Yucca gigantea

Source: Kenpei

Yucca gigantea

Yucca gigantea or giant Yucca is a succulent from the Agavaceae family and the largest Yucca.

It looks like a tree with a thickened trunk.

Giant Yucca can be grown both in the garden and in pot as a houseplant. It tolerates only mild frost for a brief period of time.

It is a very easy drought tolerant plant.

Description:

Yucca gigantea can grow to 3-10 m tall, with a spread of up to 4.5 m.

The trunk is thick and swollen at the base, narrower higher up, with few ramifications. With age, the trunk looks like an elephant’s foot.

The leaves are elongated, flat, dark green, 50-100 cm long and 5-7 cm wide, pointed at the top, with finely toothed margins.

The white flowers appear in spring and summer in an upright spike.

The fruits are brown, fleshy, oval and be up to 2.5 cm.

Use:

  • Ornamental
  • The flowers are edible
Yucca gigantea

Source: Own work

Yucca gigantea
Pairi Daiza

Nomenclature:

Common names:

Blue-stem Yucca, elephant Yucca, elephant’s feet, giant Yucca, palm lily, soft-tip Yucca, Spanish bayonet, Spanish dagger, spineless Yucca,

Synonyms:

Dracaena lennei, Dracaena yuccoides, Sarcoyucca elephantipes, Yucca eleana, Yucca elephantipes, Yucca elephantipes var. ghiesbreghtii, Yucca elephantipes var. gigantea, Yucca ghiesbreghtii, Yucca guatemalensis, Yucca lenneana, Yucca mazelii, Yucca mooreana, Yucca roezlii

Often refered to as Yucca elephantipes but Y. gigantea was the first officially attributed name.

Etymology:

Yucca: Central and South American name for the cassava plant, from the Spanish yuca, probably Taino, native language of Haiti.
Gigantea: from the latin giganteus (gigantic)

Origin:

East coast of Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama

Habitat:

Arid regions

Hardiness:

USDA zone 9-11

Yucca gigantea inflorescence

Care:

Soil:

Very dry sand or clay soil with very good drainage

Light:

Preferably in full sun but tolerates partial shade

Water:

Water moderately when grown in pot, no need to water in the garden

Feed:

Fertilize every 2 weeks during growing season

Propagation:

Seed, suckers, stem cuttings

Sowing instructions:

  • the seeds germinate better after 2 months of stratification: place them in a refrigerator (do not forget to note the date)
  • soak the seeds 24h in lukewarm water
  • sow in a moist and sandy substrate
  • if you can maintain the temperature between 28-32 °C, the seeds can germinate in 4 days. At lower temperatures (20-25 °C), germination will take longer: 1 month to 1 year.

Stem Cutting:

  • if your houseplant gets too big, simply cut the stem at the desired heigth
  • remove all the leaves and plant the stem cutting in a pot with soil mixed with sand
  • place in a shady spot
  • root formation occurs in 2-3 weeks
  • the lower part of the plant will form new leaves

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