Yucca plants are hardy and can have tough and sharp leaves but this doesn’t mean they won’t get eaten by bugs and passing pests. Chewing insects like grasshoppers, black bugs and caterpillars can eat yucca plants. They can also be eaten by weevils, black bugs, mites, deer rabbits and rats.
This article will explore all of the creatures that could be eating your yucca plants at home and how you can get rid of them.
What eats yucca plants
Yucca plants have tough leaves and are unpalatable to most creatures. Insects can feed on them if they are desperate. Here are the most common pests that will feed on yucca.
Grasshoppers have tough little mouths that can chew through leaf matter. Small, green grasshoppers can camouflage on the green leaves easily. They will make small holes in the leaves and sometimes on the edges.
Grasshoppers can usually be ignored as they won’t eat enough of the leaves to affect their growth. If you are worried and want to get rid of them quicker, spray them and the leaves with neem oil. This oil will repel and kill the grasshoppers if they eat the neem.
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 sap sucking insects can also be treated with neem oil to protect your plants over spring and to keep the leaves green and healthy.
Yucca Weevil Scyphophorus. Yuccae will attack the main stems of the yucca plant and leaves. They are common in California where yucca plants are common. They live on the plants from late winter, through spring until summer.
They are around ¾ of an inch long and are a dark black color. The will suck sap from the leaf leaving a small brown or yellow mark.
The best way to control this problem is to prevent them and remove any plants that are dying from these weevils. Dispose of any plant material in green bins rather than putting it in your compost to avoid spreading the weevils.
Growing healthy yuccas is also a great way to protect them from weevil attack. Plant them in soil that drains well, remove old leaves, trim any damaged stems and plant them in a full sun position.
Two spotted mites can attack yucca plants chewing holes in their leaves. These mites are tiny and look like a tiny dot rather than a bug to the naked human eye. Small webs are also evidence that these mites are on your yucca. 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 an old 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.
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.
Scale insects are small beetle like insects that will attach themselves to the yucca veins. These scale insects will form a hard shell over the top of themselves making them hard to deal with. 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. Because of the hard coating it can take a few applications to penetrate and kill the bugs.
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.
What Eats Yucca Plants? | Summary
There are many types of insects that will attack and eat yucca plants. They have tough leaves but in times when there is limited greenery around, insects can still feast on their leaves. Grasshoppers, weevils and mites can eat the leaves and live on the stems.
A blast of water from your hose is a great way to get rid of visible insects and follow up with neem oil if the insects are sucking sap.
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.