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PlantFiles: Adam's Needle, Spoonleaf Yucca, Needle-Palm
Yucca filamentosa

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Family: Agavaceae (ah-gav-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Yucca (YUK-uh) (Info)
Species: filamentosa (fil-uh-men-TOH-suh) (Info)

Synonym:Yucca concava
Synonym:Yucca filamentosa subsp. concava
Synonym:Yucca smalliana
Synonym:Yucca flaccida

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

47 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Category:
Alpines and Rock Gardens
Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo
Perennials
Shrubs
Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Height:
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Spacing:
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer

Foliage:
Grown for foliage
Evergreen
Variegated
Blue-Green
Mottled

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
This plant is monocarpic

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 38 photos.
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Profile:

17 positives
5 neutrals
3 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive coriaceous On Mar 1, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A dramatic, exotic looking evergreen shrub/perennial. In the right place, this is a great looking plant. It makes a good focal point in a border. It's also tough as nails.

Here, the evergreen foliage looks good into January, but heavy snow leaves it looking ragged from late winter till the new growth covers it in late spring. The leaves are softer than with most yuccas, and the hard points on the tips aren't very dangerous except perhaps to the eyes.

Though this is a full-sun plant in nature, it can perform well with less sun than is generally believed. I rescued a tiny single rosette and planted it where it gets sun only after about 2PM, and in single year it got big and bloomed. I often see this species doing well in moderate shade under trees.

In flower, this plant reaches 6 feet tall. The flowers are very beautiful, but they often get chewed up shortly after they open by a little beetle (Carpophilus melanopterus). Each flower only lasts a couple of days, but they open in succession over a two-week period. I cut the flower stems down when flowering is finished, and I cut back further when the foliage starts to fade. Individual rosettes die after flowering, but they always leave more pups before dying.

Needs only a few hours of sun and good drainage. Does well in low-nutrient sandy soils, and even in pure sand.

Neutral Rickwebb On Feb 6, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

In the right kind of landscape theme, this perennial looks great, but oftentimes it is a sore thumb in the wrong places. It looks good in seashore or desert themed landscapes with rocks, gravel,and sand and goes well with grasses, hard pines, junipers, Northern Bayberry, Lilies and other monocots. Once planted, it is hard to eradicate as it keeps coming up from thick, fleshy roots. I see it growing native along the shore of southern Delaware.

Positive Chinandega81 On Jul 14, 2013, Chinandega81 from Mexicali
Mexico wrote:

I planted a single Yucca in Madison, WI (zone 5) five years ago this summer, and always wondered why it never flowered. I thought it might be because of too much rain, pewny summers that were too cool and moist, not enough sun, overly harsh winters, etc. I never experienced the problems or issues that posters farthur south did regarding out of control behavior. I even wondered if the harsh Upper Midwest winters, cold Springs and early Falls played a roll. Add to that, a long, deep snow cover for many months and I wasn't too positive if my Yucca was all that happy, since it's leaves got weighed down by snow every Winter and looked shabby come Spring (yet it always sprung back in Summer). But what gave me hope that my yucca would some day bloom was to that I had seen other yuccas in Southern Wisconsin bloom, so I knew it could be done. And this year was the year. I was sure that last summer, year 4, with several hundred degree days, drought, many 90s, etc. would be the year. But it wasn't meant to be. But this very wet and up until recently, cool summer, I got blooms!! And interestingly, I had multiple stalks. Aparently I hadn't been paying attention, the single yucca I had planted had sent up pups adjacent to it, and from a distance it looked like one big yucca, that had just been gaining in size. Well, three differet yuccas bloomed this summer, year 5. There are several other ones that must be the pups of those as well, I am hopeful they have grown in staggard years so I will have anual blooms.

My conclusion for other northern gardeners with this plant is that it finds strength in numbers, it will slowly grow, spread and establish itself...and it spends it's energy in this way before it flowers (and dies back to be replaced by more pups). Maybe the process takes longer at our latitude, but they do eventually bloom. Fortunately, they don't seem to be so out of control either, I am sure the winters and shorter summers keep them in check to an extent as well. Mine are planted in thick, wet clay like soil amongst a rock wall, in between two houses, so they only get direct sunlight in the middle of the day. I just planted one last year at a lake house half way between Madison, WI and La Crosse, WI and it is growing fast and doing great-there it has full sun and sandy/rocky soils, so we shall see how many years it takes to flower there.

