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Yucca filamentosa is often confused with:
Hesperaloe parviflora Form in bloom
Yucca flaccida Yucca flaccida
Yucca gloriosa var. tristis Yucca recurvifolia
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Asclepias tuberosa Asclepias tuberosa
Yucca aloifolia Flowers
Yucca gloriosa Plant in bloom
Yucca filamentosa has some common insect problems:
Yucca Plant Bug

Yucca filamentosa

Phonetic Spelling
YUK-ah fil-ah-men-TOH-sah
Description

Curlyleaf yucca is a perennial, broadleaf evergreen, clumping shrub in the asparagus family (Asparagaceae). It is native to the Southeastern United States. It grows 3 to 8 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide. 

Grow this yucca in full sun or partial shade. It is not particular about soil type but does require the soil to have a neutral pH and good drainage. Curlyleaf yucca is low maintenance and resistant to deer, rabbits, poor soil, salt spray, drought, and heat. It can be propagated by division, root cutting, or seed. 

A tall panicle of showy, long-lasting, creamy white, bell-shaped flowers appears late spring to early summer. There are cultivars available with variegated leaves. Hummingbirds, moths, small mammals, and songbirds are attracted to the plant, but it is pollinated by specialized moths called yucca moths, which have a symbiotic relationship with the plant. The developing moth larvae feed on some of the seeds in a fruit, but other seeds are untouched and remain viable.

Design Tips

Curlyleaf yucca has many uses in the landscape as an accent or barrier. Consider it for a meadow, naturalized area, patio, slope, or bank. It is a suitable plant for coastal, drought-tolerant, edible, native, nighttime, pollinator, rock, or winter gardens. 

Consider pairing with Baptisia 'Carolina Moonlight'.  The lovely repetition of the yellow in the flowers of the Baptisia and the leaves of the Yucca tie the garden together.

Quick ID Hints

  • Basal rosette of sharply pointed sword-shaped leaves with upturned margins that gave rise to the common name spoon-leaf yucca

  • Curly, thread-like filaments, usually 6 or more inches long, along leaf margins

  • Erect panicles of nodding, cream-colored flowers borne on more-or-less horizontally positioned branches.

  • Fruits are erect, cylindrical capsules, often with a slight constriction in the middle.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: In areas of poor drainage, the leaves may be sensitive to leaf spots or blight.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Pinehurst Greenway Pollinator Habitat Garden, Moore County Butterfly Garden at Rob Wallace Park Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Greenhouse Beds Retaining Wall Garden Pond and Stream Native Woodland Garden, Durham Water Garden in Cabarrus County
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Bright Edge'
    Gold stripes on the edges of leaves
  • 'Color Guard'
    Gold stripe down the center of the leaves
  • 'Garland Gold'
  • 'Golden Sword'
'Bright Edge', 'Color Guard', 'Garland Gold', 'Golden Sword'
Tags:
#evergreen#full sun tolerant#white flowers#shrub#moth caterpillar host#salt tolerant#winter interest#NC native#summer flowers#deer resistant#nighttime garden#native garden#spring interest#pollinator plant#fantz#larval host plant#food source fall#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#Audubon#coastal plant#perennial#food source winter#landscape plant sleuths course#wildflower#moth friendly#wildlife friendly#th-sight#cpp
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Bright Edge'
    Gold stripes on the edges of leaves
  • 'Color Guard'
    Gold stripe down the center of the leaves
  • 'Garland Gold'
  • 'Golden Sword'
'Bright Edge', 'Color Guard', 'Garland Gold', 'Golden Sword'
Tags:
#evergreen#full sun tolerant#white flowers#shrub#moth caterpillar host#salt tolerant#winter interest#NC native#summer flowers#deer resistant#nighttime garden#native garden#spring interest#pollinator plant#fantz#larval host plant#food source fall#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#Audubon#coastal plant#perennial#food source winter#landscape plant sleuths course#wildflower#moth friendly#wildlife friendly#th-sight#cpp
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Yucca
    Species:
    filamentosa
    Family:
    Asparagaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The Native Americans used it for a variety of purposes including food, medicine, cordage and soap.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern USA
    Distribution:
    AL, FL, GA, LA , MD, MS, NC, SC, VA, WV
    Wildlife Value:
    Mutualistic relationship with the small white yucca moth. Hummingbirds visit the flowers. Larval host for Yucca Giant-Skipper and Cofaqui Giant-Skipper.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Particularly resistant to damage by deer. Heat, drought, and soil compaction tolerant.
    Edibility:
    The edible flowers taste somewhat like bitter artichoke and can be used fresh in salads, cooked in soups or stews, or roasted.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Oblong green fruits mature to brown are 2 by 3/4 inch with many black seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Waxy creamy white bell-shaped flowers on 5-6 ft. tall panicles. Blooms from April to June.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Variegated
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Stemless leaves are in a basal rosette, simple, sword-shaped, apex sharply pointed, margins usually inrolled and contain curly thread-like filaments. Up to 18 inches long and 2 inches wide. Many cultivars have bold, variegated leaves and softer tips.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    5-8 ft tall flower stalk
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Barrier
    Attracts:
    Hummingbirds
    Moths
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Erosion
    Heat
    Rabbits
    Salt
    Squirrels
    Urban Conditions
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses