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5 Types of Yucca Plants to Grow in Australia

Yucca plants are great for adding structure to your landscaping. They are surprisingly easy to grow and don’t need that much attention.

I have a yucca growing in a pot that was gifted to me by a friend. It just continues to grow happily on my verandah and all I do is water it and give it an occasional dose of slow-release fertiliser. 

This is why yucca plants are ideal for beginners or those who don’t have a lot of time to spend in the garden.

The only thing to watch out for are the sharp tips on the ends of the leaves. These could cause ear and eye damage if you’re not careful.

Here are some common varieties that you can grow at home.

Yucca elephantipes (Spineless Yucca)

Yucca elephantipes | Plant varieties

This is one of the most common species that is grown in Australia. It’s extremely drought tolerant and will handle growing in hot, sunny spots in the garden.

This plant is also perfect for growing around pool areas but keep in mind that over time, the base can get quite large. Therefore, you want to ensure that you give it plenty of space if planting in the ground.

One way to control the growth is to grow it in a large pot. Limiting the spread of the root system will also limit the growth of the plant. If grown in a pot, it’s unlikely to grow taller than 1.5 metres.

As a bonus, this species does not have the really stiff leaves and sharp spines found in other yucca species. However, the tips of the leaves can still be a little sharp, so take care. 

When mature, this plant will produce large panicles of creamy white flowers in summer and autumn. 

Yucca filamentosa (Adam’s Needle Yucca)

Yucca filamentosa Adams Needle Yucca | Plant varieties

This is the perfect species to grow in coastal areas because it grows really well in rocky or sandy soils. It has dark green leaves that have a sword-like appearance. 

These leaves are quite rigid so care must be taken with the sharp tips. This is also a smaller growing species that should only reach a height of 1.5 metres when grown in the ground.

Once Adam’s Needle Yucca has reached maturity, you can expect long flower spikes with creamy-white flowers that have a waxy texture. These flowers are scented but you’ll only notice this at night.

Yucca rostrata (Beaked Yucca)

Yucca rostrata Beaked Yucca | Plant varieties

This is another popular species grown in Australia. It has a thick trunk with blue-green leaves that are not very rigid. However, they do have sharp tips.

In summer, you can expect this plant to produce a proliferation of white flowers that are cup-shaped. It does grow quite large and can reach a height of 5 metres when grown in the ground.

But, this plant is fairly slow-growing and can take around 10 years to reach full height. 

The beaked yucca is extremely hardy and can withstand cold, heat and drought.

Yucca glauca (Dwarf Yucca)

Yucca glauca Dwarf Yucca | Plant varieties

If you’re after a more compact plant, then you should consider the dwarf yucca. It is one of the smallest of all the yucca species. 

The dwarf yucca will only reach a height of around 1 metre. This also makes it perfect for growing in a pot or planting around the pool. 

The flowers of this species are quite spectacular. The flower spike can reach a height of up to 2 metres above the plant. It produces gorgeous white flowers.

Yucca filifera (Yucca Australis)

Yucca Australis | Plant varieties

This is a tree-like species that can reach a height of 12 metres. However, this will take around 50 years. 

This species is naturally branching and will produce pendulent flower spikes.

FAQ

Do yuccas like sun or shade?

Yuccas will grow in either full sun or semi-shade. My potted plant grows quite happily on my verandah where it only gets some sun. However, yuccas may not flower when grown in partly shaded spots.

What is the lifespan of a yucca?

Yuccas are long-lived plants. If grown outdoors in the ground, yuccas can live for up to 50 years. Plants grown indoors in pots will usually live for around 5 years.

Do yuccas have invasive roots?

Taller growing species of yuccas do have invasive roots. This means you shouldn’t grow them too close to your house or other structures.

What plant is similar to yucca in Australia?

Both dragon trees (Dracaena draco) and aloe trees (Aloidendron barberae) are somewhat similar to yuccas. These plants have a similar appearance and growth habit and are just as hardy.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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