Yucca gloriosa is a broad-leaved evergreen and one of the many attractive Yucca plant species of the family Asparagaceae.
It is commonly known as Spanish dagger. You may hear Yucca gloriosa referred to by the common names:
- Soft Tipped Yucca
- Spanish Dagger
- Moundlily yucca
- Palm Lily
The plant genus (Yucca) name comes from the Carbi term for manihot. The specific species ‘gloriosa’, means glorious or splendid.
The mature plant is an evergreen shrub or a small tree. Young plants present more of an appearance of a herbaceous perennial.
The plant grows naturally in a wide variety of settings including:
- Sandy Woods
- Coastal Plains
- Sand Dunes
It can be found growing wild throughout many southern states and as far north as North Carolina.
This plant is native to the southeastern United States, and it is tolerant of both drought and salt.
Yucca Gloriosa Care
Size and Growth
In an ideal setting, the plant grows as 8′ feet tall, makes a great accent plant and loves full sun.
NOTE: There is also a variegated variety known as Yucca gloriosa ‘variegata’
Flowering Plants and Fragrance
Spanish Dagger produces an abundance of fragrant, creamy white flowers in the late summer months (typically through July and August).
The pretty, bell-shaped flowers grow in panicles or clusters, which may be 4″ inches long.
The flowers start out greenish and then transition to cream colored with pink, red or purple accents.
They become six ribbed fruits or seed pods.
The clusters of white flowers grow at the end of stalks that may rise as high as 8′ feet above the plant.
Soft Tipped Yucca’s spine-tipped, sword-shaped blue-green leaves grow from a central stem or trunk.
Individual leaves may grow to be as long as 2-1/2′ feet and 3″ inches wide.
The leaves are semi-soft, but be careful handling gloriosa because of the terminal spines.
The individual leaves are somewhat flexible, but the tips can be a bit dangerous.
Light & Temperature
Although gloriosa can do well in a dry setting, it may suffer under full sun in a very hot settings (e.g. Arizona). Too much sun can cause leaves to turn yellow.
This interesting plant is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 6 – 10 and will tolerate temperatures as low as 10° degrees Fahrenheit.
Watering & Feeding
Although Yucca plants are drought tolerant and can survive very dry settings, it’s best to water on a regular basis.
Provide deep watering when the soil dries. Never allow Yucca plants to stand in water as this produces necrotic, black spots on the leaves.
Because the Spanish dagger is native to the southeastern US, it is naturally adapted to areas with high rainfall.
In a true desert setting, such as those found in the southwestern states, the plant may suffer.
Yuccas kept outdoors often do not need fertilizer.
Those grown in pots may need a weak application of a 3-1-2 ratio, slow-release fertilizer every couple of months during the growing season.
Soil & Transplanting
It’s easy to grow this striking plant in almost any well-draining soil. It is very tolerant of rocky, dry and sandy soils.
Yuccas prefer an alkaline soil with a pH value of 5.5 to 6.5.
Crushed dolomite may be added to the water from time to time to maintain alkalinity.
Grooming & Maintenance
Grooming and pruning are unnecessary. When leaves die, cut or pull them off.
When flowers die, cut the flower stalk all the way down.
Propagating Moundlily Yucca
Yucca plants propagate from stem cuttings or from seeds.
Growing Yucca From Cuttings
It’s best to take cuttings in the springtime. But, it is possible to successfully root Yucca from cuttings throughout the summer.
- Take cuttings from mature growth rather than from freshly grown stems.
- Fresh growth is more likely to rot.
- Use a clean, sharp gardening pruner or knife to take cuttings.
- Each one should be at least 6″ inches long.
- Cuttings should be stripped of all but the top few leaves to reduce stress on the cutting.
- Place the prepared cutting in a cool, dry, shady area with good ventilation.
- Leave it undisturbed for several days so it can dry out. This helps stimulate good rooting.
The next step is incredibly simple.
- Poke your cutting into a pot of good soil and place it in an area with consistent indirect lighting.
- Within a month, it should begin growing roots on its own and showing some signs of leaf growth.
- At this time, give it a moderate watering and simply continue to care for it as a mature plant.
Growing Yucca From Seed
Yucca plants also propagate from seed. Gather the seeds from the plant at the end of the blooming season.
- For the best success in germination, scar the seeds with sandpaper to remove a little of the coating and make it easier for them to sprout.
- Place your scarred seeds into small, individual pots filled with a well-draining mix (e.g. cactus or succulent mix).
- The seed should be planted about half an inch deep.
- Put the pot in a warm, sunny window and keep the soil evenly moist until seedlings appear. The should take a week or two.
- If seedlings do not appear, let the soil dry thoroughly and then start watering it again.
Main Gloriosa Pest or Diseases
The Spanish dagger does not experience any serious problems with disease or insect predation as long as it is not over watered.
As with most plants, excessive watering leads to problems with fungal infections and root rot.
Weakened plants attract pests, and weakened plants are more susceptible to spider mites.
Is Spanish Dagger Yucca Plants Considered Toxic or Poisonous to People, Kids, Pets?
Although many parts of the yucca plant can be processed to make food and beverages, leaves or seeds can cause adverse reactions when ingested by pets.
This is because they contain steroidal saponins.
Ingestion may cause weakness, drooling, vomiting, dilated pupils and loss of coordination.
Is The Gloriosa Considered Invasive?
This native plant is not considered invasive in the US. Its range is limited.
Suggested Uses For Dagger Yucca
Yucca plants make a great addition to landscapes and gardens surrounding houses with Spanish architecture.
They do well in tropical and subtropical settings and be used in mass groupings or as individual specimen plants.
It does well as a border plant to mark property lines and used to help prevent erosion on exposed hillsides.
The plant does well in all manner of adverse circumstances, including situations with a lot of air pollution, eroding soil, drought, and attacks by deer and rabbits.