The yucca or palm lily is often known as a houseplant. There it usually grows with a tall stem that can reach several cm in diameter and forms a radiating crown. The yucca belongs to the succulents and does not appear to be very hardy. In fact, of the approximately 50 known varieties, only about 10 are suitable for surviving the winter outdoors.

Hardy varieties

These 12 varieties of yucca are hardy and can get a permanent place in the garden.

Yucca baccata – Blaue Palmlilie

  • another synonym: banana yucca
  • hardy to -20 degrees Celsius
  • briefly tolerates -25 degrees Celsius

Like many other yuccas for year-round gardening, this species grows without a stem. Their tuft of leaves rises just above the ground. With fan-shaped, bluish to violet colored leaves. The edges of the leaves are decorated with fine threads. The blue yucca is native to northern Mexico and the southwestern United States.

Yucca brevifolia – Josuabaum

  • more synonyms: Joshua palm lily, engl. Joshua Tree
  • winterproof down to -15 degrees Celsius
  • short-term tolerance limit at -20 degrees Celsius

In their homeland, these palm lilies grow as trees several meters high. The Latin name is more appropriate there. It means short-leaved. In small garden specimens, however, 40 cm long leaves appear anything but short. The Mormons who traveled through the deserts of the USA gave the plant the name Joshua tree. The upright growth with the thin branches stretched upwards reminded them of Joshua, who, according to the Bible, pointed the Israelites to the promised land.

Yucca elata – Soap Palm Lily

  • Nationalblume Mexikos
  • winterproof down to -15 degrees Celsius
  • briefly down to -20 degrees Celsius
  • Winter protection improves frost hardiness

This yucca is the national flower of Mexico. Wild specimens have a trunk up to 5 m high. However, hardy yuccas of this variety only grow to about 1 m in height in the garden or remain stemless. The bell-shaped inflorescences, which can grow up to 2 m high and are cream-colored, are particularly pretty. In addition to the flower, the leaf edge threads are also very decorative.

Yucca faxoniana – Spanish-Bayonet

  • other names: Spanish-Dagger, Palma de San Pedro, Faxon Yucca
  • hardy to -20 degrees Celsius
  • good drainage improves frost hardiness

This palm lily is suitable for larger gardens. In old age it reaches a stem height of up to 7 m. The leaves are about 1 – 1.50 m long. The coloring varies between green, blue or grey. The height of the inflorescence, which forms under favorable conditions, is added to the final height. It appears from March to May and grows to a height of 1 m.

Yucca flaccida – Flaccid Yucca

  • hardy to -20 degrees Celsius
  • -32 degrees Celsius are briefly tolerated

It is related to the Yucca filamentosa, but in contrast to this, it is native to the mountainous regions of the USA. It usually grows without a stem. The high inflorescence is particularly striking. The name refers to the leaves, which are soft and narrow, while most other yucca species have broad, harder leaves.

Yucca filamentosa – Fädige Palmlilie

  • hardy to -25 degrees Celsius

This yucca is very popular in the gardens. There are now cultivated forms in which the leaves have different colors. Varieties with yellow central stripes or cream-colored edge stripes are particularly attractive. Their homeland is the coastal regions of the USA.

Yucca glauca – Blaugrüne Palmlilie

  • engl. Synonym: Great Plains Yucca
  • frost-resistant down to -18 degrees Celsius

This mostly stemless yucca requires a lot of space, even if it is rather inconspicuous when planted and resembles a tuft of grass. Later it forms narrow, hard and pointed leaves and the leaf rosette grows to a meter in diameter. The grey-green, sometimes bluish leaves have white edges. In its natural habitat it grows in groups.

Yucca gloriosa – Candle Palm Lily

  • hardy to -18 degrees Celsius
  • briefly it endures -24 degrees Celsius

This yucca forms impressive leaves up to 2 m long. It does not form a trunk or this only appears after a few years of standing. The leaves can take on a creamy white or purple hue. The bell-shaped flowers of this species appear in autumn.

Yucca nana – dwarf palm lily

  • hardy to about -25 degrees Celsius
  • sensitive to moisture

This is the smallest known yucca species. It only grows to about 30 cm and does not form a trunk. In its homeland, this yucca forms small colonies of leaf rosettes. Even if it is a good container plant due to its small stature, an outdoor culture promises cheaper overwintering.

  • frost-resistant down to -25 degrees Celsius

This hardy yucca is particularly well suited for cultivation in Central Europe. In contrast to other species, these palm lilies are not quite as sensitive to moisture. It forms a small trunk and grows bushy. In its homeland it forms small groups of plants. The plant can reach a height of 1 – 3 meters and the tuft of leaves is also surmounted by the inflorescence, which, by the way, forms in spring.

Yucca rostrata

  • hardy to -20 degrees Celsius
  • briefly down to -27 degrees Celsius

The trunk of this species can grow up to 4 m high. The true leaves are blue-green or blue and rough. The leaves are finely toothed at the edges. The inflorescence rises above the tuft of leaves with bell-shaped flowers typical of the species.

Yucca thompsoniana

  • Frost-resistant down to -18 degrees Celsius
  • temporarily winterproof down to -23 degrees Celsius

This yucca also has a tall trunk and forms a crown that takes on an almost spherical shape after a few years. The leaves are greenish or blue-green. In its natural habitat, this yucca will develop a long beard of dead leaves around the trunk over time. In the garden, these leaves can be removed if the sight is not desired.

Tip: When buying a yucca for the garden, you should find out exactly about the Latin name and the needs of the variety.

Protection against moisture in winter

Since hardy palm lilies are generally very dry in all natural locations and mainly grow in stony soil, they do not tolerate excessive moisture in the garden. This is particularly important during the winter . Yuccas should always be planted in well-drained soil and given a rain shelter if possible. A house wall in the rain shadow or a canopy is suitable, for example.

However, this canopy must be open on at least two sides to ensure air circulation. A foil tent is not suitable, mold or other fungi can form underneath and make the yucca sick.

Note: Even hardy palm lilies should be protected from too much snow. When this thaws, too much moisture seeps into the soil.

Hibernation indoors

If your yucca is not hardy, it must overwinter in a frost-free room. These also include specimens that stand in small pots. If the substrate volume is too small, the earth freezes completely. Even if the plant survives a single freeze unscathed, repeated freezing and thawing will weaken the plant’s cell walls. The best place to overwinter is bright and cool, but protected from frost.

Yucca in Kübelkultur

With palm lilies in pots, it should be noted that the soil freezes through more quickly than in outdoor cultivation. In pot culture, most yuccas are far less hardy. But potted plants can also be overwintered successfully. A styrofoam plate or a thick piece of wood can provide sufficient insulation under the pot. The vessel itself is wrapped with bubble wrap or fleece. Weather protection made of leaves, straw or brushwood is put on the earth around the plant. Just as with outdoor cultivation, moisture protection is also important for pot cultivation.

Tip: Even hardy varieties benefit from winter protection from brushwood or leaves.

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