Yucca elata

soaptree, palmella

Yucca elata has narrow, dull green leaves and fibres that peel off from along the edges, giving it a very distinctive appearance.

The Soaptree Yucca’s attractiveness as a young plant has led to it being widely used as a conservatory specimen.

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Origin: Southwestern North America
Genus: Yucca
Species / Cultivar: elata
Common Name: soaptree, palmella
Synonym: Yucca radiosa

Plant Biography

Yucca elata hails from the high deserts of south western USA and northern Mexico where a form of soap is made from the chopped roots and stems by the local people.

In local towns and cities good use is made of the attractive size and shape of this Yucca, as it is regularly ornamentally planted in parks and gardens.

Yucca elata
Soil: Well drained
Soil that does not show much signs of moisture, either visibly or when handled.
Growth Rate: Slow
This plant is particularly slow to grow, even during growing season.
Water Requirement: Low
Will grow in a drier position and is unlikely to need regular watering once established.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Full Sun
Wants direct, unfiltered sunlight most of the day, such as a south facing position.
Eventual Height: 1.8 - 3 m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 2.4 - 3.0m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.
Lifecycle: Perennial
This plant is persistant and does not die off after flowering. It will return each season indefinitely, if provided with suitable growing conditions.

Expert Tip

Yucca elata looks great in a mixed collection of arids in the xerophytic garden or conservatory.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

As with other arid plants, grow it outside in the UK in full sun in gritty soil and water generously only during hot and dry weather.

It grows to a good size after a number of years; in the wild it ascends to about 10 metres tall, although of course considerably less in the UK.

Even so, thanks to its great tolerance of cold, it can be grown here, as long the soil is free draining.


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