Big Bend Yucca Care – How To Grow Big Bend Yucca Plants

Big Bend Yucca Plant
big bend yucca
(Image credit: David O'Brien)

Big Bend yucca (Yucca rostrata), also known as beaked yucca, is a tree-like type of yucca with blue-green, lance-shaped leaves and tall, bell-shaped blooms that rise above the plant in summer. Big Bend yucca plants are easy to grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 10. Read on to learn how to grow Big Bend yucca.

Big Bend Yucca Information

Big Bend yucca is native to the rocky hillsides and canyon walls of Texas, Northern Mexico, and Arizona. Historically, Native Americans put Big Bend yucca plants to good use as a source of fiber and food. Today, the plant is appreciated for its extreme drought tolerance and bold beauty. Although Big Bend yucca is slow growing, it can eventually reach heights of 11 to 15 feet (3-5 m.). And while the spiny leaf tips aren’t as pronounced as most types of yucca, it’s still a good idea to grow the plant safely away from sidewalks and play areas.

How to Grow Big Bend Yucca

Big Bend yucca plants are adaptable to light shade but perform best in full sunlight. They also withstand extremely hot weather, although it’s normal for the tips to die back during the peak of summer in southern climates. Most importantly, Big Bend yucca plants must be located in well-drained soil to prevent rot during the winter months. If your soil is clay or doesn’t drain well, mix in small pebbles or sand to improve drainage. It’s possible to plant Big Bend yucca by seed, but this is the slow route. If you want to give it a try, plant the seeds in well-drained soil. Place the pot in a well-lit location and keep the potting mix slightly moist until germination. You can plant the small, seed-grown yuccas outdoors, but you might want to keep young plants inside for two or three years to gain some size. The easier way to propagate Big Bend yucca is by removing offshoots from a mature plant. You can also propagate a new plant by taking stem cuttings.

Big Bend Yucca Care

Water newly planted Big Bend yucca plants once a week until the roots are established. Thereafter, yucca plants are drought tolerant and need water only occasionally during hot, dry periods. Fertilizer is rarely necessary, but if you think the plant needs a boost, provide a balanced, time-release fertilizer in spring. Sprinkle the fertilizer in a circle around the plant to ensure it reaches the root zone, then water well. Pruning Big Bend yucca plants is a matter of personal preference. Some gardeners prefer to remove the dry, brown leaves at the bottom of the plant, and others like to leave them on for their textural interest. Remove spent blooms and stalks at the end of the season.

Mary H. Dyer

A Credentialed Garden Writer, Mary H. Dyer was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, publishing articles as early as 2007.