Family: Agavaceae

Scientific Name: Yucca filamentosa

Common Name: Yucca, Adams Needle


Adams Needle (Yucca filamentosa) Plants are mostly associated with the southwest but this species is fully hardy to zone #5. It has a spectacular floral display each June. I use 2 groups by the bottom of my driveway and they are showstoppers. Beware that the stiff leaves are sharp and pointed.

Plant TypeShrubs Broadleaf Evergreen, Site author's observations
Hardiness Zoneat least 5
Soil & Siteaverage to dry
Flowersmany white, bell-shaped flowers are produced along the top of a branched, 5-foot tall flower stalk.
Leavesstiff, upright sword-like leaves arise from the base of the plant, tipped with a sharp spine, and threads of fiber will peel off the side of the leaf.
Rootsforms thick white roots that are edible
DimensionsThe plant itself will get around 2-3 feet in spread by 2 feet tall, flower stalks 3-5 feet, will form a clump.
MaintenanceEach spring, the dead leaves from the plant base will need to be removed. Heavy gloves and wear a long sleeve shirt to help eliminate cuts. They also seem to be great garbage collectors. Every fast food wrapper and soda can in the neighborhood ends up in my plants. Although not prodigious reseeders, I will find seedlings popping up in the garden. During frigid winters and especially ones with little snow, the Yucca will lose all its leaves but will quickly recover.
Propagationseeds or division
Native Sitesouthwestern United States
Misc FactsNative Americans used the fibers from the leaves to make rope.
Author's NotesI use this extremely hardy plant whenever possible, adding an exotic touch to the landscape. On one of the first jobs, I used Yucca; they looked dead after the first winter. I dug the plants out, tossed them on the compost pile, and to my surprise, they sprouted. Twenty years later are happily growing at the end of my driveway.
Notes & Reference#1 Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (Michael Dirr), #272-Agaves, Yucca and Related Plants (Mary and Gary Irish), Horticulture Magazine October 1991, pg. 80 "Adams Needle," Weber
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