July 1, 2018
A plant I remember from my growing-up years in Michigan is yucca. You won’t be surprised that this plant is also right at home here in Mississippi. Yucca can give the impression of being a rough and tough plant. Botanically speaking, yucca features a basal rosette of rigid, sword-shaped, spine-tipped leaves; up to 30 inches long and four inches wide. A very descriptive common name for yucca is Spanish Dagger. It’s really easy to get stabbed by these leaves; I know from experience. Typically these leaves are a bright to olive green, but I really like the variegated yucca. These grow in a clump up to four feet tall. The variegated leaves are a bluish-green with gold transitioning to creamy white margins. In late spring a tall flower stalk can emerge from the center of each clump of leaves. These stalks can be up to eight feet tall. The nodding bell-shaped flowers are creamy white and formed as a massive terminal panicle on the stalk. There have been reports of yucca flowering more than what is typically observed this year. I believe this is a result of the extreme cold temperatures we experienced in our Mississippi gardens earlier this winter. Yucca should be grown in the full sun for the best growth and flowering. These plants are right at home growing in the edges of wooded areas, but also fit in well right in the front yard. Yucca plants are quite drought tolerant, if you forget to water from time to time, they’ll be okay. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.