Yucca elephantipes (YUK-uh Ell-uh-fan-TY-peez) is a fast growing member of the Asparagaceae family of plants hailing from Mexico.
This attractive perennial plant can be grown year-round outdoors in a desert or tropical setting, making it a lovely houseplant in any climate.
You may hear it commonly referred to as the following:
- Giant Yucca
- Stick Yucca
- Soft-Tip Yucca
- Soft-Leaf Yucca
- Spineless Yucca
- Yucca Gigantea
This is because the leaves of the yucca cane have no spines.
- Soft Tip Yucca Elephantipes Care
- How To Propagate Soft Tip Yucca Elephantipes
- Soft Tip Yucca Elephantipes Main Pest or Diseases
- Suggested Soft Tip Yucca Elephantipes Uses
Soft Tip Yucca Elephantipes Care
It’s interesting to note that Spineless Yucca plants and several types of Dracaena look quite similar and require very similar care.
If you know how to care for the Dracaena massangeana corn plant or Dracaena marginata, you will surely succeed with your Yucca Elephantipes. And as long as you have the right yucca houseplant care, you have nothing to worry about!
Size and Growth
Soft Tip Yucca is a fast-growing plant with an upright growth habit that can attain a height of 30′ feet tall in its natural setting and is considered the tallest yucca. They commonly reach their full size when grown as outdoor plants.
The thick, gray trunk of the yucca tree resembles an elephant’s foot and leg – hence the specific epithet, elephantipes. Each plant usually has several attractive trunks.
When kept as a container plant or houseplant, the yucca cane is unlikely to grow more than 6′ feet tall.
Flowering and Fragrance
When grown outdoors in a conducive setting, your Stick Yucca plant may produce spikes of white or creamy bell-shaped flowers early in the springtime and again during the late summer and early autumn.
Indoor yucca plants may rarely bloom. However, the white flowers are very sweet-smelling and quite attractive to pollinators of all sorts.
Blooms transition into small, oval, nut-like brown fruits. The fruit is not attractive to wildlife and doesn’t create a lot of litter around the tree. It is unclear whether the fruit is edible; however, it seems it is not especially tasty.
The leaves of the Giant Yucca can grow to be 4′ feet long. Unlike some other types of yucca species plants with spiky leaves, this narrow plant has soft foliage with flexible bluish-green strap-like yucca leaves that are not especially threatening, but it’s still wise to handle the plant with care.
The tips of the ever-green Yucca leaves can be a bit sharp, and the edges may be rather blade-like. Handle it as you would Johnson grass or some types of ornamental grass.
Light and Temperature
Spineless yucca cane plant thrives in warm climates in full sun and plenty of bright light or partial shade. In an outdoor setting, provide at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day, promoting flowering and healthy growth.
It’s interesting to note that young plants like more sun. Mature yucca plants will perform better with a little less sun and are perfectly okay with warm, dry conditions. But keep in mind that too little light will result in slower growth, and you don’t want that.
Luckily, as a yucca plant in the landscape matures, it tends to shade one another and provide the desired conditions.
Spineless Yucca is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9 and higher.
Indoors, give your Yucca plant southern exposure and keep temperatures consistently warm.
It does best in average room temperature and humidity but can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Generally speaking, if you are comfortable, your yucca will be comfortable.
Watering and Feeding
These drought-tolerant plants have light-to-moderate watering needs. As with most succulents and cacti, you will do well with a soak and dry watering regimen.
As a general rule of thumb, always check the soil moisture before watering. After that, water them thoroughly and deeply, and then allow the soil to dry almost completely before watering thoroughly again. Moreover, ensure that excess water comes from the drainage holes when watering.
Ensure that your Yucca elephantipes don’t sit in damp, soggy soil for too long because it’s likely to succumb to root rot. Signs of root rot include soft stems, yellow leaves, or leaning stems.
