Yucca Cane: Plant Care & Propagation

By Andrea Beck | Updated: January 20, 2023

Scientific name

Yucca elephantipes

Common name

Yucca Cane



Checked by Jennifer Schutter, Certified Master Gardener

Yucca Cane




Variable, medium


Loose, root bound.








Variable, medium





Yucca cane are some of the absolute easiest to care for indoor plants that you can find, so it’s no surprise that so many turn to Yucca for their first adventure with indoor gardening.

It tolerates infrequent water (actually prefers it!), does well in a wide range of temperatures, recovers quickly if neglected (unlike most tropical plants… and me), and most pests/diseases don’t actually bother it.

Read on for our complete Yucca plant care guide, where we’ll cover propagation, common issues, and the questions we get the most.

(We’ll even answer them!)

Yucca Cane Care Guide

History, habitat, and characteristics

First let’s dive into a quick history of Yucca Cane, including how indoor Yucca cane plants became so popular.

The Yucca family includes over fifty different species, and Yucca cane (Yucca elephantipes) is maybe the easiest of these varieties to care for. Its long, narrow leaves are thin and spiky, measuring anywhere from two to three feet in length, and designed to repel pests and other sneaky feeders.

Yucca has a waxy leaf surface that reaches into the deep greens, but if the plant needs more water, it will take on a dull sheen and wilt. As Yucca grows and expands, its trunk may reach heights of up to 12 feet and radiate outward like a blooming flower, but indoors, they’ll typically be a bit shorter.

“Spineless Yucca” is one of the softer-leaf varieties of the Yucca genus. This makes them more inviting and easier to handle, as the leaflets have no thorns or stiff spines like some of the other varieties.

Yucca Cane is a desert dweller native to mainly Mexico, parts of Honduras, and some parts of the United States. Due to its impressive resiliency, however, it can adapt to a variety of climates, including sub-tropical areas.

In addition to exceptional survivability, Yucca Cane is also ideal for home environments, as it has a manageable size of up to 6 feet when grown in pots and can maintain a neat appearance with occasional pruning. In the summer, it produces white flowers that rise on stalks, especially if placed outdoors.

When it comes to climate, Yucca cane prefers a warm environment with bright light, but can tolerate some shade. It also prefers a well-draining soil mix like cactus soil and should be watered only sparingly. To maintain its size and shape, the Yucca cane should be pruned each growing season, although this isn’t needed often.

Yucca varieties

  • Hesperaloe parviflora, or Red Yucca Plant. Not actually a Yucca at all! It grows best in arid climates and can reach heights of between 2-6 feet with bright red flowers blooming from May to September.
  • Banana yucca, or Yucca baccata, is an evergreen shrub with pinkish-white flowers that can grow up to 10 feet high and is even edible with proper preparation.
  • Adam’s Needle (Y. filamentosa) accompanied by its yellow-green flowers, grows to around 5 feet and is a stunning addition to any outdoor garden.
  • Spineless Yucca Plant (Yucca guatemalensis), which, as its name suggests, is a variety of yucca with spineless leaves. This type of yucca can reach up to 8 feet in height and produces fragrant white flowers in the summertime.


Yucca plants are not very sensitive to lighting conditions, unlike many other plants. You’ll find the amount of light really only affects how quickly they’ll grow. And if you do manage to miscalibrate your lighting, they spring back pretty quickly once you find a happier place for them.

That being said, I usually recommend placing a Yucca plant based on where it’ll look best in your room. That’s right, no tracking northern vs southern exposure windows, or charting the light over the course of a day. With the Yucca plant, you can relax a bit.

Let’s cover some of the signs that maybe your lighting isn’t set up quite right. If you notice slow growth, large spaces between the leaves, or yellowing of the leaves, then the plant is not receiving enough light.

If the leaves start to turn brown or yellow and curl, then the plant may be receiving too much light and you should consider filtering or weakening the light, or moving the plant away from the window.


This resilient desert-dweller is actually pretty happy having its watering needs neglected. Just like its versatile approach to light, watering is pretty simple as long as you avoid overwatering.

If you aren’t experienced with indoor plants, I really recommend you water this one a bit less than you expect you should. It often feels like we have to be involved daily with our plants to keep them happy, and with some, that might be true.

The Yucca? It prefers you forget about it.

