Yucca is a genus of perennial shrubs and trees in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Agavoideae. Its 40–50 species are notable for their rosettes of evergreen, tough, sword-shaped leaves and large terminal panicles of white or whitish flowers. They are native to the hot and dry parts of the Americas and the Caribbean.
Here are 61 different types of yucca plants with pictures.
Types of Yucca Plants
Yucca aloifolia (Aloe Yucca)
Yucca aloifolia is an erect arborescent species, simple or densely branched, with at its termination or the end of each branch a rosette of very sharp-pointed, rigid leaves, their margins finely-toothed, but without loose filaments. It sometimes attains a height of 7(-8) meters, but under severe climatic conditions, it will usually grow as a robust shrub.
The leaves are fairly thin, dagger-shaped and very sharp-tipped. The stems are covered in the remains of the old, dry leaves. Inflorescences are borne erectly, but many widely cultivated forms of the species are shy to flower if grown away from their habitat. The flowers are large, and showy, waxy and white sometimes tinged purplish, so that the plant is popular as an ornamental.
Unlike Yucca elephantipes, the stems of Yucca aloifolia often topple over to snake along the ground or over surrounding plants, unless they are mechanically supported.
Yucca angustissima (Narrowleaf Yucca)
Yucca angustissima is a low-lying species, solitary or forming colonies of basal rosettes up to 3 m in diameter. The leaves are long and thin, usually less than 60 cm long but rarely more than 1.5 cm across and forming a few fine slightly curled fibers.
Flowers are white to cream or greenish-white, pendant, borne in racemes on stalks up to 2 m tall. Fruit is a dry capsule with black seeds. It is closely allied to Yucca glauca.
Yucca angustissima var. avia (Bird Yucca)
Yucca angustissima var. kanabensis (Kanab Yucca)
Yucca angustissima var. toftiae (Toft’s Yucca)
Yucca arkansana (Arkansas Yucca)
Yucca baccata (Banana Yucca)
Yucca baccata, also called “Banana yucca”, is recognized by having (usually) no leafy stem, the crowns sitting level with the ground varies from 30 to 90 cm tall and wide. The flower stems are usually short nested inside or just above the stiff leaves, while the fruits are quite long and banana-shaped, turning reddish when ripe.
In the spring of the year, a green stalk that looks a little like asparagus emerges from the crown of the plant. Later, the young flowers start to develop, opening at the top of the stalk first. At full development, the flower stalk lengthens to support the large creamy white flowers.
The yucca in blossom is very handsome and is during this stage that the plant is most attractive to photographers and painters and is often sought for book covers and calendars depicting the great Southwest. Yucca baccata occurs in a large area of the North American deserts and exhibits much variation across its range. Two varieties are recognized, the nominate form and var. brevifolia.
Yucca baccata var. brevifolia (Arizona Yucca)
Yucca baileyi (Navajo Yucca)
Yucca brevifolia(Joshua Tree)
Yucca brevifolia is a tree-like species, usually solitary, erect, 3-12 tall, but occasionally up to 15 meters and canopy diameters of up to 6 meters. This tree has a top-heavy branch system. The long, pointed, rigid, leaves are borne in a dense spiral arrangement at the ends of branches.
Yucca brevifolia, as the name suggests, has shorter leaves than other species of yucca; and it is taller than most. Flowers appear in short, panicles 30–55 cm tall and 30–38 cm broad, the individual flowers are erect, 4–7 cm tall, with six creamy white to green tepals.
If it survives the rigors of the desert, it can live for hundreds of years; some specimens survive a thousand years. Two varieties are recognized, the nominate form and Yucca brevifolia var. jaegeriana.
Yucca brevifolia var. jaegeriana (Eastern Joshua Tree)
Yucca campestris (Plains Yucca)
Yucca capensis (Cape Region Yucca)
Yucca carnerosana (Giant Spanish-Dagger)
Yucca carnerosana is a large shrub or small tree, and one of the tree species of yucca, sometimes reaching 6 meters tall with a massive trunk about 30 cm in diameter, capped with a beautiful symmetrical rosette of leaves up to 2.5 meters in diameter.
The trunks of this species are quite robust and they are densely covered with dried old leaves. On a tall specimen, the oldest leaves may eventually loosen and fall away to reveal the gray-brown trunk. The leaves of Yucca carnerosana are swordlike and to 1 meter long, with curling fibrous threads along their edges and a stout sharp tip.
It flowers only once every three to four years, producing flower clusters up to 2.1 m tall and weighing 30 kg. The flower color is creamy-white.
Yucca cernua (Nodding Yucca)
Yucca coahuilensis (Coahuila Yucca)
Yucca constricta (Buckley’s Yucca)
Yucca decipiens (Palm Yucca)
Yucca desmetiana is a soft-leaved yucca that has graceful, arching, long rubbery leaves, that are bluish-grey when young, turning burgundy as they mature (especially in winter).
