Aloe yucca, Spanish Bayonet (Yucca aloifolia) Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

Article by Dean Ravenscroft, Ph.D. - Updated 1st Feb 2024

At a Glance: Yucca aloifolia - (Spanish Bayonet)
  • Plant Characteristics: A striking plant with sharp, sword-like leaves and a tall spike of fragrant, white flowers. The leaves are rigid and pointed, making a dramatic architectural statement in the landscape.
  • Growing & Care: Prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Highly drought-tolerant and suitable for xeriscaping. Requires minimal maintenance once established.
  • Tips for New Gardeners: An excellent choice for adding structure to dry, sunny areas. Handle with care due to the sharp leaves. Can be grown in containers for a bold accent on patios or balconies.

Yucca aloifolia, a member of the Agavaceae (Agavoideae) family, makes an elegant addition to any xeriscape.

Commonly called Spanish bayonet, Spanish dagger, Aloe yucca, and Dagger plant, This Yucca plant features green, sword-shaped leaves. Be careful not to let them poke you!

Yucca aloifoliais deer resistant, drought tolerant, and makes a lovely border.

Spanish bayonet
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet, dagger plant); Habit at Garden of Eden Keanae, Maui, Hawaii. photograph by Forest and Kim Starr.

This evergreen shrub grows 10 - 15 ft (3 to 5 m) tall and 3 - 5 ft (0.9 to 1.5 m) wide. Its stocky trunk may be branched or unbranched.

In spring and/or summer, Aloe yucca plants carry fragrant clusters of creamy white, bell-shaped flowers on tall spikes.

These are followed by large, oval-shaped fruits. According to NC State Extension, the flowers and fruits can be eaten raw or cooked.

Yucca aloifoliais native to coastal areas in the American south. As a result, it tolerates salt spray and prefers well-drained, sandy soil. NC State Extension recommends it for USDA Hardiness Zones 6a - 11a.

Gardener's HQ Yucca aloifolia Growing Guide

You can propagate plants from cuttings or seeds.

To obtain seeds, harvest seed capsules from an established plant as they start to dry. When they have finished drying, crush them open.

Initially, keep the seeds in moist sand in your fridge winter-long. Sow them out when temperatures average 60 - 70°F, after the last frost.

This plant grows slowly. Water Yucca aloifolia weekly during its active growth period, but sparingly in winter.

In spring and summer, apply liquid-soluble fertilizer every third watering.

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Yucca aloifolia Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Yucca aloifolia.
  • Common Name: Aloe yucca, Dagger plant,Spanish bayonet.
  • Growing Zone: USA: 8 to 10: UK H3 - hardy to –5°C.
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Indoor Plant, Perennial, Succulents and Cacti.

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 120 to 180.
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 36 to 72.
  • Time of Bloom: Spring and Summer.
  • Flower Details: White.
  • Leaf Foliage: Green.
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Upright / erect.

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Partially shady to full sunlight.
  • Rate of Growth: Grows slowly.
  • Suitable Soil Types: Acidic, Alkaline, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Well drained.
  • Soil Moisture: Dry.

Caring Conditions

  • Care:
  • Level of Maintenance:
  • Propagation: Seed, sown in spring at 19-24? C. Flowers may need hand-pollination to set seed. Rooted suckers can be removed in spring or take root cuttings in winter.
  • How to Prune: Pruning not usually required.
  • Pests: aphids and snails.
  • Diseases: Leaf spot.

Further Information

  • Can Attract: Moths.
  • Tolerant of: Drought.
  • Best Garden Use: Border, Container Garden, En masse, Seashore, Specimen.
  • Family: Asparagaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Asparagus.
  • Miscellaneous: North American native, Attracts butterflies, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers / blooms.
  • Genus Detail: Yucca.
  • Further Reading and References: Here and Here.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Yucca aloifolia. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: Yucca elata plants and advice on Growing Yucca baccata.

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