Spanish Dagger, Adam's Needle
Yucca gloriosa has been cultivated in the UK for nearly 500 years and was much favoured in Victorian seaside plantings as a tough, dependable, evergreen plant with striking architectural form.
With age the so-called Spanish Dagger will form a branched trunk with a few crowns of densely-rosetted, ferocious spine-tipped leaves, so planting it away from high traffic areas is paramount.
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Originally from South-Eastern US, where it grows along the coast in exposed sand dunes, the Yucca gloriosa is widely cultivated in subtropical and arid gardens as it creates an architectural focal point.
In cultivation it is much confused with Yucca recurvifolia, apparently with which it readily hybridises, so ‘true’ Yucca gloriosa are seen infrequently.
An up to 2.5 metre tall branched spike of creamy-white bells is produced late in the year – often, in the UK, not fully developing before frosts.
Care & Size Guidance
The plant is very hardy and it can withstand temperatures down to -20 degrees Celsius with no damage. It can easily handle the occasional snow or freezing temperatures. Younger specimens or recently planted Yucca gloriosa should be protected over winter with a horticultural fleece and kept as dry as possible.
The Spanish dagger is a fairly unpretentious plant, it will happily grow in dry to medium moisture soils, full sun but it will tolerate a few hours of shade.
It’s the perfect choice for arid gardens, it will cope well with drought and exposed coastal gardens as it shows an unparalleled tolerance to salt.