In this step-by-step guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about growing spineless yucca plants home. While there are many impressive types of Yucca plants native to deserts worldwide, few are appropriate as house plants. Spineless Yucca, also known as Yucca elephantipes or Yucca gigantea, is one exception. It can grow larger than other Yuccas in the wild, yet easily stays a manageable size when placed indoors in a pot.
Unlike most other Yucca species, the Spineless Yucca isn’t stiff and sharp-edged. Other types of Yucca can be downright dangerous to keep indoors due to their blade-like leaves. As the name suggests, this variety has softer and safer foliage.
Spineless Yucca is a part of the Yucca genus, including many other flowering succulents native to the desert. There are around 50 plants in the genus. The family for this plant is Asparagaceae, which includes asparagus, dracaena, agave, and many related plants.
Preferring a warm outdoor environment, Spineless Yucca is native to Central America. They’re common throughout Mexico, Belize, and the surrounding countries.
This type of Yucca has an almost palm-like appearance with long, pointed green leaves that cluster on the top of a tall stem. A mature plant may have multiple stems, which grow to resemble tree trunks as lower leaves drop off.
Large white flowers similar to Beargrass and Agave may appear if the plant gets enough light.
Spineless Yucca is primarily grown as a house plant or landscaping plant in warmer climates. However, the plant can also produce fruit that is eaten in Central America.
Moths provide natural pollination in the plant’s native range, but the flowers can be pollinated by hand in other areas and indoors. The flowers are also cooked through Mexico.
Due to its need for pollination by specific moths, Spineless Yucca is often used to symbolize desire, attraction, and romance. It’s also known for being a symbol of independence and protection, especially in Central America.
Outdoors, a Spineless Yucca may reach 30 feet in height. Indoors they tend to top out at 10 feet instead. They can grow up to 1 foot per year if fertilized and given enough light. Pruning and propagation both keep the height under control.
All Yucca grown in pots prefer a well-drained mix, but there’s no need for specialty succulent or cactus potting mix. Use a soil-free container potting mix with plenty of vermiculite or perlite and little to no peat moss. The best pH level is around 6 to 7.
Spineless Yucca is a tall and top-heavy plant. While rocks aren’t necessarily needed for drainage, they should be added to the bottom of the point to add weight. Yucca spread roots slowly and prefer to be root bound, so the pot only needs to be 1 inch larger than the root ball.
Outdoors these plants require full to partial sun, but these need as much light as you can provide indoors. Direct sunlight can burn them if exposed for extended periods. However, it’s still best to find a location near an east or south-facing window behind a partially drawn blind or curtain to maximize light exposure throughout the day.
Temperature and Humidity Preferences
Unlike many other larger indoor house plants, Spineless Yucca isn’t very demanding in terms of temperatures. They can handle a range of anywhere from 50 degrees F to about 82 degrees F without losing leaves. These plants prefer moderate humidity.
If provided with enough humidity, Spineless Yucca should only need watering every 7 to 10 days. Check the soil and water when the first two inches dry out. Any water is fine, and the plant can be watered any time of day. Provide less water in the winter, but don’t let it wilt or dry out too much.
Spineless Yucca isn’t a heavy feeder, but it does appreciate a dose of balanced house plant food once a year. Apply in the spring or early summer when the days get longer.
Use a full-strength dose of water-soluble fertilizer for thriving and mature plants, half-strength for smaller or struggling plants.
Pruning is necessary to control height and remove dead or dying growth on the Spineless Yucca. Without pruning, this plant can reach 10 to 12 feet in height indoors.
Flower stalks and lower leaves can be cut at any point, as can new sprouts and branches growing from the stem. For reducing total height, try cutting the growing tip of the main stem, but only a few inches at a time.
The small sprouts or pups that form at the base of the plant are easily lifted away to plant into other containers immediately.
Cuttings like branches with developed nodes and pieces of the stem trimmed away also work for slower propagation. Simply place them in damp seed starting mix in a tray, cover with cling film, and keep warm and dark for a few weeks until they grow roots.
Spineless Yucca prefers to be root bound and won’t need a new pot until they grow out of the old one. Simply size up by ½ inch to 1 inch at a time to avoid shock to the plant.
Due to their weight and height, these plants need deep and heavy pots to keep them from tipping over.
Spineless Yucca may be a type of succulent, but they need a steady supply of water. Intermittent watering and too much drying of the root ball can lead to leaf drop and severe curling. Keep the soil damp enough that only the top two inches dry out completely.
Daily or weekly watering quickly leads to yellow leaves and dropping foliage. Eventually, the stem becomes shrunken and dies off completely. Stop watering on a schedule, and always check the soil with your finger to see if it’s needed.
Too little light leads to a stretched-out appearance and brown tips, while too much creates pale leaves that fall off.
There aren’t a lot of pests or diseases that attack this plant. Treat aphids or mites with soapy water and better air circulation.
Spineless Yucca is a reliable statement house plant with good vertical height and sharp lines. It’s great for sunny vestibules and entryways where other sharp-looking plants could be less welcoming.
This soft Yucca is one of the easier large houseplants to grow, with minimal humidity and temperature requirements.
They can grow up to 1 foot per year with good light and fertilizer.
They’re limited to USDA zones 9 and above for outdoor planting but can grow anywhere indoors.
They need bright to in-direct light for 6 to 8 hours a day. More light is needed for flowering.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic – a site dedicated to showcasing local floristry, exceptional floral design, and celebrating the world of flowers and plant life. Andrew holds a BSc Degree in Plant Sciences and has trained at leading floristry schools, including McQueens in London and l’École des Fleuristes de Paris.