How often do you water a yucca plant? This is something that I’ve been asked several times after keeping yucca plants for over five years at this point, so I’ve decided to write an article to clear things up.
You should water your yucca when the soil becomes dry in the top couple of inches. For me, this works out roughly once every week during the winter and 2 to 3 times per week during the summer.
Keep reading to learn all about yucca watering, including my top tips for keeping your yucca happy throughout the year.
Why Yuccas Prefer Drier Soil
Yuccas are native to many areas in the Americas, from Mexico to Guatemala to California. In the majority of these places, the conditions are very dry, and rainfall is not very common.
This means that most yuccas that you will come across to be kept as plants are adapted to dry conditions. They do this by storing water in underground rhizomes.
In my experience, it’s much better to keep the soil dry for yuccas than to overwater it.
If I overwater my yucca, I usually notice that the leaves start to turn yellow from the tips within a week or so, whereas it seems to hold up just fine if I forget to water it for a week or two.
What Happens If Your Water Your Yucca Too Much?
There are a variety of issues related to overwatering yuccas – some are easy to fix, and others can eventually kill the entire plant.
These depend entirely on whether you spot the overwatering right away or if you leave your yucca overwatered for a long time.
If You Spot It Right Away
If you can notice overwatering right away, your yucca should be fine. The most common symptom of initial overwatering is the leaves starting to turn yellow.
It’s pretty easy to tell if you’ve overwatered your yucca, as the soil will be saturated with water and likely visible on the surface. You may also see mold develop on the surface as well, and this is usually a result of the drainage holes becoming blocked.
In this case, you’ll want to check the drainage holes and let any excess water drain out. You’ll also need to stop watering your yuca for one to two weeks to give it a chance to absorb the remaining water.
If You Leave Your Yucca Overwatered
If your yucca has been overwatered for some time, the symptoms will start to get much worse:
- Multiple leaves will have turned yellow and brown and started to fall off.
- The trunk may have turned soft or spongey to the touch.
- The roots may have started to rot.
At this stage, you should gently remove your yucca from its pot and examine the roots. If they have turned brown and mushy, then they are suffering from root rot.
This usually coincides with stem rot, where the trunk of the yucca will feel soft and spongey as it starts to rot. You have limited time to save your yucca if this is the case, and you should start by removing all roots that have rotted.
Hopefully, you will be left with some roots left behind. If so, treat them with a fungicide and then replant your yucca in a fresh potting mix.
Depending on the severity of the root/stem rot, there’s a good chance that your yucca may die, but it’s worth trying to save it regardless.
Top Tips For Keeping Your Yucca Happy
Here are some of the best tips I personally use to keep my yucca happy relating to watering.
Use The Finger Test
Before you water your yucca, check the top few inches of soil to see if they are dry. This is a good way to quickly check whether you actually need to water your yucca or not, and it’s a trick I use for many of my other houseplants, such as my hoya and ponytail palm.
Use Well-Draining Soil
When it comes to choosing a soil mix for yucca, it’s probably more important that it is well-draining over other factors like nutrient density.
Consider adding perlite, sand, or compost to your yucca soil mix to make it drain better. I personally use sand and compost but any of these three work very well.
It should go without saying, but make sure you have drainage holes in your pot as well to allow water to flow through.
If Unsure, Don’t Water
The key to success with a yucca is to neglect them (to an extent).
Yuccas are used to hot and dry environments where resources like water are scarce. If you’re ever unsure about watering your yucca plant, the best idea is to simply not water it or to water it a very small amount.
Issues relating to overwatering, like root rot, are much harder to fix than simply watering your yucca more if the soil becomes too dry, trust me.
Yuccas are super hardy, and if you are ever unsure about watering your yucca, it’s probably a good idea to leave it.
Make sure you use well-draining soil and ideally check the soil before watering, and you should have no problems. It’s also completely normal to water more often during the summer, just remember to slow down during the winter as well.