Neutral Gaiagirl On Jun 20, 2013, Gaiagirl from Midland, VA wrote:

This plant is starting to become invasive in my area. I have a large voluntary specimen near my front porch where nothing ever seems to grow well for some reason, so I'm willing to give it a shot. But throughout the county this year, I see the things popping up like giant prehistoric weeds, along with Russian Olive and other seldom-encountered species.

Positive kmm44 On Feb 25, 2013, kmm44 from Dayton, OH wrote:

My experiences with yucca (I forgot there was another name for it) have been mostly positive. Truthfully, I have a love-hate relationship with it. I love the hardiness of it and the evergreen quality during the yucky OH winters. I also love the look of the flowers. I have learned to live with the negatives.
The big problem was not addressed in the article. It states the seeds grow on pods and can be saved for planting later. It doesn't say what happens if you don't remove the pods before they split on their own and drop thousands of seeds, which then grow and spread and spread and spread! One year I didn't get around to removing the stalk with the pods. The next spring I noticed what looked like blades of grass growing all over the bed where the yucca clump was. Eventually, the light dawned!! It was baby yuccas from the seeds. YIKES! Fortunately, the roots hadn't gone deep yet and I was able to pull or dig up most of them to avoid being overcome with yuccas. The article also doesn't tell you that once a plant blooms, it dies. It should be removed from the still-living clump the next spring or whenever it dries up enough to break off.
Anyone who has seen yuccas grow shouldn't be surprised that they grow in clumps as the above poster was. The root babies are the best way to propagate, as they are well developed earlier than the seed babies. Use a shovel or other sharp instrument to separate the smaller clumps and stick them in the soil in any sunny space. Or give them away. Or pitch them, lol. I used to take unwanted ones to the plant booth at my parish festival. Now that the festival has been discontinued, I take them to my garden club's annual plant sale.
Leave some babies on the original clump to bloom later. Most of mine bloom in 3 yrs. I have 3 areas here at home (Dayton OH) with large clumps and a row of them against the back of my lake house 60 miles N. of here. That bed is not in full sun all day, but the plants do well. The yucca is pollinated by the yucca moth, as opposed to bees.
Make absolutely sure you want a yucca before you plant it. It doesn't take long for the roots to go down to China and then you are stuck with yuccas forever.

Negative mpwifey On Feb 20, 2013, mpwifey from Colorado Springs, CO wrote:

Colorado Springs has yucca growing naturally all over the place.
I there were 5 in my yard when we moved here. Have been trying to dig them up every year. They just come back. but instead of one growing back where you dug one out, 3 will come back, or they will just move to a different spot a few feet away.
In my main flower bed I have have to dig up several flowers I loved because the yucca was coming back up next to or right through them. A neighbor girl said she loved yucca, but she loved them because her grandma you dig up the roots, chop them into slices and fry them like potato chips. She said they taste similar to potato chips. And I guess they attract hummingbirds too. don't touch them though. Your skin will sting for an hour or two. they are very painful plants. I hate them, but since they grow so well here, I did give up on one plant, since it wasn't hurting anything by being in that spot. I bought a brakelights yucca purposely this year. they stay small, don't spread and have red flowers.

Positive ej_the_dj On Feb 19, 2013, ej_the_dj from Warner Robins, GA wrote:

I just thought this plant was native to Georgia, and other places where tropical plants grow easily. I have not tried any 'experiments' or anything with this plant. It has bloomed a few times, and I've lived in this location most of my life. (My childhood home). I can only guess that the people who long-ago lived here before us, put it here. It has one pup, and I did not try to re-locate it because the spiney leaves are very sharp and did not want to risk getting cut. These two plants are side-by-side to each other and are in front of the house. The flowers hang upside-down, are bell-shaped, and white/creamy for it's color. And, they also have a nice scent, although I had to be careful of the spiney leaves when I walked-up to it. I do not wish to move it because I like them where they are. Oh, yes. The soil it is thriving in here in Central Georgia, is red, hard-as-a-brick clay, with sand-like soil for topsoil.

