How to Grow Yucca elata Plants in your Garden

Yucca elata, also known as the Soap Tree Yucca, is a perennial plant native to the southwest United States and northern Mexico.

Plants flourish in dry desert conditions, but they also do well in the cold.

It can grow well in zones 7 to 11, and as it is tolerant of most frosts it can be readily grown in the UK and most of Europe, though it is important that Yucca plants grown in colder areas have access to very well drained soils/sand. They require a lot of sunlight in order to prosper.

Soap tree

Soaptree yucca (Yucca elata) at White Sands National Monument photograph by Miguel Vieira.

Yucca elata start out looking like bunch grass, but as they grow, they develop a trunk like stem.

For thousands of years, Native Americans in the southwest United States used the fibers of Yucca elata to make sandals, mats, and baskets. Inside the stem of the plant is a soapy substance traditionally used as a shampoo. It is also believed to help stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss.

Like many desert plants, the Yucca Elata grows very slowly. In one year the plant may only grow one inch (2.5 cm) in height. Thus, it may take years before it reaches full height.

They are, however, a great option for those who want to grow a Yucca plant, especially outside of the Americas, and is usually the best Yucca choice for the UK climate.

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Soap Tree

Their cold weather durability makes them versatile, but they require very dry soil and a lot of sunshine.

Although once it is successfully planted in a good spot, it requires little maintenance. It does not need to be frequently watered and is resistant to pests such as rabbits and deer.

The flowers that bloom on it are lightly dented and produce seeds that are true and can be readily used to grow more plants.

The attributes of the Yucca elata make it a wonderful option for those who are looking for a durable, low maintenance plant to add to their garden.

Yucca elata Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Yucca elata
  • Common Name: Soap tree
  • Growing Zone: USA: 9 to 11; UK Hardiness Zone H6 (considered hardy to temperatures of around -20°C / -4°F).
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: 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: Green, White
  • Leaf Foliage: Green
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Upright / erect

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: 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: fresh seed held over winter or from rhizomes.
  • How to Prune:
  • Pests:
  • Diseases:

Further Information

  • Can Attract: Butterflies, Nectar-moths, small mammals
  • Tolerant of: Drought
  • Best Garden Use: Border, Specimen
  • Family: Asparagaceae
  • Closely Related Species: Asparagus plants.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Yucca elata. You may also enjoy the following Yucca plant growing guides on: Yucca filamentosa and Yucca rostrata.