So let’s keep an eye out for signs of overwatering. If you notice the leaves of your Yucca Cane beginning to droop, turn yellow, or touch the ground in a way they weren’t before, you may have gone too far!

Let the soil dry out completely before adding any water and give it plenty of light and airflow. You might also notice the trunk being a bit softer to the touch: this could be a sign of root issues.

Remember: Yucca is a desert plant, so average rainfall and infrequent precipitation are the norm. Let the first few inches of soil dry out before giving it a sip, and when you water, do so thoroughly, letting it drain out of the bottom.

Indoor Yucca plant watering tips:

  • Water the plant when the top few inches of soil feel dry, with frequency increasing in Spring and Summer.
  • Do not let the soil become soggy, as this can lead to root rot and other diseases.
  • Overwatering can cause nutrient deficiencies (as they wash out) and yellowing of the leaves.
  • Underwatering can cause leaves to become dry, pale, and brittle.

Temperature and humidity

Plants can’t speak, right? So it’s our responsibility to keep their environment just right. But they sort of can speak. I know, I know—hear me out.

When we get to know a plant, we become highly attuned to changes in its appearance. So if your intuition is telling you something is off, you might just be right.

With Yucca plants, there’s a small exception: these plants do well in such a wide variety of environments that they’ll often be silent guests in our homes. Yucca plants can even grow in frosty climates, so if you ever want to move it outside, there’s not too much to worry about.

For temperature, aim for between 65-80 degrees, and it’s pretty happy in an even wider range. Remember that deserts experience huge fluctuations in temperature between day and night, so this plant doesn’t mind.

For humidity: really, anything goes. You might notice crispy leaf edges if it’s too dry, but that’s easily fixed with a pebble tray or humidifier. I doubt you’ll need either.


  • The Yucca cane plant prefers warm temperatures, between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit, but can survive even well under 50 degrees.
  • Yucca cane does fine with lower levels of humidity, especially if they’re consistent.
  • Humidifiers can be used in homes with lower humidity levels to help raise the moisture levels in the air around your yucca cane.

Soil and planting

Since Yucca plants come from the desert, try to mimic the well-draining, light soils found there.

We suggest a soil mix with:

  • Fresh potting soil
  • Coarse sand
  • Perlite

We’re trying to create a soil that won’t compact the roots of the Yucca plant, while still holding some moisture, so that you can water infrequently. Perlite is especially helpful as it does both of these, providing moisture retention and spacing out the dirt so there’s adequate drainage.

For re-potting, Yucca plants thrive when rootbound, unlike a lot of other indoor plants. So consider re-potting more based on aesthetics and encouraging growth.

Your Yucca cane plant shouldn’t need liquid fertilizer, but if you do add any, make sure to water first and dilute well.

Propagation guide

Yucca plants naturally produce offshoots (or pups) that can be propagated through division.

Division propagation is what it sounds like: you dig up the existing Yucca plant, divide or cut the root cluster into smaller chunks, and then replant each separately. If you want to give a friend a pet plant quickly, this is a great choice.

Propagating with Division Propagation:

  1. Identify the base of the mother plant and any offsets.
  2. Make sure both the mother plant and the offsets have healthy growth.
  3. Prepare the soil beforehand with a fast-draining mix suitable for succulents.

Stem cuttings, on the other hand, require cutting off a section of the yucca cane close to the root and replanting it in its own pot or in water. While the process might take a bit longer, it is fun to watch the roots grow.

Propagating with stem cuttings:

  1. Cut a stem at least four inches long, below the leaf nodes, with a sharp, sterile cutting tool.
  2. Leave at least two to three leaves on the stem and mother plant before separating.
  3. Ensure the soil mix for the cutting is dry and matches the needs of the Yucca cane.
  4. Place the pot in a bright but cool area.
  5. Once new roots start to emerge, water the plant with a very diluted fertilizer.

Tips for a successful Yucca propagation:

  • Make sure that the segments taken from division propagation are sizeable and have a few healthy roots each.
  • Remove any brown or yellow leaves before propagation and apply rooting hormone to the stem.

Congratulations! Hopefully, you now have more Yucca plants on the way.

Common issues

This is usually where I say that all plants can have issues, it’s not uncommon (hence the section title!) and we can figure this out together. The Yucca cane plant, however, is actually pretty problem-free!

