Can Yucca Plants Grow in Shade? | 5 Easy Tips for Fast Growth

Yucca plants will grow well in full or part shade. To successfully grow yucca plants in shade avoid overwatering, plant them in well-draining soil and choose a pot that perfectly fits the size of the plant. Remove any old leaves to allow the light to reach the healthy leaves easier.

You will get faster growth on yucca plants if they are growing in as much sun as possible. These are dessert plants originating from hot and dry areas such as Mexico.

This article will explore what you need to know to successfully grow yucca plant in shade and some easy tips to get them growing as fast as possible.

How to grow yucca plants in shade

Yucca plants prefer as much sun as possible. Giving them 6 or more hours per day of sun will help them to grow as fast as possible.

My yucca plant however is growing in a position that gets plenty of shade. It is shaded for at least half of the day and I never water the plant. These hardy yucca plants can survive with little attention, shade and little water once they are established.

There are some tips however to get them growing as well as possible when they are positioned in shade. Check out my tips below.

1. Trim off any old leaves

The first step is to trim off any old leaves. Yucca plants will progressively replace old leaves with new ones with the lower leaves turning brown and drying off. They will eventually fall off but to speed up the process trim them off with sharp secateurs.

Take care when pruning your yucca as the leaf ends can be sharp. Wear tough gloves, eye protection and long sleeves to avoid injury.

Trim the leaves back as close to the trunk as possible. Remove any leaves and leaf tips higher up on the stem to allow light to reach the healthy leaves. If leaf tips are turning brown on new leaves, increase your watering as it is likely that the plant has dried out.

2. Plant them in well draining soil

When growing yuccas in shade either in pots or in the ground it is essential to plant them in well draining soil. Choose a potting mix that contains plenty of organic matter that will allow water to flow through. This will help to stop the plant from staying wet for too long.

The soil around potted yucca plants growing in shade will stay wet for longer than those growing in the sun. This can cause the roots to develop fungus and can rot. The plant will not be able to absorb the water and nutrients it needs and can die quickly.

Before planting yucca plants in the ground make sure you improve the soil so it drains well. Mix through organic matter like compost to improve the drainage. You can even mound the soil slightly so that the moisture can flow through easily.

Surround the plant with mulch to prevent soil from splashing up onto the trunk. Pebbles or bark mulch make perfect options.  

3. Choose a pot that is smaller than you think

When you are growing a yucca in a pot in the shade it is important to choose a pot that is the right size. Choose a pot that is only around 1 inch wider than the current root system. Choosing a pot that is too large will add too much soil which can stay wet and cold.

This can damage the roots, cause transplant shock and slow the plant growth.

Yucca plants can survive in small pots and even will continue to grow if they are root bound. Mine has been in the same pot for around 4 years and is still growing strong. It is sending up new stems from the base even though it is growing in shade and a small pot.

4. Avoid overwatering

It is important to avoid overwatering yucca plants if they are growing in shade. These drought hardy plants have soft and tubular roots which are designed to hold water. They can easily become too wet, grow fungus and can be damaged.

Once the roots have suffered from root rot or fungal damage, they will struggle to absorb the nutrients they need to continue to grow well.

Once yuccas are established they need little water to grow well. Check them in summer if you live in a dry area and water once per week. If you live in a subtropical or tropical area that gets higher rainfall over summer, you may not need to water at all.

5. Add fertilizer sparingly

Take care when adding fertilizer to yuccas growing in shade. They will naturally grow slower than those growing in full sun so they will not need as many nutrients. Yucca plants are low maintenance and will be happy with just a handful of pelleted chicken manure once per year in spring.

They can actually grow with less than that if the soil has been improved before planting. These low maintenance plants can be damaged if they are given too much fertilizer. Organic or natural fertilizers are a great choice because they are released slowly to the plant.

Can Yucca Plants Grow in Shade? | Summary

Yucca plants can grow in shade if they are cared for in the right way. This means avoiding overwatering, overfertilizing and pruning them regularly. They will continue to grow with lots of new leaves and new stems.

Yucca plants will slow down their growth in winter when the weather cools down. If you can move your yucca plant it is a great idea to find a spot that gets some summer sun. These hardy plants are adaptable and will work in shade or full sun.

Yucca are a great sculptural plant that looks good in a dryland garden. Surround the base of the pot with pebbles or bark mulch to stop the soil from splashing up on to the stem.

Happy growing.