The Q&A Archives: YUCCA species

Question: I live in NJ & have seen a few palm looking trees only to find out after doing some research, that most likely they're in the Yucca family - we currently have a low to the ground type that grows like crazy & is low maintenance. The look is very tropical & was wondering which type is the best one that will grow successfully in my zone (which I think is 6). According to your website, it looks like the rostrata or spanish dagger are options - I would like it on a trunk (like a palm) but hopefully would not want it to grow past 10-15 feet - what do you think? I was told by a different nursery that the one with a blue color (which I think is the rostrata) would not do well here but then other websites give different information!!!! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated....

Answer: Your zip code places you in zone 6A, the coldest part of zone 6. In an exposed or windy location it might actually be as cold as zone 5.

There are some yuccas that will grow for you, but they are not quite palm like. They have spiky foliage at the ground, and when in bloom will send up a tall blooming stalk. You could grow Yucca filamentosa and named varieties of that, as well as Yucca rostrata. Yuccas need full sun and require a well drained soil.

I am not sure what you are seeing that is tall with foliage at the top, perhaps you have seen some type of Phormium or Cordyline. These look a bit like a yucca when young but over time some will grow tall with foliage at the top. These are not hardy in your area but could be grown as a container plant and then taken indoors each winter. That is not low maintenance but it might help you achieve the look you want.

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