Yucca Aloifolia is the Plant of the Month!
*Yucca aloifolia, Spanish bayonet, desert accent plant
The erect, upright plant grows ten to twenty feet tall with a five-foot or greater spread, and is admired for its showy, creamy white flowers and thick, dark-green, elongated leaves. An attractive variegated form has medium green, bayonet-like foliage and margins of light green, edged in creamy yellow. If the plant gets too tall it can become top heavy and topple over.
The Spanish bayonet spreads by underground runners to produce offsets that form new plants. Its sword-shaped leaves have sharp, pointed edges that can be dangerous if you brush against them. The older leaves turn brown and dry out, forming a skirt around the plant. Its fibrous leaves were used to make rope and string. The blooms appear in the spring or summer on tall, erect flower stalks.
The flowers are two to six inches long. Fleshy fruits are produced after the blooms fade. Birds usually eat the fruit, and the flowers can be used in salads. This plant likes full sun, reflected heat, and light, sandy, well-draining soils. The Spanish bayonet is drought-tolerant and will take occasional irrigation when it is young or during the hot, dry summer season. It is hardy to zero degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Use it as an accent plant behind beds and borders, as a silhouette against white or light-colored walls, or in large containers as a showy accent. It works well in coastal situations and can take salty air and soils. This plant is native to coastal areas, growing from the southeastern United States to the Caribbean and into Yucatan, Mexico.