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Yuccas to control and propagate?

brabynsbrabyns Posts: 5
edited October 2021 in Problem solving
I have 2 yuccas (one large one small) but both are in need of maintenance and I'm not sure what is best (see photos)

The larger is too tall (can I just cut off a foot of green of each branch?).  it has bent over and needs to be cut back - can I propagate any bits I cut off?

The smaller is spindly and ugly and again I have no idea what to do with it.

Any advice would be very welcome as my wife is asking me to just throw then out (indeed the larger one topples over when not leaning against the window!)

thanks, Calva




Posts

  • a1154a1154 Sunny South Scotland Posts: 996
    I think they’d both be ok in bigger pots, and rotated, with enough head room.  Otherwise chop the green leafy bit off, and replant. Throw the stem away. Then with the new plant rotate it now and again so it doesn’t lean. 
    You also seem to have put soil into a pot with no holes? or maybe I’m wrong. Put them in plant pots with drainage holes, then into pretty pots. They have done ok despite that, but they don’t like sitting in water. 
  • Hi,

    Thanks, you are correct, the pots don't have holes - so I can do that.
    I've had the big one for over 20 years despite my poor care of it!

    The big one is leaning so much with lots of green growth I would want to cut it down/back.  Could you confirm that I can cut say half way down the green part and it will grow back?

    Dumb question but which part is the 'stem'?  Is it the semi rigid part between the main trunk and the green leaves?  I don't get where new growth comes from... 
  • a1154a1154 Sunny South Scotland Posts: 996
    I can’t see the photos well, but it looks like each rosette of leaves has it’s own bit of stem (sometimes you see multiple heads of leaves on a stem). You can cut the rosette and a small bit of the brown stem off and plant it. I have done this, it feels brutal but it definitely works. 
    You can also cut the stem/main trunk down and leave it planted in the pot and it should resprout. I haven’t done this but that’s what mr google says.
    In this way you can get a good number of new plants, and keep them rotated to avoid the lean next time. Oh and definitely have drainage holes.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,222
    Hi @brabyns, as @a1154 says, you can also cut the trunk/main stem down and the plant will regrow.  I'd be inclined to do this to your large plant and propagate the other two stems as also described, giving you three plants.  When you cut the trunk down (best to wait until the growing season starts in early Spring), repot the cut trunk in a pot just one size up from the existing pot (with drainage holes), using a 2:1 mix of soil based compost and sand and position the root ball so that the trunk is as straight as possible (trunks at such an angle are not visually pleasing!)  There's more detailed information on this link:

    Pruning Yucca Plants - How To Prune A Yucca (gardeningknowhow.com)

    Choose whatever propagation method you like for your smaller plant - it may be OK left as it is once it's repotted and rotated to avoid further leaning. 

    For watering, allow the top of the compost to dry out, up to the first knuckle on your index finger, before watering throughly, from spring to autumn, and don't let the pot sit in excess water.  Water once a month in winter.  Feed your plants once a month from spring to autumn, using a houseplant feed and following the manufacturer's instructions.  I hope this helps.
  • Thank yo both for your comments.

    I have time for plant surgery today so will make the cuttings.

    Just to be clear, as I've had the big yucca since it was a baby, am I OK to cut off at the point I have marked with a pencil?

    It is so lop-sided that I need to do something drastic to try and get the stems to a more vertical position!

    Or should I cut much further down - in to the main trunk?


  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,222
    edited October 2021
    Hi there, I'd cut the main trunk mid-way.  Then repot the plant with the trunk as vertical as possible, reshaping the rootball if necessary to achieve this.  Good luck - it will look much better once it starts to regrow in the spring.  (Best to use a pruning saw/or similar to achieve a neat straight cut - the trunk will be too woody for secateurs.)
  • Many thanks!
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