Help saving a Yucca!

Swindon, United Kingdom

Hi all,

I'm a novice gardener and I'm also trying to keep some houseplants. Most of the houseplants are going well, but my yucca I'm afraid is on the way out. I'm not sure if they are really suited to being indoors, but I don't suppose someone could please diagnose what I've done wrong and how to save it (if possible) from the photo?

Swindon, United Kingdom

Heres a photo of the poor plant!

Thumbnail by Jamiejays
Castro Valley, CA

It does look so sad! Hard to tell without seeing the soil, the pot and the underside of the leaves,

But I would say it desperately needs water or it has root rot.

Yuccas can take dry conditions but not no water. Stick your finger down as far as you can in the soil. Is it totally dry? Lift the pot up, is it very light or heavy with water? If totally dry, water it. The watering needs to be thorough too. I water till it comes out of the bottom holes in the pot (I hope yours is in a pot with holes.) I leave that water for an hour to see if the soil needs more and if it will suck it up. After that, I empty the saucer as I do not leave any plant to sit in water promoting root rot.

On the other hand the leaves can droop due to lack of water from over watering too. Too much water from over watering before the soil has a chance to dry out or soil that retains too much water, or if the pot is left sitting in water, causes the roots to rot.

If the roots are damaged or rotted from this, they cannot drink any more water in to hydrate the leaves. So the bottom of the plant has too much water but the top part cannot get the water it needs from the roots. So the leaves wilt. Feel the trunk starting at the very base. Is it soft or does it have a spongy feel to it? If so the rot is advanced and there is no hope.

Assuming the plant is not terminal -
I would also pull off all those dead leaves. I would look for bugs esp on the undersides of the leaves. I would make sure my soil was very free draining as yuccas hate compacted, slow draining soils that can rot the roots.

Once I figured out what is wrong so as not to further stress the plant, I would move the plant closer to the windows. Yuccas like lots of sun. I doubt your plant gets enough sun where it is to be happy.

Also every 2 to 3 months, I take my plants into the shower in winter or in the shade outside when warm, and water it freely. I water the entire plants, giving the tops and the undersides of the leaves a good bath. I let it drain fully, them back to its place. Never put a houseplant outside in full sun abruptly, it will get sun burned.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

If the stem is rotted, test the few little offsets for rot. You can root yuccas if there is any life left in the stems. I callused cuttings before sticking them in any kind of soil but recently I water rooted one stem of mine and should pot it up one of these days. Just a few weeks ago I found a little offset that must've got knocked off my one and only yucca houseplant when I brought it indoors for winter. The offset was green as the grass coming up - no soil, many days below freezing so I inserted it into a pot of hydrangeas to get it on its way for rooting. The mother plant will go in the ground this spring too.

Here is a picture of the water roots a few weeks ago. The mother plant from last year in Feb. I kept it in a small utility room which is cooler than the rest of the basement.

Thumbnail by hcmcdole Thumbnail by hcmcdole

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