Usually, it is a single stem rosette when young and becomes multi-stemmed with age. The plant is cultivated as an ornamental in many places because of its colored foliage.
Yucca elata (Soaptree Yucca)
Yucca elata var. verdiensis (Verdi Yucca)
Yucca endlichiana (Creeping Dwarf Yucca)
Yucca faxoniana (Faxon Yucca)
Yucca filamentosa (Common Yucca)
Yucca filamentosa is a multi-suckering herbaceous perennial shrub mostly trunkless up to 1 m tall (very seldom indistinctly arborescent), with heads of 75 cm long, filamentous, blue-green, strappy leaves.
Yucca filamentosa is readily distinguished from other yucca species by white, thready filaments along the leaf margins.
Yucca filamentosa f. variegata (Variegated Common Yucca)
Yucca filamentosa subs. concava
Yucca filifera (Tree Yucca)
Yucca filifera is a tall, heavily branched yucca up to 10 m tall and developing a massive spreading trunk base with age. The leaves are straight, sword-shaped, growing in rosette-shaped bunches from the end of each stem.
The inflorescence hangs over and is made of many separate white flowers. The plants take many years to develop into large specimens.
Yucca flaccida (Weak-leaf Yucca)
Yucca gigantea (Spineless Yucca)
Yucca gigantea (syn: Yucca elephantipes), popularly called “spineless yucca” as well as “elephant yucca”, is an evergreen species that may grow into a rather large palm-like shrub or small tree with a very noticeable swollen base that tapers up to a slender branched trunk.
Both trunk and branches produce large, compact clusters of dark green leaves. The leaves are pliable and lack the sharp spines on the tips that are so characteristic of most yuccas. This is one big yucca, getting up to 9m tall or more.
This plant has become very popular as a houseplant since the end of the 1970s and its variants are currently being used in most modern interior landscapes. Its worldwide popularity as a houseplant has created a minor industry in Central America.
Yucca gigantea is a member of the agave family and is also closely related to the lilies. Like other yuccas, this one has white bell-shaped flowers borne on tall stalks above the foliage in summer.
Yucca glauca (Great Plains Yucca)
Yucca glauca subs. stricta
Yucca gloriosa (Moundlily Yucca)
Yucca gloriosa is an evergreen shrub or small tree forming colonies of rosettes usually with several stems arising from the base, the base thickening in adult specimens. The long sword-like leaves rising from the ground or from woody trunks up to 5 meters long are dark green, spiky and stiff and often razor-sharp, with a pointed brown terminal spine.
In midsummer, huge panicles up to 2.5 m long of exquisite pendulous, bell-shaped, white flowers, sometimes tinged purple or red appear, in complete contrast to the leaves, often up to a meter long. These are so long-lasting and so striking in appearance, rich and creamy in texture and heady in fragrance, that the yuccas have long been cultivated in gardens and parks across the world as a feature plant.
The fruit is a leathery, elongated berry up to 8 cm long. Yucca gloriosa is probably the most widely grown Yucca species with many cultivars, hybrids and selections.
Yucca gloriosa var. tristis
Yucca harrimaniae (Dwarf Yucca)
Yucca harrimaniae var. gilbertiana
Yucca intermedia (Intermediate Yucca)
Yucca jaliscensis (Jalisco Yucca)
Yucca lacandonica (Tropical Yucca)
Yucca linearifolia (Linear-leaf Yucca)
Yucca linearifolia is a slow-growing tree-like yucca up to 3.5 m tall, that has hundreds of narrow pliant pale blue-green leaves up to 40 cm long in a globular head standing above the ground on a stout trunk that can reach to 1,2-3.5 m tall with time.
It is one of the most beautiful yucca and in the past has been considered a form of Yucca rostrata (Yucca rostata var. linearis), but recent treatment has placed it in its own species noting that its distinctive combination of fleshy fruit and narrow, linear, denticulate leaves sets it apart from all other yuccas. The species is the only fleshy-fruited Yucca with narrow denticulate leaves.
Yucca louisianensis (Gulf Coast Yucca)
Yucca madrensis (Mountain Yucca)
Yucca mixtecana (Thin-stemmed Oaxaca-Puebla Yucca)
Yucca necopina (Glen Rose Yucca)
Yucca neomexicana (New Mexican Blue Yucca)
Yucca pallida (Pale Yucca)
Yucca periculosa (Izote Yucca)
Yucca potosina (Potosí Palm Yucca)
Yucca queretaroensis (Queretaro Yucca)
Yucca queretaroensis is a spectacular, single-stemmed upright plant with a tall trunk up to 4 m high, with a large, prominent skirt of dead leaves hanging around the stem underneath the crown of living leaves.
