General gardening topics

How to divide Yucca plants

Last updated on April 28th, 2022

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Yucca plants produce sword-like leaves with tall flowering spikes. They are native to desert climates but have become quite popular for landscaping in gardens around the UK.

If you have a Yucca plant growing outside and it’s grown too large for its space there is a great way that you can cut it back while still maintaining the architectural effect for which they are well known. Undertaking this method also means you get the added benefit of propagating new plants as well.

Propagating Yuccas by removing new rhizomes from the main stem

Most Yuccas are drought resistant and they’re fairly simple to maintain. They grow by sending rhizomes out of the main stock. From these rhizomes, you can get new baby plants, which is why it spreads as a plant so effectively.

One way to propagate your Yucca is to simply cut these rhizomes that have a baby plant on them away from the main root. Dividing Yuccas to control the spread of their growth uses this exact same principle. All you need to do is thin out the plants by dividing the new rhizomes. If you don’t do this the plant will start to crowd itself and have too many clumps that are too close together.

Dividing your Yucca 

If you see that your Yucca is too big for its space and the plant itself is becoming too crowded, you might be able to divide it without actually digging the plant out of the ground.

The rhizomes with the smaller baby plants might be visible at the base of the plant. The rhizomes look like twisted underground branches, you will be pleased to know that you don’t have to be incredibly gentle with them and you can use a strong knife (or a shovel) to break off the rhizomes from the main plant.

They can be a little difficult to break apart so you may need to use a lot of force. Rest assured it’s very unlikely that you will damage the main plant when doing this.

Propagating a Yucca by division

If you are going to divide your Yucca for propagation make sure you do it at the end of autumn or the beginning of winter when the plant is in its dormant stage. If you are planning to propagate the divisions be a little bit more careful when separating them and try to make a single, sharp cut all the way through.

Before planting these new rhizomes with baby plants, put them somewhere cool so that they can dry off for a few days. Once you are ready to plant them elsewhere in your garden, put them in sandy, well-draining soil and bury the rhizome up to the base of the foliage. Once it is in its new home, water it well for at least three months until it is established.

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