Yucca Species, Joshua Tree

Yucca brevifolia

Family: Asparagaceae
Genus: Yucca (YUK-uh) (Info)
Species: brevifolia (brev-ee-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Yucca arborescens
Synonym:Yucca brevifolia subsp. herbertii
Synonym:Yucca brevifolia subsp. jaegeriana
Synonym:Yucca draconis var. arborescens
Synonym:Yucca jaegeriana



Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:


Medium Green


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


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

Bloom Color:

Pale Green



Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Yucca, Arizona

Acton, California

El Cajon, California

Folsom, California

Granite Hills, California

Harbison Canyon, California

Mountain View Acres, California

Rancho San Diego, California

San Diego, California

Twentynine Palms Base, California

Yucca Valley, California

Boise, Idaho(2 reports)

Meridian, Idaho

Nampa, Idaho

Twin Falls, Idaho

Redmond, Oregon

Salineno, Texas

Magna, Utah

Orem, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah(2 reports)

South Jordan, Utah

Springville, Utah

West Jordan, Utah

Ahtanum, Washington

Union Gap, Washington

Waterville, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 13, 2015, idahocactus2 from Boise, ID wrote:

There are specimans in Salt Lake City, Reno, and even Boise. They typically need excellent drainage, up on at least 2 - 3 foot berms, and can survive and thrive in desert climates with temps much below zero. There are many large Joshua trees in the area of Caliente, NV, where the temps regularly go into the below zero range. And I personally have several growing here in the Boise area --- some for more than 20 years.


On Feb 23, 2015, Kell from (Zone 9b) wrote:

Per Jan Emming owner of the Destination:Forever Ranch and Gardens, a 40 acre desert botanical garden and sustainable living homestead in the Arizona desert with a nursery:

1. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/386096/
Joshua tree flower clusters are about 18 inches / 45 cm long. They are scented with a musky, yet lemony, fragrance that appeals to the yucca moths they must attract to do the pollination required.

2. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/386097
Joshua trees flowering moderately in late February 2015, after no flowering at all in 2... read more


On May 5, 2013, UtahTropics12 from Salt Lake City, UT (Zone 7b) wrote:

This plant is so beautiful! And I see a lot of them here in Utah! They can be grown in basically every single part of Utah besides the very tops of the mountains. They are also my favorite Utah native plant! They grow amazingly here and can reach heights of 30 (ive personally seen a few that big in the Salt Lake City area in zone 7b)


On Mar 7, 2011, sag64 from Salem, OR wrote:

I have a Joshua tree that I raised from seed that is about 14 years old. I keep it in a tall pot (3") as I live in western Oregon and am afraid it would be too wet if planted in the silty loam soil with a high water table in the wet season. I also keep it under the eave of the house on the east side so that it doesn't get a lot of rain falling into the pot. It is about 18" tall. It has damaged me and my wife with the sharp leaves many times!


On Jul 26, 2010, baldrad from Nampa, ID wrote:

Joshua Trees do great in Treasure Valley, Idaho (Boise area), 2500' elevation, high desert (10 or 11 inches precip.), variety of soils, so planting area must be prepared suitably. Hot summer days and evenings til midnite or so, several days in winter that may be connected or random down to zero or -5, but typical Dec or Jan night is 20 degrees or warmer, daytime 25-35. I'vd been here since '93; stories tell of some colder winters, but there are some Joshuas here 10' in height.

Trachycarpus takil (Kumayon (sp?) palm) has been tried here over the past 5 years (cold hardy to -5) but do poorly; the right index of factors apparently not here.


On Jul 21, 2008, Kaelkitty from Robertstown,
Australia (Zone 10a) wrote:

A synonym of this plant is Clistoyucca brevifolia (Engelm.) Rydb.


On Mar 8, 2008, peachespickett from Huntington, AR wrote:

Spent a lot of time with the Joshua Trees living outside Death Valley in Nevada for some years. Now I have one growing in one of my xeriscape beds here in Arkansas and it's actually surviving, wet and cold haven't bothered it, though it is planted in a 50/50 gravel/sand mix on a southwest wall. Grew from seed years ago, now about a foot tall. You can grow almost anything from the desert anywhere, provided it's hardy enough, you give it amazing drainage and plenty of sun. Also have sagebrush, pinyons, and a hundred other things that don't grow naturally within a thousand miles of here.


On Mar 14, 2002, Matt33 wrote:

The Joshua tree is a large, erect, evergreen, arborescent monocot. It is usually single-stemmed, but trees with two or three stems will sometimes occur. The Joshua tree is the largest nonriparian plant of the Mojave desert, they can reach heights of 16 to 49 feet, and the trunks can grow 2 to 4 feet in diameter. Erratic branching will generally begin at 3 to 10 feet above the ground. Flowering of the Joshua tree requires a year with sufficient precipitation, if enough precipitation occurs they will generally begin to bloom in early spring with 18 inch clusters of 1.5 inch yellowish, bell-shaped flowers. This species grows from southern California, Mexico, and western Arizona eastward into southern Nevada and southwestern Utah.