If a yucca feels really comfortable with you, it may be that it puts on a lot. Depending on the variety, the ceiling is then quickly reached. At the latest then the question arises as to what you cut off where and when. The whole yucca can grow into several new yuccas, but sometimes you just want new yuccas to grow from many children, or you want the cut to heal. How to properly trim your yucca depends on why you want to trim it.

The yucca is getting too big

Since a yucca is not a yucca palm, but as a palm lily (that’s what the genus Yucca is called in German) belongs to the agave plants of the asparagus family, it also grows more like an agave or an asparagus. Namely rather quickly and without developing thick, woody stems. If a yucca has the genes to grow several meters tall, it will eventually collide with your ceiling.

If a yucca is being rudely slowed down by the ceiling, it’s time to trim it or it will develop unsightly curves along the ceiling.

When the time comes, you can get to work without any worries, the trunk of a yucca is a fairly lively plant material that is willing to sprout. How to proceed:

  • Buy new pots and saucers for the parts you have won
  • Buy or mix potting soil and tree wax to seal the interfaces
  • If in doubt, sharpen your knife
  • A fine-toothed saw is better for yucca with very thick trunks that form strong fibers
  • Disinfect knife/saw in boiling water
  • Divide the trunk of the yucca in a visually appropriate place
  • The “old” yucca should continue to grow, you should leave a little green on it if possible
  • Cut off all the fronds individually from the top piece
  • Remove the lower leaves from each of these cut parts
  • You should be left with a kind of small stump that you can push into the soil in the pot
  • If the lower leaves are left on, the stump could rot in the soil
  • The “new yucca” are potted, pressed down well and poured with water at room temperature
  • The mother plant is coated at the interfaces with tree wax

Which yuccas will eventually need to be divided?

Yuccas are easy-growing, uncomplicated, beautifully green with their large leaves – so we sell a lot of yuccas. This also in more and more varieties. Internet-savvy citizens of the world will have no trouble getting a representative of each of the 50 types of yucca into their home. But the types we sell are enough. Some of these will also need a cut in any normal living space at some point and others in high old building rooms will do without a cut for the rest of their lives.

So you have the opportunity to choose from the outset the yucca that, with normal growth, fits into your space so well that it never needs to be trimmed. Here is a list of the best-known yuccas according to growth habit, pruning requirement, pruning tolerance:

Yucca Section

1. Series Faxonianae: Y. carnerosana, Y. faxoniana

2. Series Baccatae: Y. baccata (blue palm lily) is known, related are Y. arizonica and Y. confinis. Stemless or short-stemmed yucca, pruning usually only required for malformations and not required for size correction.

3. Series Treculianae: Y. schidigera, Y. torreyi (Torrey palm), Y. treculiana (Bajonett palm), Y. valida (Datillo palm), related are Y. capensis, Y. declinata, Y. decipiens, Y. filifera, Y. grandiflora, Y. jaliscensis, Y. mixtecana, Y. periculosa, Y. potosina, Y. schottii. Solitary yuccas or yuccas forming several trunks with growth heights between 2.5 and 5 m, which often have to be adjusted to our ceiling heights.

4. Series Gloriosae: Y. gloriosa (candle palm lily) is known , related to Y. recurvifolia. Slow-growing yuccas, which may take a long time to form stems, which usually do not need pruning in normal living spaces.

5. Series Yucca: Y. aloifolia (gray palm), Y. elephantipes (giant palm), related are Y. lacandonica, Y. linearifolia, Y. madrensis, Y. yucatana. Form trunks between 3 and 8 m in height, can be shortened, but do best in high rooms because new growth is a long time coming.

Chaenocarpa Section

1. Series Filamentosae: Both representatives are known, Y. filamentosa (filamentous yucca) and Y. flaccida (flabby yucca). Both pretty clumps of yucca, stemless or with short stems, both delicate plants that certainly do not need to be trimmed due to their excessive growth.

2. Rupicolae series: Y. rigida (blue yucca), Y. rostrata , Y. thompsoniana are known, related are Y. cernua, Y. pallida, Y. queretaroensis, Y. reverchonii, Y. rupicola. Mostly yuccas with strong stems , which can reach considerable heights, with a frost hardiness of down to -20 °C, more suitable for the garden than for the living room.

3. Series Harrimaniae: The Y. nana, the dwarf palm lily, is well-known. Y. harrimaniae is related and there are four subspecies. Also regular sized yuccas without stems or stems up to 30 cm that you really won’t be after with pruning tools.

4. From the series Glaucae we know the Y. glauca (blue-green yucca) and the soap palm (soap palm), Y. angustissima, Y. arkansana, Y. baileyi, Y. coahuilensis, Y. campestris, Y. constricta . Mostly stemless or very short stem-forming yuccas, pruning is usually not necessary, the cultivars sold here usually reach ideal living room dimensions.

The Endlichiana section contains only the succulent, stemless Yucca finialiana, which, with a maximum height of approx. 0.5 m and difficult maintenance, will certainly never be pruned.

