If you are only planning to grow one Yucca Species in the garden then you should seriously consider Yucca rostrata, the Beaked yucca, as your choice.
Ideally grow in large containers, in a bed or border, in gravel, or in a low water requirement xeriscape garden. This plant makes a great focal point for any part of the garden and is especially useful for landscaping large dry areas.
It is a deer and rabbit resistant, and drought tolerant, plant that requires little maintenance. Beaked yucca makes a nice plant to grow in a wild life garden if you wish to attract hummingbirds.
Yucca Rostrata 'Blue Velvet' at Huntington Botanical Garden, picture by cultivar413, Creative Commons.
This attractive evergreen plant usually reaches from 8 to 16 feet (2.5 to 5 m) in height and does best when grown in the sun.
Of all the ornamental Yucca plants this is perhaps the nicest looking. It is slow growing plant. The single trunk is thick and it can reach as much as 16 feet (5 m) tall. It has an attractive pompom like head, which itself contain hundreds of thin sword-shaped leaves. Although stiff, these leaves are flexible and look nice swaying in the wind.
These sturdy leaves are typically 2 feet (60 cm) in length, thin, a pale grey-blue-green color with yellow margins, slightly waxy, and tapered at the tip. The leaves of the cultivar 'Saphire Skies; are a powder blue color.
Yucca rostrata and park benches photograph by Megan Hansen, CC.
Yucca rostrata blooms in spring when it carries a long panicle of white flowers. The inflorescence itself is a yellow-orange color and can reach about 40 inches (100 cm) in height.
This plant is very similar in appearance to Yucca rigida, though its leaves are not as stiff and rigid.
Plants are native to the rocky slopes, canyons, and ridges of North Mexico and western Texas. This can be a tough environment and plants are hardy to 0°F (-17°C) or even lower.
Yucca rostrata Growing and Care Guide
Scientific Name: Yucca rostrata
Life Cycle / Plant Type: Evergreen Tree, Perennial, Succulents and Cacti
Common Name: Beaked Yucca, Silver Yucca, Blue Beaked Yucca, or Big Bend yucca.
Growing Zone: USA: 5 to 10. UK hardiness H5. Hardy to - 15°C.
Best Garden Use: Border, Rocky gardens, Specimen, Dry soil. Great plant for year long interest.
Leaf Foliage: Spheres of hundreds of leaves. Sword-shaped, Blue, Green, Silvery. Stiff. Waxy. Leaves can reach two to three feet (60 to 90 cm) long.
Growth Form: Upright, Erect.
Ideal Growing Conditions
Best Light Conditions: Full sunlight for best results. Can tolerate partial shade.
Suitable Soil Types: Rocky and porous soils are ideal. Can easily grow in poor soils and sand. Rich and Loamy gives fairly good results.
Soil Moisture: Fairly moist, Well drained. Drought tolerant once established.
Rate of Growth: Grows slowly
Yucca rostrata Care Conditions
Level of Maintenance: Low.
Propagation Details Seeds: Sow in sand or a very well drained soil gravel mix. Cover seeds to about 3 mm (1/8th inch). Germination takes about two months at 16 to 18°C (59 to 65°F). Grow indoors in pots for the first couple of years as Yucca rostrata plants are slow growing. Cuttings Winter, root cuttings. or plant from offsets.
Spacing: 10 feet (3 m)
Care: Provide shelter from drying winds. Ensure soil is well drained (add pebbles if required) as this plant is susceptible to root rot in the winter.
How to Prune: Not required. Ornamental shaving of old leaves to reveal the trunk.
Pests: Snails, Blackfly, Beetle larvae,
Diseases: Yucca leaf spot, Root rot,
Can Attract: Hummingbirds
Tolerant of: Deer, Rabbits, Drought
Closely Related Species: Asparagus, Lirope, Nolina, Eucomis, and Hosta.
Miscellaneous: North American native. Traditional food and fiber source of Native Americans.