Problems With Yucca Plants

yucca explosion image by koi88 from

Yuccas produce long, spear-like leaves. The plants flower in summer, producing white or red blooms along tall spikes. There is a variety of this low-maintenance desert plant that grows well in almost every climate in the country.

Recognising any problems and treating them immediately helps ensure your yucca remains healthy and continues to thrive.

Fungal Problems

Leaf spot problems caused by fungal infections can ruin the appearance of yucca leaves and cause extensive plant damage if left unchecked. Spots, or lesions, are yellow or brown and they may take on a sunken appearance. Overwatering and wet foliage causes more fungal problems, as the fungus requires moist conditions to grow. Treat minor infections by removing infected leaves and keeping the foliage dry. Fungicides may be required for more severe problems.


Several insects can pose a hazard to yucca plants. Mites, thrips and mealybugs feed on the yucca foliage, which can cause severe damage if the infestation is severe. The agave snout weevil bores into the canes of some yucca species, hollowing them out and causing plant death. Insecticidal soaps and pesticides formulated for the specific insect type can control most insect pests.


Rodents pose the greatest animal hazard to yucca plants. Yuccas are succulents, so they store moisture in their leaves. During times of drought rodents chew on the leaves to extract the moisture. The animals can destroy both young and mature plants if the damage isn't stopped. Fencing and traps provide the quickest means to managing animal pests.

Freeze Damage

Yuccas are desert plants. They can tolerate some cold, but exposure to prolonged freezing may cause permanent damage or death. Cold tolerance depends on the yucca variety, as some varieties withstand extreme freezes while others do not. Varieties that don't tolerate cold can be protected from short frosts by covering them with a layer of mulch or a protective fabric barrier.

Water Issues

Yucca and other desert plants prefer dry soil conditions. Planting in overly soggy soil or providing frequent irrigation causes more harm than good. Allow the soil around the yucca's roots to dry completely before watering. Yuccas rarely require irrigation, except in times of prolonged drought. Overwatering leads to root rot and makes plants more susceptible to fungal diseases.