Positive ohyoubigsilly On Jan 21, 2013, ohyoubigsilly from Ramsey, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Here in Minnesota, it's always a treat to find tropical-looking plants that can survive subzero weather in winter, so naturally I decided to pick this up a few years ago and plant it next to my koi pond. What a great, care-free plant! I was worried it wouldn't survive a string of -20F lows two winters ago, but sure enough by spring, it was still green and thriving. It also takes a lot of abuse, as the deer chomp on it all winter long, but it grows back larger and stronger every year.

My only complaint is that it has yet to bloom, after five years. It has nearly full sun where it's planted, so I'm not sure if the climate is just too cold and/or wet to support summer blooms, but I love the evergreen foliage, anyway. I'm looking forward to acquiring some suckers so I can start a succulent garden along my street where the sun tends to fry my lawn.

Positive LJinWBPA On Apr 30, 2012, LJinWBPA from Wilkes-Barre, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I rescued mine from the woods where a landscaper must have dumped it a few years ago (maybe 6 or 7). At the time I felt it was the closest thing I'd ever have to a palm tree. Adam's Needle Yuccas are relatively common in Northeast PA. They seem to take some effort to transplant and establish but after that they are here to stay. Last week I felt it was getting too big for the spot it was in and thought I would remove the suckers ,trim the dead parts (not an easy task), and try an experiment. I have been attempting hardy palms here for several years. 2 of the supposedly hardiest palms (Needle, Sabal Minor) sort of resemble yuccas at a distance. I thought I'd remove the lower leaves and all the lower suckers and it seems to have an 8 to 9 inch (roughly) trunk. I wish I would have thought of this years ago. The blooms are attractive in August for 2-3 weeks, then the stalk has to be removed or it looks unsightly.
I also would recommend this for erosion control as it has thick roots. I also recommend this be out where it has room to spread.

Positive SuburbanNinja80 On Apr 23, 2011, SuburbanNinja80 from Plainfield, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

I Had this Plant in my yard For Years. I love it. But this year it got badly Burned by Ice Storm and this lives on like Champ.

Positive glochid15 On Jan 18, 2011, glochid15 from Parsons, KS (Zone 6b) wrote:

You can often see them growing on hillsides along highways in rather large clusters. They don't seem to be picky about growing conditions; they only demand sufficient sunlight. We have quite a few growing wild on our property, and they seem to grow fine in the native clay soil. The large flower stalks are a bonus.

Positive Alexwtf_93 On Dec 7, 2010, Alexwtf_93 from Susanville, CA wrote:

i started my plants from pups i got off a larger plant, they now grow wherever i plant them, it takes new plants a couple years to bloom, but after that they usually bloom every year .. very nice looking plant

Neutral NoLawns On Dec 12, 2007, NoLawns from Warrenville, IL wrote:

Easy to grow plant. You can plant them and forget about them. Mine only flowers once every 3-5 years though. Foliage does look nice all year long. Brush snow off them if you want to keep the foliage neater.

Positive WUVIE On Sep 24, 2007, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

A positive vote for this Yucca due it's durability, sharing factor and winter endurance. Please note,this is my opinion. ;-)

One should always research an item before planting, so I can't fault the plant for doing what it will. Highly likely (read: It's going to happen) to become a permanent visitor, so be sure to plant it where it will be allowed to grow forever.

Years ago, I dug up what I thought would be a few small plants, placing them in various locations. Over time, I have transplanted numerous new plants that are offshoots of the main root; which is going nowhere due to the size of the root.

Yesterday I dug seven more new plants, moving them to new homes further out, as they require no assistance to grow well and bloom in this area.

The main root must be as big as a body, because even with my hardcore construction shovel, it was not budging. Each year I transplant new growth from the various new mother plants about our home. Little by little I am trying to make a fence of sorts next to the creek by our circle drive.