The only yucca in the Clistocarpa section is the well-known Y. brevifolia, the Joshua palm. It forms a thick, strong trunk that can reach heights of up to 5 m and more. This yucca can also be topped, but since the branching only begins at a height of 2 to 3 m, it is more of a plant for very spacious rooms.

The Hespero section contains various Y. whipplei, difficult-to-grow exotic species that die off after a meter-high flower has developed.

The Healing Cut

Even if the growth form and height of the yucca suit your living room, a pruning may be necessary if the plant is not doing really well.

Various diseases can make it advisable to use scissors, as can pests. If parts of the plant have been affected in such a way that they are unlikely to produce photosynthesis, they must be removed. Otherwise, the yucca will keep trying to feed these useless leaves and will lose even more strength as a result. Of course, the causes must also be combated, when to cut as part of disease or pest control depends on the individual case.

Another reason for cutting are light green, thin leaves or ugly long thin trunks – these are caused by a lack of light. In this case, you first have to look for a brighter place for the yucca, but after moving, cut it almost immediately without a long break, the better light should benefit the new shoots.


When you trim a yucca, don’t cut into heavily woody material like a tree branch, but mostly into green living plant tissue. This is full of saps, if you don’t seal the interfaces she could leak a lot of that sap and suffer as a result.

If an already fairly stout stem is to be sawn in tiers (yes, you can, common practice among seasoned yucca enthusiasts), it may contain less sap, but the wound treatment is still beneficial. In this case, it prevents the interfaces from drying out, which can cause strange growth paths in yuccas when new shoots occur.

Tree wax has already been mentioned above, if the yucca is cut in a spontaneous action, you can also use candle wax or another wound sealant that you usually use when pruning trees.

When to cut?

The whole operation is really stressful for your yucca, which it survives best when it is in a good (growing) mood. So in the spring, when she is just starting to grow for the season – if you divide your yucca now, the resulting and newly planted parts will take the momentum with them when they sprout.

Partially trim the yucca

You don’t always have the division of your yucca in mind when you reach for the cutting tool. Sometimes parts of a yucca are meant to be cut away to serve other purposes:

1. Prune yucca for propagation

Even a yucca that is limited in shape to sizes suitable for the living room can get cramped, namely in the pot, in which it has eagerly sent new small yuccas up from the root area.

With a yucca in indoor culture, these buds are very good for getting new potted plants for free: they can be cut off with a sharp knife when they have formed the first 5 leaves. The “child” is rooted in a pot with a mixture of compost and medium-grain sand. The best time to separate the yucca cuttings is spring, the pot is placed in a bright but not directly sunny place. When the next leaves appear, roots have formed, now the young yucca can gradually get used to the sunlight.

2. Trim roots when repotting

Even without excessive seedlings in the pot, the root space can become tight if the entire soil area consists only of roots. Then the yucca should be repotted as soon as possible so that it can find soil for its nutrition again. You should always shorten and thin out the overflowing root undergrowth at the same time. In this way you make room for fresh fine roots, which can provide your yucca with the best possible care.

3. Remove diseased parts of a yucca

Yucca like to get sick once in a while, e.g. B. have to hibernate in warm living rooms where they can not insert the rest phase that they actually need with so little light. This weakens, and then the yucca tends to catch various diseases and pests. Once this is done, the yucca needs to be cured, but even when this is done, yellow leaves often remain.

You shouldn’t cut them off immediately, that would be further stress for the already weak plant, but simply leave them hanging for now. They usually fall off by themselves after a while. You can also pluck carefully after waiting a while, often you then have the ugly leaf in your hand.

4. Rescue drowned yucca

Most yuccas come from desert areas. A lack of information about this fact coupled with exaggerated care often lead to a yucca involuntarily “going for a swim”. If you find that you have accidentally turned your yucca into an aquatic plant, it needs to be taken out of its pot, dried off and planted in new soil. When repotting, you should look at the roots. If they’re already rotten, you’ll need to cut away anything that looks soft and gooey, down to the crunchy root area, before moving the yucca to drier soil.

If it is already rotting, the trunk should also be checked. If this already feels strangely soft, it can no longer nourish its leaves. If the remains of such a yucca are to survive, you must feel the survivable part. It starts somewhere near the top where the trunk still feels firm. The yucca is now cut off a bit above it, and you can then root the healthy part you have gained in this way in water. It is planted with new roots.

If the shoot tips have already suffered at the top, they should also be cut away. Larger cut surfaces are then sealed with tree wax (wax) so that the yucca, which is just taking root below, does not dry up at the top in the meantime.

Conclusion Pruning
a yucca is not particularly difficult because it usually regrows from each section of its pseudo-stem. You can turn a yucca that has grown too tall into several yuccas by rooting and planting the sections. When a yucca has produced so many buds that it is becoming cramped in the pot, it can be rid of them; the remaining reasons for trimming a yucca are due to continued healthy growth.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *