Arid Plant care
Just about all agaves, yuccas and dasylirion are very low fuss plants that have fairly simple requirements. The most fundamental of these is that the medium in which they are grown in has excellent drainage. Read on to find more in-depth information regarding the plants of the Agavaceae family and how to correctly care for yuccas & agaves plants.
Planting yuccas and agaves
For nearly all these plants the techniques for planting are the same. Spring is the best time for planting as the weather begins to warm. This will allow the root system sufficient time to establish before winter.
All plants require a well-drained soil for best performance. This will help to ensure that roots do not rot in cold and damp conditions. If the soil is not well draining, consider improving the soil structure or at least planting in a raised bed. For all plants dig a shallow hole no more than the depth of the root ball and four times wider than the container in which it is growing. The roots of the agaves can be significantly pruned when planted. Pruning of yucca roots is not so simple and much care should be taken to avoid damage. There is no need to backfill with fertilizer or compost. Most of these plants rarely need fertilizer in open ground. At the most a light feed once or twice a year would be advisable.
Watering yuccas & agaves
Agaves, being a succulent, are able to store water for future use. They should not be over watered, especially in the cooler months. Cool, damp soil is an excellent host for several diseases that will rot agaves.
In general it is poor practice to water plants native to very dry conditions, which are planted in the ground, frequently with a small amount of water. It is better to water them well, far less frequently, in most cases once or twice a month in dry conditions. In the UK, in most circumstances, yuccas, agaves and dasilyrions will happily survive with no more than the natural rainfall. Intermittent watering may only be necessary in very prolonged spells of hot weather.
Yuccas and agaves in containers
A relatively small root ball, a great tolerance of root crowding, and the stunning variety makes these plants excellent candidates for life in a container. Soil for container plants needs to have adequate nutrients for good growth without being too rich and, importantly, needs to provide excellent drainage. It is important to plant agaves and other stemless plants a little high in the pot. All leaves should be above the lip of the pot, and the crown should be above the soil line. Care should be taken to select a pot that is not too large because it is important that agaves and yuccas be slightly under-potted compared to most other plants.
Be aware although these plants are very drought tolerant, plants in containers do need additional water, especially in dry periods, due to the excellent drainage capacity of the compost when in containers. All plants can be placed in full sun.
Yuccas and agaves frost protection
The vast majority of the agaves, yuccas and dasylirions that we stock vary between fairly hardy and very hardy. As a general rule, agaves with soft, pliable leaves are more frost tender than those with rigid, hard leaves.