The tops of these trunks bear bright green leaves that are very narrow, no more than 3 m across, square in cross-section. Flowering stalks rise up to 1 m above the crown, bearing white flowers. Yucca queretaroensis is considered by many to be the most beautiful Yucca species.
Yucca recurvifolia (Curve-leaf Yucca)
Yucca pendula: Care and Propagation Guide
Yucca reverchonii (San Angelo Yucca)
Yucca rigida (Rigid Blue Yucca)
Yucca rostrata (Beaked Yucca)
Yucca rostrata is a slow-growing tree-like yucca with upright stems and a beautiful shimmering topknot of slender grey-blue foliage. The leaf margins are minutely toothed and translucent yellowish.
Large clusters of white flowers bloom on yellow-orange colored stalks that rise above the foliage on mature plants in late spring. The specific epithet ‘rostrata’ means “beaked” in reference to either the shape of the flower buds or appendages on the fruit. Yucca rostrata, particularly the larger plants, is perhaps the most handsome yucca.
Yucca rupicola (Twisted-leaf Yucca)
Yucca schidigera (Mojave Yucca)
Yucca schottii (Schott’s Yucca)
Yucca thompsoniana (Thompson’s Yucca)
Yucca torreyi (Torrey’s Yucca)
Yucca treculeana (Spanish Dagger)
Yucca utahensis (Utah Yucca)
Yucca valida (Datilillo Yucca)
1,000 Types Of Succulents [With Pictures]
How to Care for Different Types of Yucca Plants
Growing different types of Yucca plants require a bit of care on your part to ensure that they can grow in a healthy manner and thrive under the right conditions. You can go through these care conditions in further detail below to know what to expect.
Yucca enjoys being under full sunlight. If possible, therefore, you should try to place this plant on a balcony or a windowsill that receives such full and bright sunlight for up to 8 hours every day. Accommodate some shade into this routine too, especially in the afternoons if you live in a hot climate.
You can also use grow lights if you are growing the plant in a greenhouse or an indoor setting.
Yucca is a succulent, which means that it has provisions in place that can store and hold water for a sufficient time. You should still maintain a watering routine that involves soaking the soil in water and waiting for the next watering until the soil becomes fully dry.
This means that you might need to tweak the watering based on the season as well. In either case, do not overwater the plant as this can lead to root rot.
Use soil that is well-draining. You can manage this with regular potting soil made for succulents while also adding substances like peat, moss, sand, perlite and pebbles to loosen the soil up a bit and make it coarser. You can also add some organic substances to enhance the quality.
Make sure that the pH level of the soil is close to neutral, although slightly acidic soil can also work well.
You can make use of a balanced fertilizer for this. Get one from a nearby store or online and make sure it can suit all purposes so that you can make good use of it for other plants that you might have. It should also have a slow-release function that can ensure that a single application will last well for the growing season.
You should apply this fertilizer to the soil at the beginning of the growing season, which is usually around spring.
In general, Yucca prefers warmer climates. However, it is still hardy between USDA zones 9a and 11b. Ideally, even in winter, you should ensure that the temperatures do not fall lower than 32°F even though the plant can survive up to 18°F.
In such low temperatures, you should shift your plant indoors and prevent contact with frost. Make sure you almost stop watering in winter as well so that the plant can rest well in its dormancy.
Root rot is a disease that Yucca is vulnerable to, although this is avoidable. There are not too many pests that trouble the plant on a regular basis, but it can always help to track the plant for any signs of distress.
Some pests like scales and bugs might occasionally come around, but you can get rid of them with insecticide, dish soap or essential oils.
You do not need to worry about pruning Yucca too often, especially since the older leaves automatically tend to shed and fall off once the plant becomes more established. If you notice some dead or withering leaves that are still on the plant, however, you should certainly prune them off with a pair of shears.
You can use any ceramic, earthen or plastic pot or container to grow this succulent plant. Make sure it comes with a drainage hole that can get rid of the excess water and is also wide and deep enough. You can then pour some soil into it and wait for the plant to grow out.
Whenever you notice that the plant has grown big enough (if it is growing slowly or the roots are growing out of the drainage hole), you should repot it into a slightly bigger pot while also using new soil. If the plant is fairly big, simply replace the top layer.
Propagating Different Types of Yucca Plants
You can use seeds or stem cuttings to propagate Yucca. Source the seeds and rub some sandpaper on them, after which you can sow them a couple of inches deep into the soil in the pot.
You can also cut out the stems or offsets from a mature plant and let them dry out a bit. Let them develop a callous and then sow them into a prepared pot full of soil. Care for them as described above.