This desert plant also doesn’t require extra humidity, but it’s a good practice to mist your yucca cane plant occasionally.
For the most part, yucca plants don’t need fertilizer. This is especially true for plants in the landscape. A top dressing of worm castings in the springtime should more than suffice in this situation.
For houseplants, a light feeding of slow-release fertilizer (NPK:19-6-12) or liquid fertilizer seasonally is acceptable for your Stick yucca. Still, really, if you repot annually in the springtime with fresh soil or a good-quality, well-draining potting mix, you probably won’t need to fertilize at all.
Soil and Transplanting
These carefree plants are happy in a variety of soils as long there is excellent drainage. A moderate pH level (5.5-6.5) is preferred.
Yucca cane will do best in well-drained soil or light, gravelly soil containing ample amounts of organic matter to provide the right balance of nutrients, water retention, and drainage. This plant also thrives well in sandy soil.
The ideal mix for potted yucca plants is your potting soil mixed with coarse sand and perlite.
Repot your yucca cane only every two or three years in spring, as this plant does well when slightly pot-bound. Place the yucca plant in fresh potting soil and increase the container size by one larger than the plant’s root ball.
Grooming and Maintenance
Trim away dead or dying leaves and deadhead spent flowers of the Stick yucca plant as needed.
Cutting the top off the yucca stem also helps control the plant’s growth. Moreover, snipping off the bottom leaves of the yucca plant will also give it an upward growth appearance.
How To Propagate Soft Tip Yucca Elephantipes
You can propagate Soft-Leaf Yucca from stem cuttings taken from a mature plant.
To do this, remove excess leaves from the base of the cutting and simply place the cutting into a small pot of good quality, well-draining succulent or cactus potting mix.
Place the yucca plant pot in a warm, sheltered area with bright, indirect light while waiting for the good root system to establish.
Water thoroughly, and keep the potting medium evenly moist until you begin to see new growth. This should happen within a month.
Once the cutting is established, transition to soak-and-dry watering.
How to Propagate Yucca Plant From A Cutting
Soft Tip Yucca Elephantipes Main Pest or Diseases
Overwatering and excessive fertilizing are the main causes of problems with these hardy, carefree plants. Lack of light and warmth will also cause problems.
All of these imbalances can lead to the development of fungal diseases such as root rot or leaf spots. Implementing proper watering techniques is the best way to prevent any root diseases.
Yucca plants that are compromised in this way may also be subject to pest infestation by common plant pests. Of particular concern are the following:
- Black weevils
- Soft scale insects
- Spider mites
- Yucca moth borers
A good way to reduce the risk of your yucca cane being attacked by pests is to endure the air humidity isn’t too low.
Is the plant considered toxic or poisonous to people, kids, and pets?
All yucca cane plants contain steroidal compounds called saponins which are toxic. The plant’s leaves can be sharp along the edges.
Keep yucca plants out of the reach of kids, pets, and livestock. Wear gloves when you trim your plant, dust the leaves, repot, etc.
Is the plant considered invasive?
Yucca plants have invasive roots that can spread far and wide underground and may cause damage to walkways, your home’s foundation, and to plumbing. For this reason, keeping your yucca cane contained in a planter or raised bed garden is a good idea.
If you are going to plant directly into the landscape, put some distance between your plant and any structure it might eventually damage.
Suggested Soft Tip Yucca Elephantipes Uses
Yucca Gigantea makes a very attractive houseplant or container plant. When grown outdoors, it makes a nice focal point with its staggering heights in your pollinator garden or centerpiece for your rock garden.
Because these plants are very drought tolerant, yucca cane plants make excellent additions to xeriscaping plans, especially in locations with arid climates. They also resist browsing by deer and rabbits.
Plants grown outdoors are more likely to bloom, and the blooms are edible! They are also a good source of potassium and calcium and make a pretty addition to a cold salad.
Moreover, they are ideal for brightening up corners of the room as tall indoor plants because of their rare flowers.