Can I propagate yucca from stem cuttings?
G. K. Nash, Amarillo, TX
In six months, a cut stem will begin developing roots.
Photo/Illustration: Allison Starcher
Wade Roitsch, head propagator at Yucca Do Nursery in Hempstead, Texas, replies: Many trunk-forming yuccas with multiple stems (Yucca aloifolia, for example) can be propagated from stem cuttings. Cut an established trunk off your yucca plant, and remove any leaves or thatch from about a 12-inch section at the cut end. Store the trunk in a cool dry place for four to seven days to let the cut dry. Dig a hole about 12 inches deep, place the cut end in the ground, and backfill. If your trunk piece is over 18 inches tall, stake it to keep it from being toppled by the wind.
It generally takes three to six months to establish an acceptable root system. Water the soil thoroughly at first, and unless it’s excessively dry, there’s no need to water again. The top portion of the trunk will probably lose some leaves before the roots begin to develop. As long as the crown remains green, the plant should be fine
It is best to propagate yuccas during the late spring and in summer when most of their leaf and root development takes place and the plants are better able to resist disease and rot.