Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

About That Yucca That Stepped Out With Me

Tina from (In The Garden) asked me if I planned my plant purchases or if it was chance. I do keep a list of plants I would love to have, but, the truth is most of the time it's chance (impulse purchases). I get them home and then spend days dragging them around the garden trying to find the perfect spot. Sometimes they stay in the plastic nursery pots until fall, which is a better time to plant in my yard. Our summers can be brutal on spring transplants.

The Yucca was an impulse purchase. I thought it was a particularly lovely Yucca filamentosa 'Varigata'. It had the white margins of a variegated Yucca with a narrow strip of maroon. There was just something different about it.

It turns out that it is different. The biggest clue ought to have been the missing filamentous threads along the plant edges. It isn't the Y filamentosa that's native to the southeastern US, but is Yucca gloriosa Variegata. It clearly says that on the plant label, the one I didn't look at. It also says that it is hardy in zone 6. Some of the big box stores aren't always as careful about offering plants that are completely hardy for the Middle Tennessee area, so I knew I needed to find out about this yucca.

Y filamentosa variegata

Now this is a perfectly lovely Yucca, good looking in fact. I love the stiff leaves, the outstanding margin color and the architectural aspect of the plant. Whether or not it is the right Yucca for this Central Basin garden remains to be seen.

Yucca-Do's Yucca and photo

Here is what Plant Delight says about Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata' (Variegated Mound-lily Soapwort)

Sun to Part Sun Zone: 7-10, at least 48" tall Origin: USA
We have grown this wonderful yucca for years...originally from the JC Raulston Arboretum. Each 2-3' wide, trunked clump reaches 48" in height in 10 years. The blue-green, rigid leaves are bordered with a wide margin that emerges gold, then changes to a rich cream. The good color contrast holds all season! In mid-summer, this stunning yucca is topped with 3' tall spikes with attractive, large, white, bell-shaped flowers. Y. gloriosa is a great addition to the perennial border and deserves a special place in the dry garden!

Then this from Yucca-do nursery:

Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata'
Zone 7 to 10 Native to Gulf Coast Grows to 8'h x 6'w

Variegated mound lily! An awesome color variant of one of our most forgiving landscape yuccas. Has all the fabulous qualities of the species with the added splash of year around color - the cream to yellow variegation blushes red in the winter. The photo to your left (above in this post) illustrates those attributes.

and, finally, here is what Monrovia says about it:

Rigid blue-green leaves are bordered with gold when new, gradually becoming rich cream. Striking when grouped in a low-water garden or spotted in flowering perennial beds for contrasting color and texture. Fragrant purple-tinged white flowers on a 6 to 8 ft. spike in summer. After several years, develops a trunk and the plant becomes 4 to 5 ft. tall and wide; ultimately 6 to 8 ft. tall and wide. Evergreen.

Wow, that is some big plant, with outstanding colored leaves, and fragrant purple tinted flowers. No, this is some big shrub!

Is anyone growing this big guy? I am thinking seriously of escorting him back to Home Depot. He is beautiful, but I'm not sure I can find a place in the garden for him.



  1. Beautiful plants. You don't see them around here of course since they're not hardey enough. There are a few plants they bring in here as houseplants, but somehow my plants outside end up doing SO much better than anything I can do inside!

    I know what you mean about planning. I can make plans like there's no tomorrow, but if something at the nursery grabs my attention I just have to have it! Usually it just jumps in my cart and insists that I take it home with me.

    I thought I was the only one who didn't plant her new nursery purchases right away. At least you have a plausible sounding reason. Our summers don't get too bad until mid July and if they're planted early enough in spring I've not really had a problem with getting a new transplant to thrive. My problem is being too lazy to do the work! If my plants die, it's usually over the winter. I still have to work on that.

  2. cinj,

    Last summer I had two Spice bush (Lindera benzoin) and dozens of perennials that I bought in the spring in one spot to water and care for....it was easier than running all over the yard to individually water them. I had to buy them early before they were gone but they wouldn't have survived last summer.

    Glad you stopped by,

  3. oh you need to keep him! beautiful. put him with your other yuccas. he'll fit in. i had no idea about the differentiations. geri just bought a variagated yucca and i am wondering if she knows the difference. i will tell her (she doesn't do the computer-lol). keep him! i am betting in a sheltered position he will do fine! and is so different!

    i am like you with a list of plants then impulse purchases. i like things that are fairly self sufficient and make a big impact but some things just look too good!

    what did you get last night at the pps? i so wanted to go, but also to see my fellow students present on thier little used plants for the landscape. like paw paws, shagbark and a few others. it was interesting but not as good as the pps would've been!

    still getting rain here. good for the plants. let it rain, let it rain, let it rain...

  4. I think many gardeners like to have that sense of discovery when they see a new plant at the nursery and they have to add to the collection. I know I've done the same thing. Since our yard was barren when we got here I can usually find a good spot for it or at least weave it into the "master plan" somewhere! The yuccas would look good mixed with sedums. Their appearance looks very desert like to me.

  5. I've heard so many nightmare stories about the root systems of Yucca's (can't get rid of them, no matter what you do), that I'm afraid to plant any here.

  6. Tina,

    It was a good presentation...I took home 6 herchera villosa hybrids ...new introductions...Citronelle, a lovely lime green and Beaujolais, wine colored. Can't wait to see where I will put them in the garden!


  7. Dave,

    I agree very desert like.... I have gotten so used to Y filamentosa that they look natural to me, this one does add a different look. I am guessing it won't reach the HUGE shrub proportions here!


  8. Melanie,

    They have enormous roots, they look like giant tubers. I haven't experienced a problem with the Y filamentosa but this one I don't know about.


  9. Nancy,

    I am going to drag it around the garden and see hoe he looks! Glad you stopped by,

  10. We can grow one type of Yucca here... don't know what it is, but the foliage makes a statement and the blossoms are lovely. But, you do have to know where you want it to be because the root is humongous! I tried digging one once... pretty amazing!

    All photos of those plants are all lovely. If you have room for them, plant them all! ;-)

  11. shady,

    I am looking out the window at the torrential rain and the gooey, sticky clay soil and wondering if the big guy needs to find a faster draining soil. Maybe a container will do for a bit.

    He gets 6 foot tall and wide...can you imagine the root?


  12. you'll find a good spot for your heucheras. can't have enough of them. i plant my yuccas by the driveway. there is a slight hill there so that ensure good drainage. lots of folks do it that way here.

  13. Tina,

    I know it will take a long time to grow but this particular yucca gets a tree trunk on it!

    I am looking forward to planting the heuchera....I have a few places in mind.

    Wished you had been at the talk. Again thanks for the artemesia.


  14. you might not want it by the driveway then.

    that artemesia is 'powis castle'. i don't want anyone reading your blog to ever possibly think i would give you artemesia! the invasive s^&%^! this is the good one. makes ONLY one plant 3x3. enjoy.

  15. It sure is pretty. Maybe you'll find a good spot for it. I just brought home a spontaneously purchased variegated yucca too, but it's a Yucca flaccida 'Bright Edge.'

  16. I grow a Y. gloriosa for ten years in climate zone 7, Denmark. Last year it made a shoot next to it, and as there were no space, I cut the old one down an inch above the soil surface. This year ten (10) shoots have grown from this stab. The biggest one is four inches. I have eight different species of Yucca, and they are covered and protected from rain in January, February and March. That is all. Thus year a Y. glauca is flowering beautifully.



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