Yucca Seed Pod Propagation: Tips For Planting Yucca Seeds
By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Yuccas are arid region plants that are extremely adaptable to the home landscape. They are popular for their drought tolerance and ease of care, but also because of their striking sword-like foliage. The plants infrequently bloom, but when they do, they develop oval seed pods. With a little yucca plant pod info, you can grow more of these amazing plants in your own home.
Yucca Plant Pod Info
Yuccas produce a lovely white to cream flower stalk, decorated with dangling blooms. These panicles will last for several weeks, then the petals will drop off and the ovary will start to develop. Soon seed pods will form. You can allow these to mature on the plant until dry and then harvest them. Alternately, you can cut off the seed pods on yucca to avoid the plant self-seeding. Cutting the stalk will not affect future blooms.
Yucca seed pods will range up the entire flower stalk. They are about one inch (2.5 cm.) long and have a hard, dry husk. Inside are many black flat seeds, which are the source for baby yuccas. Once the seed pods on yucca are dry, they are ready to collect. Crack open the pods and gather the seeds. They can be stored in sand in the refrigerator until you are ready to plant. They will be viable for up to 5 years.
Yucca seed pod propagation outdoors should be started in spring, but you can start them indoors at any time. Planting yucca seeds indoors is probably the best way to propagate the plant and control the growing environment. The first step is to soak the seeds for 24 hours. Yucca seed pods have a hard carapace which will need to soften so the seed can germinate more readily.
Yucca Seed Pod Propagation
Temperatures should be between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (15-21 C) for germination. They need well drained soil with plenty of grit added. Use flats for planting yucca seeds indoors. Germination may be variable, but if you plant plenty of the seeds, some will sprout.
Germination usually takes 3 to 4 weeks. Keep the young plants moderately moist and transplant them within 8 weeks to slightly larger individual pots. Allow the surface of the soil to dry in between watering.
Yuccas started from seeds grow slowly and unpredictably. They will not be ready to flower for 4 to 5 years.
Other Methods of Propagation
Yucca can also be started from rhizomes or offsets. Dig up rhizomes in winter and cut into 3-inch (7.6 cm.) sections. Pot them up in sterile potting soil indoors. In 3 to 4 weeks, they will produce roots.
Offsets or pups grow at the base of the parent plant and are genetic clones to the original. They are a fast way to multiply your yucca collection. Cut them away from the parent, just under the soil. Allow them to root in a pot before transplanting out into the garden.
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How to Transplant Yucca Plants
It's easy to understand why the yucca plant is sometimes called Spanish bayonet or Adam's needle. Just check out the yucca's sword-shaped spikes and sturdy stems. Although yucca is naturally a desert plant, prominent in the American Southwest, most varieties will grow in all but the coldest climates. Transplant yucca in autumn if you live in a climate with mild winters and hot summers. This will give the roots time to establish before hot, dry summer weather. If you live in a climate with cold winters, transplant yucca in spring, after all danger of frost has passed.
Using a sharp shovel, dig completely around the yucca plant, about a foot away from the outer edge of the plant. Rock the shovel back and forth to loosen the roots, then lift the yucca plant out of the soil. Work slowly and carefully, leaving the root system intact as much as possible.
- It's easy to understand why the yucca plant is sometimes called Spanish bayonet or Adam's needle.
- If you live in a climate with cold winters, transplant yucca in spring, after all danger of frost has passed.
Trim off any damaged or diseased roots with garden shears, then transplant the yucca plant as quickly as possible. If the yucca is large, put it in a box or a wheelbarrow to move it to the new location.
Dig a hole as deep as the yucca's root system, and twice as wide. Mix a shovelful of compost and a shovelful of sand with the reserved soil.
Plant the yucca in the hole, with the top of the yucca plant at the same soil depth as it was before. Be sure the yucca is straight, and faces the same direction as it was before. Fill the hole around the plant with the soil mixture, and tamp the soil down with the back of the shovel.
- Trim off any damaged or diseased roots with garden shears, then transplant the yucca plant as quickly as possible.
- Plant the yucca in the hole, with the top of the yucca plant at the same soil depth as it was before.
Water the yucca plant immediately after planting. Keep the soil slightly moist for two to three weeks, then resume normal watering. Like all succulents, yucca retains water in its leaves, so very little water is needed.
Always wear sturdy gloves to protect your hands. The leaves of the yucca plant are often razor sharp.
Gardener's HQ Yucca aloifolia Growing Guide
You can propagate plants from cuttings or seeds.
To obtain seeds, harvest seed capsules from an established plant as they start to dry. When they have finished drying, crush them open.
Initially, keep the seeds in moist sand in your fridge winter-long. Sow them out when temperatures average 60 - 70°F, after the last frost.
This plant grows slowly. Water Yucca aloifolia weekly during its active growth period, but sparingly in winter.
In spring and summer, apply liquid-soluble fertilizer every third watering.
Unlike its common name, Red Yucca is not really a yucca, it’s in the lily family.
And most of them really aren’t even red. It gets 2-3 feet tall and about as wide, with a flowering spike that can add an additional 2 to 3 feet in height. It flowers from spring through summer, producing one set of blooms that last for quite a long time.
Each flower bud will produce a seed pod containing many flat, black seeds. If you want to harvest the seed, wait until the pods dry completely on the plant, then cut off the entire stalk and break the pods open to collect the seeds.
