The candle palm lily Yucca gloriosa, which is also known as Spanish dagger or outdoor yucca, is a perennial, woody plant. Depending on the species, it can reach heights of up to 2.50 m and grows without a stem for many years with a basal rosette of leaves. Only in old age does it form a trunk that raises the rosette of leaves up to 2 m above the ground. Its sword-shaped leaves are blue-green to grey-green in colour. Particularly striking are the bell-shaped, fragrant inflorescences, which grow up to 1.40 m high and can be white, creamy-white or greenish, depending on the species.
Table of Contents
- Belongs to the asparagus family.
- Reaches growth heights of between 0.50 and 2.50 m.
- Flowering time in late summer or autumn.
- Resistant to cold down to minus 20 degrees.
- Blue-green to grey-green leaf color.
- Leaves are evergreen.
- Inflorescence up to 1.40 m high.
- Bell-shaped flowers resemble those of oversized lilies of the valley.
- Flower colors white, cream or slightly greenish.
This candle lily can be planted in spring, summer and autumn, either individually or in groups of up to three specimens. When planting in groups, a planting distance of 60-80 cm should be maintained so that each individual plant can develop well.
Heavy soil should be made more permeable before planting with sand, gravel or pumice so that excess water can always drain off easily. This is vital for the Yucca gloriosa palm lily, because it generally reacts very sensitively to moisture.
The root balls should be well moistened. Then, depending on the number of plants, sufficiently large planting holes are dug and the palm lilies are planted at ground level. Then fill up with excavated earth and press the earth down lightly with your hands. Finally, rinse the whole thing thoroughly.
The right location plays a crucial role in caring for the candle palm lily. In accordance with their original home, palm lilies prefer warm, sunny locations in this country, but also thrive well in partially shaded places. South facing areas are best suited. The Yucca gloriosa is very sensitive to moisture, both from below and from above. Therefore, the respective location should also be protected from rain.
- This magnificent plant does well in any well-drained garden soil.
- Coarse sand and loam can be added to commercially available standard soil.
- As already mentioned, make heavy soil more permeable with sand or gravel.
- Particularly acidic soils are improved by adding lime and basalt flour.
- Also pay attention to a permeable substrate when planting in a container.
- Drainage in the pot is important, for example from potsherds or coarse gravel.
The first few weeks after planting, you should water more frequently to make it easier for the candle palm lily to grow. After that, the water requirement of the Yucca gloriosa is very low. Accordingly, one should water very sparingly. Specimens planted in the garden often do not have to be watered at all, or only in particularly dry and hot summers.
Short periods of drought are no problem for this palm lily. However, the soil should not dry out completely, as this would significantly limit the formation of flowers. Under no circumstances should you water too much, especially older plants are very frugal and are quickly watered.
Young plants need a little more moisture to develop optimally. The same applies to potted plants, which may also have to be watered a little more because the substrate in the pot dries out much faster. However, waterlogging should always be avoided, both in the garden and in potted plants. You should also always remove excess water in the planter or saucer.
If the candle palm lily is in nutritious soil in the garden, fertilization can usually be completely dispensed with. Otherwise, you can give perennial fertilizer in the first year after planting. Both organic and mineral fertilizers are suitable.
Things are a little different for potted plants. These should be fertilized in small quantities from May to August. Under no circumstances should you fertilize too much, because this plant can very quickly become over-fertilized. In winter, fertilizing is completely stopped.
The palm lily does not normally need pruning, as is known from other plants. It is sufficient to cut off the flower stalk as soon as it has withered. Leaving the flower stalks will result in the formation of seeds, which in turn will weaken the plant. The result is a reduced willingness to flower in the following year. Brown, dead leaves can be easily removed.
Repot palm lilies in a bucket
- Container plants need to be repotted from time to time, including the yucca.
- It is best to do this every 2-3 years.
- Best time in spring, between March and April.
- Repot at the latest when the roots grow out of the top of the pot.
- Or when the relatively heavy tuft of leaves makes the tub unstable.
- As with all potted plants, good drainage is important.
- Waterlogging must be avoided at all costs.