That being said, there are a few issues we see come up. A Yucca cane plant indoors really suffers most from soil moisture issues, so let’s cover that first.


Yup, we tried to warn you! Yucca plants thrive when neglected, so if you’ve been a little too on top of watering your plant, you’ll notice drooping or yellow leaves. The good news is these plants recover easily.

Just let the soil dry out, and if it doesn’t recover, it’s time to investigate the root system and whether there’s rot, which we’ll cover down below.

Low light

Above, we suggested placing your Yucca cane plant based on where it looks best, but if this was in a shadowy corner of your library, it might need more indirect light. You’ll notice slow growth, yellow leaves, and your soil might even stay a bit too moist if so.

Tweak its placement in your house. Remember that indirect light doesn’t mean no light!

Yellow leaves

Leaf yellowing is probably the most common issue among Yucca Canes, and this problem can have a number of different causes.

Most common is overfertilizing, which can lead to leaf chlorosis in Yucca Canes, so make sure you’re being careful when applying fertilizer.

Too much of certain nutrients, like nitrogen, lead to discoloration and wilting of the leaves. When fertilizing, use a balanced soluble fertilizer at a quarter to half the recommended strength – when in doubt, it’s better to fertilize less than more.

Diseases and pests

This will sound like a familiar refrain, but this is another place that Yucca plants shine: they’re incredibly pest resilient. Generally, pests won’t bother the Yucca cane due to its sharp leaves and waxy surface.

Root rot: This occurs most frequently with moist soil that drains slowly. To avoid, let the soil completely dry out between watering and remember that this plant is happy when it’s thirsty. When the soil becomes overly waterlogged, it can lead to root rot. Inspect the roots and cut any off that are mushy or looking unhealthy. Repot in fresh soil after.

Pests: Insects aren’t a large issue for Yucca plants indoors. Most of the bugs you spot actually might be coming from neighbor plants, so don’t react too quickly. If it does seem to be an infestation of your Yucca (you notice white webbing, holes, yellowing, scarring) you can apply cold soapy water or Neem oil. Agave plant bugs will happily suck the life out of its leaves, so don’t feel bad about evicting them.

Fungus: Symptoms could present as black or brown spots on the leaves or stems. Isolate the plant immediately and prune away any affected areas. Spray the plant with a fungicidal spray and isolate it in a sunny location with plenty of airflow. You can even move it outdoors if you have the space.

With any of these issues, consider re-potting the plant in well-draining soil after you’ve resolved the initial problem.


That’s it for our indoor Yucca plant care guide. This is really a lovely plant, especially for beginners. Make sure to give it bright, indirect light and water it infrequently. Once you have a healthy parent plant, it’s time to think about propagating and giving away Yucca cane plants to all of your friends!

If you notice brown tips on these sword-shaped leaves, check for low humidity or how much light it’s getting.

Growing Yucca cane is really as easy as it gets, but if you have any issues, feel free to get in touch with one of our experts for advice and encouragement! Enjoy your new plants!


Is Yucca cane an indoor or outdoor plant?

Yucca cane (Yucca elephantipes) is primarily grown as an indoor plant, but does well in outdoor conditions. You can find Yucca cane easily at most home gardening centers and plant shops.

What is Yucca Cane good for?

Yucca canes are great for beginner plant parents who are learning how to take care of an indoor plant. They tolerate a variety of conditions, filter the air, and can grow slowly and reliably if given indirect light.

Do Yucca cane plants need direct sun?

Yucca cane plants can tolerate direct sun a lot better than most indoor plants. As long as the sun isn’t excessive, these plants’ waxy leaves should protect them, as they do in the arid climates Yucca canes come from.

How many Yucca plants can be grown from mature plants?

It depends! From a mature Yucca cane plant, you can often grow multiple children simultaneously by propagating through division. Just make sure each plant has a healthy, robust root structure and plenty of foliage.

Is Yucca cane related to Yucca aloifolia?

Yup! The Yucca cane plant is related to Yucca aloifolia (Spanish Bayonet/Dagger Plant). They’re both Yuccas!


Our Expert
Jennifer Schutter

Jennifer Schutter is a certified master gardener with over 14 years of gardening experience. Her expertise is in indoor plant propagation and home ecology.