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Mr. Smarty Plants - Fertilization of recently-transplanted yucca

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Monday - January 26, 2009

From: Sarasota, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Transplants, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Fertilization of recently-transplanted yucca
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted a soft tip yucca a week ago, the spineless type. I was doing a landscaping job, it was dug up, left for a week without any dirt around the roots, and when the customer did not want it, I planted it in my yard. It has shown absolutely no signs of stress in the leaves despite the long uprooting, and I do not know if I should fertilize it or not. It has been transplanted for two weeks now.

ANSWER:

USDA Plant Profile Yucca recurvifolia shows it appearing in the Southeastern states but not Florida. It is referred to by other sources as spineless yucca, but on the USDA site the common name given it is curve-leaf yucca. It does not appear in our Native Plant Database, but the USDA site refers to it as native to North America.

Another plant, Yucca elephantipes has common names of both soft-tip yucca and spineless yucca, according to this USDA Forest Service Service website. It is referred to as non-native to North America, but is shown on their map as growing in Florida. 

And the plant you are referring to may be yet another species. Common names are often confusing and conflicting, one of the very good reasons why we try to use scientific names as much as possible. However, it probably isn't too important, as yuccas in general have pretty tough roots and are accustomed to survival under much more difficult circumstances than being out of the ground for a week. It can propagate itself from small pieces of root, and throws off pups to spread itself. The most important factor for a yucca is very good drainage. It cannot tolerate roots standing in water. If it would make you feel better to give it a little fertilizer, it won't hurt anything. Just don't overwater and don't let water stand on it. It would be preferable, in fact, to avoid overhead watering at all, but will be all right if the soil will drain. 

Pictures of Yucca recurvifolia

Pictures of Yucca elephantipes.

 

 

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