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YUCCA ROSTRATA BLUE SWAN 

 

 

Kingdom: Plantae 

Subkingdom: Tracheobionta

Division: Magnoliophyta

Class: Liliopsida

Subclass: Liliidae

Order: Asparagales

Family: Asparagaceae

SubFamily: Agavoideae

Botanical Name: Yucca Rostrata

Plant Common Name: Beaked yucca, Big Bend yucca, Silver yucca, Soyate , palmita.

 

Origin and Habitat: It is native to the deserts of southwest Texas and areas of the Chihuahuan Desert in northern Mexico.

 

General Description: A spiky urchin-like sphere of bayonet-shaped evergreen leaves tops the shaggy trunk of this dramatic and coveted tree-like yucca. The leaves are twisted, adding further ornamental interest. It has narrow, slightly waxy, greenish-blue leaves with a thin, yellowish edge and a sharp, terminal spine. The species name, rostrata, means beak.

It is striking displayed against building walls, or flanking rustic gateways or drive entries. Yuccas are widely grown as architectural plants providing a dramatic accent to landscape design. Use this moderate-to slow-growing plant for dramatic focal points, in mass groupings, or as an accent in low-water-use landscapes or colder locations.

 

Trunk: Yucca rostrata has a trunk up to 4.5 meters tall, with a crown of leaves at the top. Leaves are thin, stiff, up to 60 cm long but rarely more than 15 mm wide, tapering to a sharp point at the tip. The inflorescence is a large panicle 100 cm tall, with white flowers.

The trunk is coated with the remains of old leaves, giving it a furry look.

 

Exposure: They tolerate a range of conditions, but are best grown in full sun in subtropical or mild temperate areas. Choose a location that has access to full sun. Although Yuccas can tolerate partial shade, they grow best under full sunlight. They are not picky about sun or shade but do need bright light if indoors. Not enough light can sometimes discourage blooms on yucca plants and can be one reason for yellowing leaves.

 

Hardiness: Yucca rostrata is among the most cold tolerant of the genus. This yucca is extremely hardy to minus twenty degrees Fahrenheit (-28 Celsius).

 

Hardiness Zone: 5 and up 

 

Soil/Substrat: Plant in very fast draining soil. It is adapted to a hot, dry environment, but has some tolerance to moisture and humidity when planted in a very well-draining soil as the roots of Yuccas rot easily in wet soil. It is noted as preferring alkaline conditions. It can survive in dry and poor soils pH 5.5 to 7.5. Although it appreciates some moisture in summer, damp winters are not to its liking.

 

Waterings: Treat like a succulent. Yuccas are drought resistant and can survive for many months without water. However, they grow faster if watered well (don't water the crown, though they rot easily). In the garden they should be placed in a sunny, well-drained area with additional summer water in dry climates. Watering from a hose or sprinkler should be done slowly and deeply, not frequently, to avoid shallow root development or root diseases. Allow soil to dry several inches deep before irrigating. 

Provide little or no water in winter. Most winter injury is from drying out, not cold temperatures. Be prepared to water during prolonged sunny, windy, dry spells even in the winter. Mulches help prevent water loss during hot, windy, or sunny weather.

 

Fertilization: Proper fertilization of yucca plants starts with application. Fertilizer should be evenly spread in a circle over the soil of the surface where the roots of the plants spread. Apply water immediately after applying fertilizer to the soil to help the fertilizer seep into the ground. Fertilizer should be applied to yucca plants once a year, at most, in the early summer.

Sometimes, however, applying fertilizer to yucca plants may do more harm than good. The salt found in fertilizers may harm plants that are already suffering from unhealthy roots. Giving plants too many nutrients may be as detrimental as giving them too few. Don't start fertilizing yucca plants, or giving them extra fertilizer, simply because they look unhealthy. Follow a fertilizing schedule and stick to it to avoid doing damage to the plant with excess fertilization treatments. Never fertilize yucca plants when they are newly transplanted.

 

Maintenance: Outdoor yucca plant care: Plants prefer dry soil that has full access to the sun. Avoid overwatering the plant as this can cause rotting of the roots. Cut off all the dead leaves in order to keep the plant neat. Yuccas are not fond of being transplanted, so make sure that you will choose the right location before planting them.

 

For potted houseplant, Yucca plant care indoors: make sure that the plant has sufficient access to intense light. Use heavy pots as yuccas tend to be heavy in both their stem and foliage. When watering, simply sprinkle water on the top of the plant if the soil feels dry. Although yuccas do not prefer to watered heavily, draught or lack of water can cause the leaves to turn brown or yellow. Remove dead and yellow leaves from the yucca plant, and dispose of the leaves in the garbage. Keep healthy yucca leaves clean by dusting them occasionally with a soft cloth. Dust will block sunlight and air from entering the leaves.

 

Blooming season/Fruit: In late spring or early summer, the plant produces dramatic clusters of white flowers that rise from its center. The blooms attract night-flying moths. Following the bloom cycle, it produces seeds that resemble a bird’s beak.

The spectacular bloomer grows ten to fifteen feet tall, forming an attractive, thatched trunk and branching towards the top of the plant as it matures.

 

Problems: There can occur rust fungus, specially after a wet warm winter, If the damage is done there are noting to do, but the rust fungus rarely spread to the new growth. The rust fungus can be prevented if the plants are protected against winter moisture or with a sheet of glass. 

 

Watch your yucca plant or signs of anthracnose of agaves, a fungal disease that causes lesions on leaves and red to orange spore masses. Remove affected leaves at first sign of infection.

 

Check your yucca plant often for signs of spotted mites, which leave tell-tale gray webs under leaves, as well as tan or gray speckling on the plant. Spray the yucca plant with insecticidal soap to control the mites; you can also discourage them by misting your yucca plant frequently. 

 

Water regularly, because if the plant doesn’t get enough liquid, its leaves will soon turn yellow and then brown

 

Special Note: Make sure to wear heavy gloves to prevent the leaves from cutting your hands.