Yucca Species: Yucca brevifolia (Yuccas)
Zone 4: Northern California, Nevada, Utah & Arizona
Description: Yucca brevifolia (Yuccas), also known as snowdrop or winter sagebrush, are native to the Sierra Nevada Mountains of northern California. They grow from sea level to over 12,000 feet elevation and have been cultivated since ancient times. These yucca species are considered to be one of the most difficult of all plants to cultivate successfully. The plant requires high moisture levels and cool temperatures during the growing season. They require very little water at any time of year except when they bloom.
The flowers are white with yellow centers and last for several days. The leaves are alternate and leafless.
Cold Hardiness: Zone 4
Light Needs: Full Sun; Partial Shade
Soil Moisture: Average, but will need additional irrigation during dry periods. Water regularly throughout the growing season.
Flowering: Most of the year, but mainly in spring and summer.
Pruning: Deadheading promotes additional, but smaller, flowers. Do not prune off stems that have deadhead flowers unless you are willing to sacrifice the entire cane.
Common Yucca (Y. schidigera)
Zone 4: Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma.
Description: Common yucca is a fast-growing plant that can reach a height of up to 15 feet. It grows in dense clusters and is evergreen. It has sword-shaped leaves 8 to 12 inches long that are gray-green in color and stiff. The flowers are funnel-shaped and range in color from white to light purple. They bloom mainly in early summer.
The flower cluster is 4 to 6 inches long. Common yucca can produce up to 300 pounds of suckers per year, which makes it very difficult to control if you do not want it to take over an area. It is a common weed in pastures, open woods and along roads.
” Great article on an important plant. I just wanted to point out that species yucca are indeed very hardy. I have one outside my front door that averages about 5F. Another one further south averages 0F. USDA 8b/9a here in central Ohio”
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Sources & references used in this article:
Intriguing Chihuahuan Desert Yuccas in Cultivation by G Starr – 2015 – repository.arizona.edu
Hybridization between yuccas from Baja California: genomic and environmental patterns by MC Arteaga, R Bello-Bedoy… – Frontiers in Plant …, 2020 – researchgate.net
Yuccas in Cultivation by J Bishop – British Cactus & Succulent Journal, 1994 – JSTOR