The Spineless Yucca, sometimes known as Yucca elephantipes, but botanically known as Yucca gigantea, makes a great statement in any home, though it’s more commonly grown as an outdoor plant.
It’s not difficult to care for indoors, but there are a few things that you should keep in mind to get the best out of this plant, as well as to prevent any problems.
Here’s what you need to know.
Spineless Yucca At A Glance
Spineless Yuccas come from Central America and Mexico, and while they can reach up to 49 feet high in their natural habitat, it’s more likely to be a few feet tall indoors.
This plant is very low-maintenance in the right conditions, and as it is a slow-growing plant, this means it won’t soon outgrow the space you have in mind, and it also helps that it is fairly resistant to pests and disease.
This plant is instantly recognizable for its thick brown trunk (a little like an elephant’s foot, which is where the previously accepted name Yucca elephantipes comes from), and elongated, narrow leaves that are quite prickly to the touch.
Spineless Yucca Plant Care
Ideal Light For Spineless Yuccas
Spineless Yuccas prefer bright and indirect light for most of the day, but they will do well with a little direct sunlight in the morning.
Try to avoid placing this plant in a dark position, as the growth will be stunted, which is not ideal when the plant grows quite slowly, to begin with.
Rotate The Plant Regularly
Your Spineless Yucca will lean towards the light, so rotate it every once in a while to keep the growth even and balanced.
It’s much easier to prevent a plant from leaning than to try and fix it when it’s nearly falling over!
Temperature And Humidity Needs
Spineless Yuccas will cope with a wide range of temperatures, anything just above freezing to 90°F, but average household temperatures are better for this plant.
You can also increase humidity if you wish, but make sure not to go overboard, as this plant needs plenty of air circulation.
Spineless Yucca Compost
It’s worth keeping in mind that this plant is native to desert regions, so it needs airy, nutrient-poor, gritty soil.
A regular houseplant compost will not do for Spineless Yuccas. Instead, use a cactus and succulent compost mix, and add a little perlite or pumice to the mix to help keep the roots healthy (see also Perlite VS Pumice).
When To Water A Spineless Yucca
Spineless Yuccas will prefer to be underwatered rather than overwatered, as they can tolerate dry spells with ease.
Allow the soil to completely dry out between watering. Exactly how often will depend on the unique growing conditions in your home, so keep checking the soil.
Make sure to tip out any water that pools at the bottom of the saucer or pot. Leaving your Spineless Yucca sitting in water is a recipe for disaster!
Should You Feed Spineless Yuccas?
You can feed Spineless Yuccas if you feel your plant needs a boost, but doing it often can cause more harm than good.
Feed your plant sparingly with a fertilizer formulated for cacti, once a month or less.
Consider The Pot Type
It’s worth considering what sort of pot you should grow this plant in, as it can get top-heavy after a while.
What type of pot you grow this plant in also affects drainage.
Terracotta pots and unglazed ceramic will hold onto moisture dramatically less than plastic, helping to prevent root rot, and it will also mean that the plant has a better anchorage.
Should You Prune Spineless Yuccas?
You shouldn’t need to prune your plant unless you want to propagate it, or if several yellow or dead leaves are doing nothing on the plant.
Always prune during the growing season, wearing gloves so you don’t get scratched by the leaves.
How To Repot Spineless Yuccas
It’s a good thing this plant doesn’t need to be repotted often, as the leaves are sharp and can make for a painful experience if you’re not careful.
Always repot during the growing season, and only disturb the plant’s roots when they have outgrown their current pot.
You can tell if this is the case, as the soil will dry out much quicker than it used to, to the point where you will struggle to keep the plant hydrated.
It will also be obvious when the plant needs repotting as the roots will peek out from the drainage holes.
Tip the pot upside down, keeping one hand around the base of the plant, touching the soil. Ease it out of the pot, and repot into fresh soil, one pot size upward than the original.
If you keep your hands around the base of the plant, the leaves won’t scratch you.
Propagating Spineless Yuccas
You can propagate Spineless Yuccas, but it’s a little more fiddly than propagating leafy tropical houseplants.
You will need a sharp and clean saw. If offsets are growing on the trunk, you can separate these from the main plant, or you can behead the top portion of the trunk, making sure to cut at least 4 inches below the leaves.
Whichever you choose, let the cutting air dry for a few days, which will give the wound time to close a little, preventing it from rotting.
Then it’s ready for planting. Put the cut end into a suitable compost mix, making sure the cutting is deep enough so that it stands up on its own.
Put the pot somewhere bright and indirect, giving them time to adapt before even thinking about putting them near direct sunlight, even morning sunlight.
Keep the soil damp but not wet. Within about a month or so, your cutting should develop roots, at which point you can care for it as a normal plant.
Problems To Watch Out For
Overwatering is one of the biggest problems when it comes to growing Spineless Yuccas, so make sure you don’t overdo it.
Only water when the soil is completely dry, and repeat. Make sure that you water as close to the surface as possible, to avoid getting water on the trunk or leaves, as this can cause fungal problems.
Spineless Yuccas are generally resistant to most problems if they are kept in the right conditions, but another thing to watch out for is pests.
Beasties such as mealybugs, scale, and aphids are the ones to watch out for, and if you do see signs of pests, treat the plant immediately with horticultural soap.
Repeat applications as per the instructions.
Other Things To Consider
It’s worth knowing that all parts of Spineless Yucca plants are considered dangerous to both people and pets, so you may want to consider a different species if you have curious hands or paws reaching for your plants.
Keep It Away From High-Traffic Areas
The name Spineless Yucca is a little misleading. While it is true, this plant will still attack you if you go near the leaves, as they will scratch your skin.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep it somewhere that you don’t brush past very often to avoid scratching yourself. It’s more painful than it sounds.
Spineless Yuccas are beautiful plants, but they are not suitable for rooms where pets and children frequent, not just for their painful leaves, but also for their toxicity.
These plants are great for those who go traveling often or don’t want to dedicate a lot of time to plant care, as they need minimal attention from you, provided that you get all elements of care in balance.
Don’t forget to check the plant every week or so to see if it needs watering, only doing so when the soil is completely dry.