How do I Grow a Yucca Elephantipes?

Heather Phillips

Yucca elephantipes, also known as Yucca guatamalensis or the Spineless Yucca, is native to southeast Mexico and Guatemala. The plant has stiff, green, blade-like leaves that grow from a central axis, and it can be used as a houseplant, or in outdoor landscaping, depending on the climate. This kind of yucca can grow to 30 ft (9.14 m) tall. It likes bright light, but can do well with less light if it is watered properly.

People who want to keep insects off their yucca elephantipes can try oil derived from the neem tree.
People who want to keep insects off their yucca elephantipes can try oil derived from the neem tree.

If grown outside, yucca plants are hardy in climates similar to those of their native lands. They are widely used as landscape plants in southern Florida, for instance. When outdoors, they should not be overly watered and need good drainage. The plant is very drought-tolerant, and works well near decks or patios, in median strips, or as buffer plantings. When located outside, yucca elephantipes can tolerate salty earth, and will grow well in either acid or alkaline soils.

Wipe down leaves with soapy water to ward off bugs.
Wipe down leaves with soapy water to ward off bugs.

These can also be container plants, for indoor use. Usually, when yucca elephantipes is cultivated for this purpose, it is grown in pots between ten and 17 inches (25.4 cm - 43.2 cm) wide. Inside, it generally grows from three to eight feet ( 0.91 m to 2.44 m) tall.

Yucca elephantipes, if used indoors, should be grown no further than three to five feet (0.91 m to 1.52 m) from a window. It prefers southern exposures, but will do well with an eastern or western exposure if it gets plenty of light. It should be watered when the soil starts to feel dry, at an approximate depth of one inch (2.54 cm), or approximately every seven to ten days.

It is important for container-grown yucca elephantipes to be well drained. This can be accomplished by putting pebbles in the bottom few inches of the pot, which should have drainage holes as well. A sign that the yucca is getting too much water is when leaf ends turn brown, with yellow showing in the healthy part of the leaf. Severe over-watering can result in cane collapse at the base of the plant. Another way to ensure good drainage is to use a potting soil that drains well.

Yucca elepantipes is relatively pest-free when grown indoors. Spider mites will not attack it, although it can be prone to scale or mealybugs. These can usually be deterred with applications of neem oil or soapy water.

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Discussion Comments


@talentryto- I think that your yucca elephantipes plant will be all right, unless the room gets below around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If it's that chilly in the room, you might want to consider moving your yucca plant to another room. I've had yucca plants before, and they will not grow very well if they are exposed to cold temperatures for too long.

Another option would be to put your yucca plant in the room during peak sun hours each day, then move it to another location when the sun goes down. This will give it plenty of sun each day without exposing it to long hours of chilly temperatures.


I recently purchased a yucca elephantipes plant to keep as an indoor plant, so I'm still learning what I need to do to keep it healthy. I have a room with a lot of windows, so the plants I keep in it get plenty of sun exposure. My concern is that the windows are drafty, so the room gets a bit chilly in the winter months. Since yucca plants prefer warm climates, will this effect my plant's health and growth?

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