How Often Should You Water a Yucca Plant

Yuccas are great plants for both landscaping and indoor usage. But one of the most challenging aspects of growing yuccas is knowing when to water. Of course, the big question in everyone’s mind is how much is too much.

An outdoor potted yucca should be checked and watered every two weeks. An indoor yucca plant needs watered every three weeks but checked at the two-week mark. In-ground yuccas have root systems that can usually reach what water they need.

Knowing where yuccas come from helps in watering them. In-ground, indoor yuccas and outdoor yuccas have different needs. It’s important to know when and how to water them properly. We’ll discuss how to tell if a yucca needs water and how to water them properly.

Yucca Is Drought Tolerant

Yuccas are indigenous to the U.S. southwest. This makes them desert plants. But, as anyone can tell you, they don’t receive a lot of rain in the desert. So, the yucca has adapted to having limited water.

Yuccas have tap roots. A tap root is a tapered primary root that goes straight down. Depending on what type of Yucca, they can have roots that grow a couple of feet or as much as 30 feet down. It then develops a roots system that grows horizontally from the tap root. In this case, it means that the yucca’s root can go numerous feet down, then branch out. This makes the yucca great at finding water during a drought.

If you have in-ground yuccas, you may never need to worry about watering them. But you might have to worry about your pipes or wells.

Hey, you’ll like this one:  Can a Yucca’s Roots Damage Pipes

How Often Do You Water an Indoor Yucca

Yuccas make great houseplants. A healthy yucca is not only gorgeous and somewhat dramatic but easy to care for. And because there are so many varieties, you can go for Y. elephantipes (spineless) with a tall and sleek modern look. Or you may want a shorter, fuller one like the Y. gloriosa (Spanish dagger) that can accentuate a more traditional home.

Regardless of what you choose, you will have a hardy, low maintenance plant that will last for years. But it will only last for years if you water it properly.

An indoor yucca doesn’t need a lot of water. Check it every couple of weeks but the frequency of watering it needs, depends greatly on its location.

For instance, if you have your Y. gloriosa in the window and the sun is shining directly on it. (not generally a good idea) it will need to be checked every week. You’ll probably end up watering it every two weeks.

A yucca placed in a dark corner (also not a good idea) or in indirect light will only need watering around every three weeks.

How to Check an Indoor Yucca and Water It

Checking an indoor yucca goes a little further than just touching the top of the soil to see if it’s moist. Dry soil on the top of the plant doesn’t indicate what’s going on further down. The top may be dry, but the plant, with its roots, may actually still be wet.

Take your finger or a light-colored stick; a wooden skewer works well and puncture the soil. Be sure to push it down deep. If it comes out moist or wet, put off watering.

If the yucca is bone-dry, water it. But don’t just pour or sprinkle a little water on the yucca, then walk away. Instead, give it a good soaking. That’s the routine you should always follow. Let the yucca completely dry out and then soak it. This routine mimics the desert conditions that the yucca was made for. In the desert, long periods of drought are met with sudden downpours and then drought again.

How Often Should You Water an Outdoor Potted Yucca

An outdoor potted yucca has different conditions than its indoor cousin. The elements play a big part in its development and its watering schedule.

You not only have stronger rays of the sun beating down, but you have wind and just general air movement. So check your outdoor yucca every week if you’re in a windy area. Wind pulls moisture from the leaves faster than the root system can replenish it. The result is wilting leaves that brown around the edges.

But, in general, an outdoor yucca, that is in the sun, can go for around two weeks before it needs watered. In some areas, it can go longer. But if you have your potted yucca in partial shade, a three-week schedule should suffice.

Use the skewer method to determine if you have any doubts. Just take the wooden skewer and insert it into the soil to see if it’s wet below the surface. Don’t water a potted yucca until it’s completely dry. Then you can give it a good soaking.

What Happens if You Underwater a Yucca

If your Yucca has dry brown edges on their leaves, it’s probably thirsty. Other signs include dropping leaves and flowers. The signs usually start at the plant’s base. Check the soil. If it is dry, give it a good soaking. Soak it again a few days later. Then put it on a consistent watering schedule.

What Happens if You Overwater a Yucca

Overwatering a yucca is worse than underwatering one. Overwatering a yucca is one of the few things that kill a yucca quickly. Remember, they’re desert plants, so they hold water, and therefore they rot if given too much.

Root rot is the scourge of yuccas. And it happens from overwatering. Root rot takes place below the soil, so unfortunately, you may not realize your yucca suffers from it until it’s too late.

What is Root Rot

Root rot will kill your yucca if not treated right away. A consistently soggy root promotes fungal spores to multiply. The fungus spreads, and as it advances, it turns the root mushy and brown. This results in the roots dying. As this happens, the plant can no longer receive nutrients.

This can be a 10-day process once the fungus takes hold and starts to spread. Death is the result. It’s imperative you act fast when you see the first signs. Below is an image of a yucca that died of root rot.

What are the Signs of Root Rot in a Yucca

If you notice your yucca’s leaves wilting and falling off or they’re turning yellow, act fast. You may also notice an odor coming from the soil and the base of the stem might be soft.

Dig away the soil at the yucca’s base. Examine the roots for rot. If they are brown and mushy, you have root rot.

All is not totally lost. If you catch it in time, you can cut away the rotted roots and replant it in dry well draining soil. This may save your yucca.

Always make sure you have a pot with a hole to drain excess water.


Yuccas are hardy and low maintenance. But they are susceptible to over watering. Root rot is usually their one cause for demise. Make sure you water your yuccas properly. The rule is a good soaking, than let it dry out completely. If you do this, you should have your beautiful yucca for many years.

Recent Posts