If you want just one Yucca, and only one Yucca, this is not the choice for you.

Neutral JodyC On Oct 30, 2006, JodyC from Palmyra, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

These are growing wild about 1/2 mile from here..they cover a hillside along the road..I'm going to have to go dig one up and bring it home..I just love it when they are in bloom...:-)

Positive rubygloomrox On Jul 15, 2006, rubygloomrox from Red Wing, MN wrote:

I love this plant and have recieved a lot of compliments on it. Many of my friends went and got some of their own. I have mine with some rose bushes, and it stands out and really adds something to the scenery.
I planted it in pretty acidic soil and in direct sunlight and then ignore it except to admire it. It gets enough water from our rainfall and sometimes run off from other plants to survive, so it's maintenance free for me, too. A plant that looks great with little to no care is always welcome here.
The only thing these need is well-draining soil. That's a must.

Positive Hikaro_Takayama On Apr 19, 2006, Hikaro_Takayama from Fayetteville, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Many people grow these plants around where I live because of their evergreen, tropical looking foliage and their beautiful flowers. I have seen some that have escaped cultivation and are growing in weedy, vacant lots. We have three established clumps in our yard, and they are really pretty, especially in the winter, when everything else is brown and dead looking, and the summer (around June), when they put up 5 ft tall flower spikes. I have also planted some at the edge of a small stream through the woods behind our house in hopes that they can push out the garlic mustard, and even have bought one of the attractive varigated cultivars from a local nursery. I reccomend these to all cold-area gardeners to add a bit of the tropics to your yard.

They are also extremely drought tolerant, and will grow in a wide range of soil conditions... Our ground is clay over limestone, and we have no problems growing them, and I've seen them growing wild in Western VA under pine trees (i.e. most likely acidic soil) growing on sandstone along I-81.

I'm editing this to add a few more observations: I noticed that someone posted a pic of a trunked specimin, and I've observed this myself. Several of my Y. filamentosa have formed 1 to 2 foot tall trunks, but unfortunately, that is usually the point at which that particular rosette flowers, after which it dies over the following year. Usually there are enough other rosettes coming up from the roots to make this less noticible, but don't get your hopes up for a permanent trunked plant like with other Yuccas...

Also, what one person said about the root survivability is also true: My grandmother (the original source of my plants) had a wall put in along the road in front of her house (mainly to stop people who are speeding around the turn from running into her house), and there was a Y. filamentosa clump that was behind this wall, and buried under about 5 feet of fill dirt. I was sure that was the end of the plant, but about a year later, this plant managed to push up a couple of rosettes through said 5 ft of fill dirt, and started blooming again about two or three years after that! Yeah, those who said that once you have it, you've got it for good weren't kidding.

Neutral raisedbedbob On Feb 8, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

American Indians used the root in salves and poultices for sores, skin diseases and sprains. Pounded roots were put in water to stupefy corralled fish so they would float to the surface for easy harvesting.

Negative LisaTWade On Apr 16, 2005, LisaTWade from Alabaster, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

My grandad had these growing by his drainage ditch for years in Indianapolis. I collected seeds and dug up some starts and now have my own patch of them in Alabama. My plants have tended to form clumps of plants instead of staying as one solitary plant. I would rather it just stay as one yucca plant. It is very difficult to remove them, so like another user stated, plant them where you want them to stay forever. And put them where you won't mind if they grow a few offsets. When my yuccas bloom, the leaf-footed bug (leptoglossus phyllopus) comes and breeds on the blooms, causing them to turn yucky and brown. My plants rarely go to seed I think because the bugs are eating the pods or blooms.

Positive RRRupert123 On Feb 24, 2005, RRRupert123 from Solon, IA wrote:

I found one of these yuccas in a ditch accross from a cemetery. the person who put it there actually didn't PUT it there. the person threw it accross the road and it started growing. now i have atleast 25 of these plants. (you can cut off a part of the root and put it under ground and it will grow a whole new plant) my yucca now has a half a foot trunk; i don't know if the trunk will grow any larger.

