Yucca plants are hardy, easy to grow and are a good indoor plant. There are some problems that can occur when you grow this drought hardy plant indoors. Too much water, not enough light and cold stress are the top problems that can happen to yuccas indoors.
This article will explore the top 10 problems that can occur with indoor yucca plants. There are also 10 easy solutions that you can implement at home.
Top 10 indoor yucca plant problems and solutions
Here are the top problems that can affect indoor yucca plants and how to solve each one.
The most common problem that can occur with indoor yucca plants is overwatering. Yuccas are drought hardy and have thick, tuberous roots made to absorb and hold water during dry times.
If they are watered too often indoors or if the roots are sitting in a pot tray full of water they can suffer from problems. Self-watering pots can be a problem as they can hold too much water in their base.
Overwatering yuccas can cause the leaves to turn yellow, brown and to droop. The extra water can cause fungal growth on their roots or root rot which damages root tips. This will stop the plant from absorbing the water and nutrients it needs.
Over time the plant can wilt and die back due to this overwatering.
Repot an overwatered yucca plant that has soggy soil and mold growth on the surface. You can use the same pot, just wash it thoroughly and disinfect it before planting the yucca back inside. Buy some premium potting soil with plenty of organic matter and good drainage to repot your yucca.
Water it in once and allow it at least a week before watering again. Check the soil and water the plant only when it is dry 2 inches below the surface.
For many plants they can just be left to dry out for 7-10 days before watering again. Add some slow release indoor plant food to replace any lost nitrogen and they will recover quick.
2. Too much fertilizer
Excess fertilizer can cause problems for indoor yucca plants. Yucca only have a minimal requirement for nutrients. Feeding them more than once per year with a synthetic plant food can give them too many micronutrients.
Avoid giving yuccas any more than a general slow release fertilizer once per year. For indoor yuccas choose a basic indoor plant food or one made for succulents. Feed them in spring when the weather has warmed up and water it in well.
3. Cold stress
Yucca plants that are suffering from cold stress which will slow their growth. Cold stress can also cause the yucca leaves to turn brown on the edges. Yucca plants are native to hot and dry regions such as Mexico.
If they are growing in an area that drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit their growth will slow almost to a standstill.
For indoor yucca plants it is great if you can move them near a bright window over winter. They can actually withstand full sun through the window as long as they are at least 2 feet away. Any closer and they can experience sunburn from the radiant heat.
Keeping them in a bright position will help their leaves to photosynthesize and continue to make carbohydrates for the plant’s growth.
Moving yuccas to an outdoor greenhouse is also a good option if you have one. They will be fine to stay dormant over winter as long as they get some warmth in spring. Any leaves that are lost will be replaced quickly when the weather warms.
4. Not enough light
Yucca plants that are not getting enough bright light can have problems indoors. A lack of light can make them more susceptible to pests and diseases and the leaves will not be able to photosynthesize as efficiently.
While yucca plants can still grow well in full shade outdoors they can suffer if they are in a dark position indoors.
Move the plants to a position in your house that gets bright light. They can tolerate a large amount of heat so they can go in the bright spaces in your home. Place them near a window but give them at least a 2 foot gap between their leaves and the glass.
5. Transplant shock
Transplant shock is a major problem that can occur with newly planted yuccas. Moving them to a new pot or in the ground can cause damage to their roots, stunting their growth and causing their whole progress to slow.
Yuccas are particularly sensitive to root damage so you need to take care when moving them around. Avoid any harsh pruning of their roots when moving them and only increase their pot size by around 1-2 inches.
This will help to avoid any excess soil sitting around their roots, causing them to stay wet and cold and slowing growth.
Choose a premium potting soil when replanting yuccas and water them in well to settle the soil around the roots. Avoid transplanting yuccas too often as they can grow quite well in a small pot and hate root disturbance.
Pests can be a big problem for indoor yucca plants. Check out the list below for the most common pests that can affect yuccas.
6. Yucca Plant Bug (Halticotoma valida)
Yucca plant bugs are small red and black insects which will suck the sap from the leaves of the plant. Look out for yellow spots on the leaves where you can see where the bugs have been. They will run and hide if you disturb them and can sit in the join between the leaf and the stem.
These bugs are most likely to come out when the weather is mild in spring. When the weather gets too hot in summer or too cold in winter they are killed off. These bugs can already be on your yucca when you buy it from the store.
Always inspect the leaves thoroughly to make sure there are no bugs travelling with you on your new plant.
To get rid of these insects spray them with neem oil once or twice. Take your plant outside when spraying them to avoid getting neem oil everywhere indoors.
Yucca Weevil Scyphophorus. Yuccae can attack the main stems of the yucca plant and leaves. They are common in California and live on the plants from late winter, through spring until summer.
Yucca weevils can get on your plant from other yuccas or nearby plants outdoors. Inspect the plant before you bring it home for any small bugs as they can continue to affect your plant indoors.
Prevention is the best solution as the yucca plant is unlikely to be infected once it is indoors.
Two spotted mites can attack yucca plants chewing holes in their leaves. They are tiny and look like a dot rather than a bug. Two spotted mites are technically an arachnid so spin a small, web like structure.
To control these mites wash and wipe the leaves regularly. Spray them with your hose and wipe them down with a damp rag or cloth. Take care when handling yucca leaves as the leaf tips are spikey and can cause injury if you are not careful. Always wear protective eyewear, long sleeves and gloves when dealing with the leaves of the yucca.
9. Mealy bugs
Mealy bugs are a small insect that will hide in the leaf veins or joints and can eat your yucca plant. They can form a small white covering where mold or mildew will cover the bug. Mealy bugs can be sprayed with neem oil to remove them or spray them sharply with a hose.
They often occur on indoor yucca plants where there is less air movement. Move your potted plants to an open area of your home where there is plenty of air movement to prevent these bugs from getting onto your plants.
Scale insects are small and will attach themselves to the yucca veins. These scale insects will form a hard shell over the top of themselves making them hard to get rid of. Spraying them off with water is an easy option before they attach themselves to the plant.
Treating scale with neem oil is the best natural way to get rid of them. Move indoor yucca plants outdoors so you can spray the scale. Place them in a protected area and give them a holiday outside. This will give them more air movement and help to get rid of the scale.
Thrips are tiny insects that are often white or brown in color. They are tiny so can be hard to spot but they can cause damage to the leaves of yucca plants. They will rasp or tear pieces of leaf off with their rough mouth. This can cause holes or curling in the leaves.
Neem oil will work to get rid of thrips on your yucca plant. You can also spray them off with a high pressure hose to remove as many as possible. If the bugs are still there, follow this up with neem oil and repeat the process until the bugs are gone.
Indoor Yucca Plant Problems | Summary
Indoor yucca plants are usually easy to care for but there are times when problems can happen. Pests, weather, water and soil can all cause problems with your indoor yucca. Avoid overwatering these hardy indoor plants and only repot them every 3-4 years or when they are squeezing out of their pot.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.