or mealy bug. If this occurs, just spray the plant with a solution of dishwashing liquid and water. If that doesn’t do the trick use a commercial insecticide like Neem Oil.