Can Yucca withstand winter outside?

brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)December 1, 2009

I have the kind with three trunks and thick, sharp, but not prickly leaves. Bought it as houseplant 7 years ago. Has gotten so big that I can't bring it in house. No room.

Is this type grown specifically for indoors? I ask because I see yucca all over the place in people's yards.

I'm hoping I can keep it on front porch and just keep it covered and the pot wrapped in burlap on nights we have freezes, which is not real often.

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The ones you see are outside are a different species. The indoor plant is Yucca elephantipes (more correctly Y. guatemalensis) and begins to suffer cold damage at around 40F/4C.

You might be able to start the plant over by taking cuttings; I've had good luck starting cuttings in water or soil.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 6:39PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Tks !! Not to sound dumb, but where would you take a cutting from? I know how to with small plants, but do you mean cut the trunk? OH NO!! I can't bear to. She's so pretty. I'll just have to find someone to babysit it over winter, I guess.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 7:39PM
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Alas, yes. When I've done it before, I've either taken individual whorls of foliage off the side of the main trunk, or I've cut straight through the trunk. Most of the time, when you cut straight through the trunk, the plant will resprout new heads to replace the lost ones, though I found out this summer that this is far from a sure thing.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 10:02PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Well...I only have three main trunks and no extra foliage, so don't think I want to 'operate' on my baby :o) But thanks for the insight. I think my next door neighbors may be able to take her for the winter. I'll just have to make sure they let ME manage the watering schedule.

Thanks again !! Bonnie (Brit)

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 10:15PM
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donaldb(5B Worcester, MA)

Go to the Palms forum and click on this thread:Palm pics in Staten island. Bear in mind what you are going to look at are yuccas that are let to do what they want in the Northeast

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 11:30AM
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Just to be clear: the Yuccas in the Staten Island thread are not the same species as the plant sold as a houseplant. Y. guatemalensis will not do what the pictures show the other yuccas doing.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 12:18PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Tks donaldb, but also thanks Mr. S since THAT is my concern. The houseplant type. I've got a couple days left, according to my gardening guru (almanac or weather channel...who knows?) to get my houseplants inside. Guess for now I'll just bring them in at night and trip over them when making my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night....ha ha ha.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 8:07PM
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Oklahoma_Tim(z7a OK)

My local grocery store recently got some large potted yuccas, and at $10 I thought about buying one to plant outside. If these plants aren't cold-hardy, then I guess I'm glad I didn't buy one. I don't really have enough room for the houseplants I've got already, and the last thing I need is another large one!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 2:15AM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Yeah...that's about what I paid for mine from Kmart. Real nice plant, but like you say, I have NO room for it. It is still sitting on my front porch. A few nites ago, we had a frost/freeze (a freeze here means the birdbath freezes..ha ha) and I did cover it with a sheet. But other than that, I really don't know what to do. My house is just not "plant friendly" as far as windows, space, etc. But I've had this one for almost 10 yrs. so it's very special to me.

bonnie aka brit5467

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 2:21AM
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I wish I knew what variegated cultivar I have, but the tag said only 'decorative yucca'. Anyway, I planted it in the ground the year before, and before its first winter it flowered, in spring it looked dead, but by summer it had offset 5-6 times. Our temps here can get to -25C or so, but I think what saves the yuccas is the snow pack insulating the plants from the cold, dehydrating winds that can come here any month in December. I'm happy to report that the first part of the plants' blanket was added this morning with 4 cm of the white stuff.

Anyway, I'd cover it with burlap/snow until you find its hardiness, which should be at least a Z5, if not a Z4. And even then, keep it covered - IME, plants in pots are much more susceptible to freezing than those in the ground.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 11:45AM
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Bonnie, the two nurseries below specialize in Yuccas. Type Yucca in the Search box. Click on the Yucca that's descriptive to yours.

I found this site, regarding Yucca, spineless, variegated

Yuccas can endure pretty cold variegated yucca stopped growing when it was kept in a warm LR..I then placed it in a cool room and voila, Jack and the
It's now over 8' tall..

Another possibility is rooting a section of leaves..they're easily rooted in soil. Remove a clump of leaves and place in well-draining soil. A shallow pot is best.
There's other ways to root, of course, but by rooting leaves you'll have enough indoor room, for many years..Toni

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 1:10PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Thanks to both of you ! I'll check out the sites soon. Have an illness in family.
Bonnie aka brit5467

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 9:48AM
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Mentha(9 CA)

Wait a minute! Why can't it grow outside on the coast of VA? I'd say if you don't freeze often, put it on the east side of the house where it gets morning sun and cover it with a blanket if it is forecast too cold. Put bubble wrap around the pot to insulate it leaving the water hole open. It will lose leaves but should bounce back when it warms up.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 9:18PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Thanks everyone, but I found a home for it next door in my neighbor's sunporch. I have access to go and check on it when I want and I will be taking care of the watering. So problem solved. Thanks for all your help !!

bonnie aka brit5467

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 10:41PM
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