Red yucca prefers full sun, but can take part shade. It’s very drought-tough, surviving on rainfall alone, even in the harshest of times. Since it survives so well on so little water, you might think it would struggle with heavy soils and over-watering, like other desert species, but it really doesn’t. I’ve seen it be just as happy in clay soils as in sandy ones. Red yucca is used to good effect as an accent plant, among areas of decomposed granite and rock mulch. It is evergreen, with long, narrow leaf blades and an arching habit.
When you bring them home, they are likely to be quite small, but don’t be fooled. Give them at least 2 feet on each side to spread out. And be careful if planting near Bermuda grass. If grass or other weeds get up under the plant and amongst those narrow leaves, it will be impossible to pull out without completely digging the plant up or working from the root area, which would not be good for the plant.
Hummingbirds love the towering flower stalks, which range from salmon, the most common, to yellow, to red. New cultivars show up now and then, like the recent Brakelights yucca.
Deer also love the flowers, but they usually tend to avoid the plant itself.
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March To Do List
Plant: ornamental & wildlife
- Annuals: It’s a tricky month for annuals since we get hot days. But the soil is still cold and freezes could still arrive. Late: plant cosmos, sunflowers, morning glory, gomphrena but keep an eye on upcoming freezes. Avoid planting caladiums.
- Wildflower transplants: early in month, you can still plant bluebonnet, larkspur, poppy and other transplants.
- Perennials & vines
- Ornamental (clumping) grasses like muhly and Mexican feather grass (late month)
- Trees, shrubs, roses (as soon as possible before heat sets in)
- Nasturtiums, chives, catnip, comfrey, fennel, horseradish, feverfew, oregano, thyme, rosemary, Mexican mint marigold, peppermint, lemongrass (after last freeze)
Plant: food crops
- Chard, corn, cucumber, eggplant, endive, Malabar spinach, mustard, peppers, pumpkin, summer & winter squash, tomatillos (you need at least two!), tomatoes, beans, cantaloupe
- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Vegetable Planting Guides (Central Texas)
- Roses (early)
- Evergreen shrubs
- Prune dormant perennials and ornamental (clumping) grasses.
- Trees: DO NOT prune red oaks and live oaks unless damaged. Spray immediately with clear varnish.
- No need to apply pruning paint to other trees
- Avoid topping crape myrtles: simply remove sprouts or entire limbs at the trunk.
- Dormant perennials, roses, shrubs and trees. Still time, but don’t wait!
- Citrus with high nitrogen fertilizer like Citrus-tone. Fertilize every few weeks through growing season.
- Add compost to beds as you cut back dormant perennials. Fertilize with slow-release granular late in the month or as dormant perennials leaf out
- Add compost around trees and fertilize. Be sure to dig out grass several feet from the trunk, ideally to the drip line of the tree canopy.
- Watch for powdery mildew. Apply a natural fungicide like Serenade.
- Mow weeds before they set seed. Do not fertilize at this time except with compost!
- Plant native Habiturf seeds after soil prep
- Plant other turf late in month once freezes aren’t coming
- Add compost to vegetable gardens along with organic fertilizer in prep for more summer crops
- Soil test
- Keep floating row cover available avoid covering plants with plastic
- Mulch, but avoid touching the base of trees and roses
- Till in winter cover crops
- When planting, dig hole twice as wide as root ball but no deeper than where it sits in the pot.
- Backfill and water until it sinks in.
- Continue filling in.
- Water again until it sinks in and pack the soil down.
How to Grow Yucca
Last Updated: February 21, 2020 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Andrew Carberry, MPH. Andrew Carberry has been working in food systems since 2008. He has a Masters in Public Health Nutrition and Public Health Planning and Administration from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 91% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.
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The yucca plant is a tough perennial succulent that can grow as a shrub or a tree, depending on the species. While the many species of yucca vary in size and color, they are all able to thrive in hot, dry climates and can be cared for in the same way. The plants often are started from cuttings, although growing yucca from seeds is possible. The easiest propagation method involves division of an already mature plant. Once started, yucca plants can be grown in pots or planted in the ground outdoors – either directly in your garden or in a specially-prepared raised bed.
Growing yucca from seed
I'm not sure where to post this--someone will probably tell me it should be on the growing from seed forum, but thought I'd try here 1st. Doesn't seem like the type of plant that very many people try from seed as I couldn't find my answer doing a search. I have some yucca seed I collected from a plant growing on the side of the dirt road down from me about 3 yrs ago. I was surprised when the seeds germinated a few days ago, as I had just kept them on a shelf in an old plastic bottle. I germinated them using the baggie method. They grow all over the place naturally here in Oklahoma. Can anyone tell me what kind of root system they have & how fast they will grow so I know how to pot them up? Don't want to start out with a little pot if they have a long tap root or are sensitive to being transplanted. Thanks for any advice anyone can give me!
Hi, I used a gallon plastic milk jug cut almost in half, with drain holes poked in the bottom, filled bottom half with good potting soil, wet this down, sprinkled the seeds all over the top, sprinkled a little more potting soil on top, patted it all down a little to make good contact, closed the top over it, taped it shut, stuck it in a shady but not cool place, and when the little guys germinated, removed the top, kept them watered, and now have forty or so repotted in 3 inch pots with regular pottting soil. I keep them from drying out to much, and they are now about 6 inches tall. When I took the mass of plants out of the milk jug, I just shook the little roots free from soil and gently separated them, which was really easy. This works as well as having a great big green house. I do not know what I will do with all the little guys. I am hoping we will have a nice plant trading in my area before they get much bigger. These are white yucca. Next season I will try the red. Such fun. Lots of luck. Florann M.