flowering yuccas

Yucca Seeds: Harvesting, Propagation, & Care

Collecting yucca seeds and replanting them yourself is a great way to propagate new yucca plants. Yuccas aren’t just one plant but a genus of plant that contains around 50 species. Yuccas are native to hot, dry, and arid regions of the Americas and the Caribbean. They are tough, hardy plants with sword-like leaves and tall flower stalks with many drooping flowers.

And just a quick safety note: yuccas are known to have leaves with potentially sharp edges and tips. This is a defense mechanism for the plant. It is strongly recommended that you wear thick sleeves, pants, and gloves when handling yucca plants. Pokes and cuts from a yucca are painful and unpleasant. Best not to play around with this one!

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How to harvest yucca seeds

From April to June, every spring to mid-summer, yucca plants go about the work of blooming. They send up flower stalks that can range from 2-4 feet to up to 30 feet, depending on the variety, that reach their apex for a few weeks in early summer and then begin to die back. Occasionally, yuccas will send up more than one flower stalk in a year.

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Once the flowers have been pollinated and die back, large, cream-colored seed pods begin to emerge and grow. These seed pods, if left untended, will eventually mature, dry out, and split open, releasing new yucca seeds. Once the pods have matured to about 1 inch long, you can cut the entire flower stalk off of your yucca plant and place the pods somewhere to dry.

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Once the pods have dried and are easy to crack open, you can split open the pods and harvest the small, flat, black-colored seeds inside. Unlike many other types of seeds, yucca seeds are best kept refrigerated in a paper bag, which won’t trap moisture and rot the seeds. It’s said that you can preserve seeds this way for 5 years.

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Growing yucca seeds

So you want to grow a yucca from seed. Awesome! This is the best way to propagate a yucca that doesn’t involve digging it up and sectioning off its rhizomes. Yucca seeds require well-drained, sandy soil with lots of grit. Spread your soil out in one large flat, as opposed to individual containers.

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Before planting, soak yucca seeds for 24 hours in room temperature water. Plant your yucca seeds approximately 1/2 inch deep, cover with soil, and provide water. Maintain a soil temperature of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Germination will take place after about 1 month if you keep the soil most but not soggy. 8 weeks after they have sprouted, go ahead and transplant your yucca starts into their own individual pots. At this stage, you can reduce watering to only when the surface of the soil has dried out.

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Do yuccas die after flowering?

This is a pretty common question – and misconception. Yuccas send up flowers that are between 2 and 30 feet tall, depending on their variety, and some have heard that after sending up these tall flower stalks, the yucca dies. This is not the case. Yuccas are long-lived perennials that will flower over and over again, year after year. So no, your yucca will not die after it flowers. You don’t need to plan to replace your flowering yucca plant. But if you want to grow more, you can easily by harvesting its seeds.

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Thomas Nelson
Gardening Expert
Hi! I'm Thomas, one of the founders of The Garden Magazine. I come from a long line of gardeners who used the art of gardening as a way to live long, healthy lives. I'm here to share my knowledge of gardening with the world!
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