In the garden
The Yucca gloriosa and especially its cultivated forms, the Yucca gloriosa ‘variegata’ or ‘nobilis’ are hardy in most regions of Germany , provided they have a dry stand, especially in winter. Then they survive temperatures between minus 15 and minus 20 degrees easily. Persistent wetness, from which the yucca should be protected, is more dangerous than the cold.
As a rule, the candle palm lily does well without winter protection. In colder locations, it is advisable to cover the root area with a thick layer of leaf or bark mulch to protect against particularly severe and persistent frosts. To protect against rain or snow, it is a good idea to lift the leaves up and then tie them together loosely, which can also protect against snow breakage.
In the tub
Specimens in the tub are usually always a little more susceptible to frost. In mild locations, the candle palm lily can also spend the winter outdoors in a bucket, but only with appropriate protection. To do this, first place the bucket in a sheltered and dry place.
To protect the root area, you can wrap the bucket with fleece or bubble wrap from the hardware store. To protect against cold feet, place it a little higher, for example on wooden slats. The drainage hole should always remain free so that moisture can escape easily at all times, especially in winter. If the plant in question is still relatively young, frost-free wintering indoors is recommended. To do this, place them in a bright and cool room. Do not let the substrate dry out completely during this time.
Propagation by offshoots
The easiest and most effective way to propagate Yucca gloriosa is through cuttings. It usually forms anew every year. The best time to do this is between March and July. The desired number of offshoots are separated from the rootstock and replanted in their new location.
It is important here that each offshoot has a sufficiently large rootstock or is separated from the mother plant together with the roots. This method is particularly recommended when the yucca has already grown very densely. Immediately after planting and the first time thereafter, the young plant must be supplied with sufficient moisture.
Propagation by seed
Another way to propagate the candle palm lily is by sowing. However, this form of propagation is a little more tedious than the offshoot propagation. A pre-treatment, such as a cold treatment of the seeds, is not necessary.
Sowing can be done in small plastic pots. Direct sowing in the garden is also possible, although the loss rate is relatively high here. The seeds are distributed on the growing substrate at a distance of about 2 cm, pressed lightly and covered with a thin layer of fine gravel or coarse sand.
From now on, the substrate must be kept evenly and slightly moist. It is best to cover the seed pots with translucent foil or Plexiglas. When the first seedlings appear, they should not be left in the blazing sun to prevent the young plants from burning or the substrate from drying out.
The plastic foil should now be a little looser or be removed more frequently for a short time to give the seedling enough fresh air that they need for their growth. If the seedlings are a little stronger, the foil can be removed completely and the seedlings can be cultivated further.
Propagation by stem pieces
The Yucca gloriosa usually only forms a trunk after many years. As a result, propagation via stem pieces is also an option. This form of propagation is best carried out between the end of March and mid-May. The stem cuttings should be about 20 cm long.
First, remove all dried and diseased leaves. If the trunk part is soft or rotten, you have to cut away enough until you find solid, healthy wood. Then you put the cuttings in the substrate so that they are about one third covered with soil. Then moisten the substrate and cover the pot or cutting loosely with cling film.
Then you put the whole thing bright and warm. At a soil temperature of around 25 degrees, they root relatively quickly. After about four weeks, the first shoots appear, which means that the cutting has formed roots. Now the foil can be removed and the young plants can be cultivated accordingly.
diseases and pests
Leaf spot disease
Leaf spot disease initially appears as small yellow spots that later spread. Fighting is usually not necessary. Heavily infested leaves can be cut off and disposed of with household waste. In addition, copper preparations can be injected in autumn (October) to avoid reinfection.
So-called cold spots can occur during frost and usually disappear again when the temperature rises on healthy tissue. They occur mainly in Yucca gloriosa ‘Variegata’.
frequently asked Questions
When can the candle palm lily be planted out in the garden?
If the plant has already been outside, you can plant it in the garden at any time. If it has been frost-free to date, you should wait until after the ice saints before planting it out.
Can brown leaves just be cut off?
Brown or dried leaves can be easily cut away, which can also promote growth. However, one should not injure the heart of the plant, because this is where the new leaves develop.