Positive sue1952 On Apr 14, 2004, sue1952 from Utica, MI wrote:

In SE Michigan - We had one of these in the garden and were advised to divide when we revamped our landscape. Hard to dig up - but once divided even grew faster and more prolific. In three years we have taken over 20 "pups" off of 3 plants. These are terrific for foundation plantings - a different look for those who are tired of the traditional evergreens.

Positive Lavanda On Jan 21, 2003, Lavanda from Mcallen, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

The blooms of this plant can be used to make a cool, refreshing beverage. It is made by brewing a tea with them, sweetening to taste, and served at room temperature or with ice.

Negative mystic On Jan 9, 2003, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Grow this plant where you want it to grow forever! Once started its near impossible to get rid of. Any little piece of tuber will make a new plant.I have dug it up and thought I had it all and the next thing you know its back again. I even had it come through landscape cloth and 3 ft of soil where I had put raised beds over where it was.

Positive ButterflyGardnr On Jan 9, 2003, ButterflyGardnr from Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant is very easy to grow and has a very unique form. It likes full sun and well-drained, sandy soils. There is mutualism between the yucca plant and the yucca moth. The moth gains food and shelter from the plant; in return the moth polinates the plant.

Positive lupinelover On Aug 26, 2002, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Super easy to grow tropical-looking plant. All that is required is adequate drainage and some sun. Once you have it, it is there for keeps! Tuber-like growths in the root area ensure the plant stays, regardless of whether the top is removed or not. All parts of the plant are usable: root tubers are edible, leaves can be woven as fiber, and the flowers are delicious to eat as well as to smell. Super-easy to grow from seed, there are many named cultivars that are variegated, and that have different color flowers. Very attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Alabaster, Alabama
Auburn, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama
Centre, Alabama
Cullman, Alabama
Decatur, Alabama
Gaylesville, Alabama
Haleyville, Alabama
Springville, Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama (2 reports)
Los Angeles, California
Menifee, California
Pittsburg, California
Susanville, California
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Fort Collins, Colorado
Stamford, Connecticut
Bear, Delaware
Middletown, Delaware
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Bartow, Florida
Big Pine Key, Florida
Hampton, Florida
Hudson, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Cordele, Georgia
Villa Rica, Georgia
Warner Robins, Georgia (2 reports)
Winterville, Georgia
Anna, Illinois
Belleville, Illinois
Bloomington, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois (4 reports)
Jacksonville, Illinois
Palmyra, Illinois
Peoria, Illinois
Rockford, Illinois
Saint Charles, Illinois
Plainfield, Indiana
Burlington, Iowa
Muscatine, Iowa
Plainfield, Iowa
Solon, Iowa
Parsons, Kansas
Barbourville, Kentucky
Hanson, Kentucky
Melbourne, Kentucky
Mount Sterling, Kentucky
Coushatta, Louisiana
Laurel, Maryland
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Detroit, Michigan
Rogers City, Michigan
South Lyon, Michigan
Utica, Michigan
Anoka, Minnesota
Lakeville, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Red Wing, Minnesota
Mathiston, Mississippi
Saucier, Mississippi
Cole Camp, Missouri
Saint Louis, Missouri
Alpine, New York
Brooklyn, New York
Buffalo, New York
Rochester, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Bucyrus, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Dayton, Ohio
Hilliard, Ohio
Saint Marys, Ohio
Youngstown, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Bend, Oregon
Klamath Falls, Oregon
Tenmile, Oregon
California, Pennsylvania
Fenelton, Pennsylvania
Greencastle, Pennsylvania
Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania
Saint Thomas, Pennsylvania
Watsontown, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Viola, Tennessee
Westmoreland, Tennessee
Aransas Pass, Texas
Bastrop, Texas
Buffalo, Texas
Bulverde, Texas
Lindon, Utah
Magna, Utah
West Dummerston, Vermont
Blacksburg, Virginia
Midland, Virginia
Roanoke, Virginia
Suffolk, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
North Sultan, Washington
Port Orchard, Washington
White Center, Washington
De Pere, Wisconsin
Lena, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Porterfield, Wisconsin



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