How to cut and propagate yucca


The yucca forms long thin shoots with sparse leaf scapes when there is a lack of light. Here is how to cut off your yucca in a simple way, and propagate it at the same time.

If your yucca (Yucca elephantipes) stands too dark, it will form very long bare shoots over the years, with some foliage only at the tips. In locations with good lighting, such as a conservatory, the leafy scapes of the yucca appear much more lush and make the whole plant look more vital. If a more favorable location is available, you should take the opportunity to cut the long shoots down to short stubs to regrow your yucca from the bottom. However, the cut shoots are too bad for the compost. Instead, you can still make good use of the plant parts for propagation: New yuccas can easily be grown from the shoots or cuttings.

What you need to cut and propagate yucca

  • cutting board
  • sharp knife or saw
  • string or felt pen
  • tree wax and brush
  • small pots or glass
  • potting compost and sand
  • foil bags or empty plastic bottles
  • watering can with water

How to cut yucca properly

Cut the trunk of the yucca into 20 to 30 cm (8 to 12 in) long pieces with a sharp knife or saw, making a good note of where the top and bottom are. If you can’t reliably tell from the surface texture, simply mark the top with string or an arrow. You can draw the arrow on the bark with a thick felt-tip pen.

After cutting off the long shoots, it is best to transplant the base of the trunk with the root ball into fresh soil and then spread the cut wounds with tree wax. It prevents the fibrous, moist tissue from drying out too much. In a warm and bright, not too sunny place on the windowsill, the yucca will then quickly sprout again and form a new green head of leaves.

Propagate yucca by shoot cuttings

The unrooted stem or shoot cuttings of the yucca are also spread with tree wax on top and placed with about one third to one quarter of their length in small pots with a mixture of sand and humus-rich growing soil. Then water the stem cuttings well and cover them, including the pot, with translucent foil bags or plastic bottles.

They also need a warm and bright, not too sunny place on the windowsill and must be kept evenly moist. As a rule, the yucca cuttings will then show new, tender shoots after only three to four weeks. From this stage, you can remove the film and fertilize the plants a little.

Once the leaf scapes are well formed, the new yuccas are then transferred to larger pots with normal potting soil.

Propagate yucca by leaf tufts

Alternatively, a yucca can be successfully propagated through the green leaf tufts that are on the side of the cut stem piece. Simply cut the leaf tufts with a sharp knife and place them in a glass of water. It is recommended to change the water every few days if possible. Within a few weeks, the leaf tufts should form their first roots. As soon as these show the first small branching, the new yucca plantlets can be transplanted into pots with soil.

The name yucca palm, which is often used, comes from the fact that the trunk of the plant resembles that of palm trees. However, the yucca is a so-called palm lily, which belongs to the asparagus family. It is not botanically related to palms.

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