Yuccas are a great choice for people who want an easy-to-care-for plant, but how long do yucca plants live?
Yuccas usually live around five years when kept inside, although they can live longer given the right conditions and care. When kept outside, yuccas can reach over 50 years old.
I’ve had a yucca indoors for over five years at this point, so I’ve got a pretty good idea of how to keep them happy. Keep reading to learn the four key factors that affect yucca lifespan.
4 Factors That Affect Yucca Lifespan
After years of keeping a yucca plant, these are the four most important factors that I have noticed affect the lifespan the most.
1. Basic Care
Meeting the basic care requirements of your yucca will help it to live a long time.
Here’s a quick rundown of all of them:
- Sunlight – Bright, indirect sunlight when kept inside. Can tolerate more direct sunlight when planted outside.
- Temperature – Yuccas prefer a warmer environment, with temperatures between 60 and 90°F (15 to 32°C).
- Watering Schedule – Water when the top few inches of soil become dry. Yuccas are drought tolerant, so drier soil is preferred to moist or overwatered soil.
- Humidity – Low to medium humidity is preferred. Anywhere from dry conditions of 20-30% to medium levels around 50% are ideal.
- Soil Type – Well-draining soil is crucial to prevent overwatered conditions.
It can be a lot to remember every little detail on this list, but luckily yuccas are very hardy and actually thrive with a bit of neglect.
This may sound strange, but if you water your yucca too much, it will cause more problems (like browning leaves or root rot) than it will solve. Underwatered conditions are preferred (although not ideal), and it’s an easy rule of thumb to keep in mind.
2. Indoor Vs. Outdoor
One of the most important factors that affect how long yuccas live is whether they are planted inside or outside.
Yuccas live longer outside (like the majority of plants) because they have better access to organic material and more space for their roots to grow.
They’ll also adapt to direct sunlight, and it is just a more natural environment for them to be in, which promotes longevity.
Indoor yuccas only last for around five years on average, although I have a five-year-old indoor yucca that is showing no signs of decline! When kept outdoors, yuccas can live a very long time.
3. Pests Problems
Luckily for me, I’ve never had to deal with any big pest infestations on my yucca.
Pests can cause a lot of damage to yuccas, and big infestations can actually kill individual plants and quickly spread to others.
Some of the most common pests that affect yuccas are mealybugs, scale, and aphids, and the best way to prevent these is to check your yucca once every few days for signs of infestations like sooty mold or white residue.
Most infestations can be dealt with by spraying your yucca down with water or an insecticide.
If you keep your yucca inside, you should isolate any other houseplants that you add to the collection to make sure they don’t contain pests.
4. Fungus/Bacterial Problems
Yucca can also be susceptible to fungal or bacterial issues that can lead to death if not dealt with.
Examples of this include root rot which is favored in overwatered soil, and leaf spot, which is common in many ornamental plants.
Overwatered conditions should be avoided, as this can promote fungal or bacterial growth. Keep the soil on the drier side, and never mist your yucca.
How To Ensure Your Yucca Lives A Long Time
Okay, you can’t guarantee that your yucca will live a long time, but there are certain things you can do to give yourself the best chance.
Plant It Outdoors
Sure, you can keep your yucca inside as a houseplant – that’s exactly what I do.
However, this approach greatly reduces the lifespan. If you want your yucca to live as long as possible, it’s much better to keep it outside.
Remember that indoor yuccas only live about five years on average, with some (like mine) reaching older than this age. When planted outside, yuccas can grow for decades, with some reaching over 50 years old!
Worry Less About Care
This one might sound a bit odd, but yuccas are actually super easy to care for and don’t require a whole lot of attention.
Sometimes, caring for them too much can actually cause problems. For example, yuccas don’t really need to be watered that often, so if you start watering them regularly, this can lead to issues like root rot.
Slightly neglected yuccas tend to live longer than those that are pampered, so keep that in mind the next time you pick up the watering can.
Fertilize During The Growing Months
Fertilizing isn’t a requirement for yuccas, but I’ve found that it can be beneficial for helping them grow and thrive.
I usually fertilize once per month during the growing season from spring into summer with a balanced fertilizer.
Plant In Nutrient Rich, Well-Draining Soil
Once your yucca is planted, it can be difficult to move it, especially once it grows its root fully.
This is why you need to consider the type of soil you plant it in carefully. Yuccas need well-draining soil, so if you are planting your yucca outside, try to choose sandy soil that drains well.
You should also choose an area where the soil is nutrient-rich. When planting outside, this should be quite easy to achieve.
Yuccas will generally tolerate most types of soil, but it’s always best to provide higher quality soil to give them the best chance of living a long time.
If you want your yucca to live as long as possible, then planting it into the ground outside is the best option.
If you keep your yucca indoors, it will not live as long, but you should still try to care for it properly to give it the best chance of living a long time.
Remember that yuccas don’t actually require a lot of care like other plants, so try not to overdo it.