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How Do I Grow a Yucca Elephantipes?

People who want to keep insects off their yucca elephantipes can try oil derived from the neem tree.
Wipe down leaves with soapy water to ward off bugs.
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  • Written By: Heather Phillips
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 03 July 2014
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Yucca elephantipes, also known as Yucca guatamalensis or the Spineless Yucca, is native to southeast Mexico and Guatamala. The plant has stiff, green, blade-like leaves that grow from a central axis, and it can be used as a houseplant, or in outdoor landscaping, depending on the climate. This kind of yucca can grow to 30 ft (9.14 m) tall. It likes bright light, but can do well with less light if it is watered properly.

If grown outside, yucca plants are hardy in climates similar to those of their native lands. They are widely used as landscape plants in southern Florida, for instance. When outdoors, they should not be overly watered and need good drainage. The plant is very drought-tolerant, and works well near decks or patios, in median strips, or as buffer plantings. When located outside, yucca elephantipes can tolerate salty earth, and will grow well in either acid or alkaline soils.

These can also be container plants, for indoor use. Usually, when yucca elephantipes is cultivated for this purpose, it is grown in pots between ten and 17 inches (25.4 cm - 43.2 cm) wide. Inside, it generally grows from three to eight feet ( 0.91 m to 2.44 m) tall.

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Yucca elephantipes, if used indoors, should be grown no further than three to five feet (0.91 m to 1.52 m) from a window. It prefers southern exposures, but will do well with an eastern or western exposure if it gets plenty of light. It should be watered when the soil starts to feel dry, at an approximate depth of one inch (2.54 cm), or approximately every seven to ten days.

It is important for container-grown yucca elephantipes to be well drained. This can be accomplished by putting pebbles in the bottom few inches of the pot, which should have drainage holes as well. A sign that the yucca is getting too much water is when leaf ends turn brown, with yellow showing in the healthy part of the leaf. Severe over-watering can result in cane collapse at the base of the plant. Another way to ensure good drainage is to use a potting soil that drains well.

Yucca elepantipes is relatively pest-free when grown indoors. Spider mites will not attack it, although it can be prone to scale or mealybugs. These can usually be deterred with applications of neem oil or soapy water.

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