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Growing Yucca baccata: Banana Yucca

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Description
Form: Shrub.
Leaf retention: Evergreen.
Growth rate: Slow to establish, then moderate.
Mature Size: 4' high and 6' wide. Flower stalk to 6' high.
Flowers: Bell-shaped, yellow-white flowers, from red buds, in dense clusters, to 5" long, edible.
Bloom: Late winter or spring.
Fruit: Resembles a large, green to purple, sweet potato. The fruit are ripe and edible when they yield to gentle pressure. Ripeness is not indicated by color.
Leaves: Green, stiff, concave, narrow, 2-3' long, with a spine at the tip. Small threads hang on leaf margins.
Stems: A short central stem supports a dense cluster of leaves.
Roots: Spreads by rhizomes.
Wildlife: Browsed by mammals. The flowers are pollinated by the female Yucca moth. When the moth is not present, they must be hand pollinated if fruit and seeds are to be produced. The larva of the Yucca Moth develop in the fruit.
Toxic / Danger: Sharp leaf tips and edges.
Origin: Southwestern United States and Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 5-11.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to part shade.
Water once established: Watering once a month during drought improves appearance. Watering less than once a week is preferable because this plant is intolerant of waterlogged soil. Browning leaf tips are a sign of overwatering.
Soil: Well drained, sandy, dry, pH 6.6-8.5 (neutral to alkaline).
Planting: This plant can be grown in a container.
Prune: Remove spent flower stalks in the winter after fruit have been harvested.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Rhizomes and seed not refrigerated.
Uses: Ornamental, xeric garden. The fruit is eaten raw or roasted, or dried and ground into a flour. Fibers in the leaves are used to make baskets and rope.

Comments
This plant is a member of the Agave and Yucca subfamily (Agavoideae) in the Asparagus family (Asparagaceae). It is widespread throughout the North American Southwest.



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Latest update: January, 2019.

Yucca baccata: Banana Yucca - flowers

Yucca baccata: Banana Yucca - fruit

Yucca baccata: Banana Yucca