Glamorous Yucca Rostrata

Yucca Rostrata or the Beaked Yucca is an exceptionally beautiful tree yucca. It develops a perfectly spherical pom-pom at the top of a slender stem. In summer, it puts up a single tall bloom stalk. When the fronds are allowed to remain on the tree, this creates the impression of a lady with long skirts, big hair, and a tall blossom sticking out of her hat.

Beaked Yucca originated in Mexico, and can be seen far North of the border as Denver, Colorado in the United States. Hardy to -23 C, or -9 F., it can be grown out of doors almost anywhere. For a time, it had a reputation as being difficult to grow. This was largely due to its being shipped as a bare-root plant from Mexico. However, when grown from seed locally as are all our Yucca plants, it is well-rooted and adjusted to local climate. Because of its resistance to cold and having relatively few pests or diseases, yucca rostrata, the beaked yucca, is amazingly easy to grow. Once it is established you can simply ignore it unless you are enjoying its lovely appearance.

Like most of the yuccas, the beaked yucca preferred a well-drained location. No yucca plant likes to have wet feet. However, if you live in an area where water is likely to be rationed during the summer months, yet you like to have a little green and perhaps some beautiful blossoms, the beaked yucca will certainly fill the bill. It is an evergreen, so it will retain its showy needles the year around. The blossoms on their single stalk, are large and showy, attracting a variety of pollinators.

Yucca rostrata has several nick names, or common names. It is called beaked yucca because the flowers and the seed pods both have protuberances that resemble a bird’s beak. It is also sometimes called Big Bend Yucca because that is its primary origin. Adam’s Yucca is another name for this showy plant honoring an enterprising nurseryman who shipped them bareroot to places like California, as well as Nordstrom’s yucca after one of the places where the original California yucca rostrata were planted.

When grown as a houseplant, it develops the usual catalogue of indoor pests including root rot, spider mites, and fungus. The best solution for most of these problems is a periodic treatment with neem oil, placing it in a location that has strong sunlight as well as good airflow, and trimming back some of the skirt. In severe cases, a miticide or fungicide might be required.

Yucca rostrata makes an attractive feature plant for a low-water garden. Surround it with other low-growing yucca plant and agave for a lovely foliage area that requires little maintenance.

If all of this were not enough, yucca rostrata has more flexible needles than most of the other yucca plants, large or small. This means that it is friendlier in garden areas that might have pets or children wandering through it.

Conversely, those leaves still have sharp points, and edges that resemble a tiny saw. This means that marauding grazers, such as deer, are unlikely to bother it. If you live in an area where keeping deer out of your garden is a regular problem, yucca rostrata could be a good solution.

If you are looking for a beautiful plant that does not require a lot of water, has few pests, and has its own set of armor to keep off local grazing predators, then yucca rostrata is an excellent choice. Moreover, it does not have the shaggy, wild appearance shared by its cousins yucca filifera and yucca brevia. While not as large as yucca filifera, nor as branched as brevia, the beaked yucca rostrata will grow to three or four meters in height, making it an excellent feature tree. Attractive, low maintenance, and even a little more gardener friendly than its cousins, you could scarcely ask for a better-behaved ornament for your garden.

Some suggested uses for yucca rostrata: placed on either side of an entry way – just make sure it is far enough away from it to avoid encounters with its sharp leaves; as a feature plant in a xeriscape garden area; ornamental plant for a lobby or office when planted in a GRC pot. No matter where you put it, its silvery green-gray leaves will be beautiful all year around, and its showy blossoms, in season, will attract comment.

 

 

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