Yucca is a hardy and drought-tolerant plant that can add both visual appeal and ecological value to an Arizona pollinator garden. This plant produces large, striking white flowers that are attractive to a variety of native bees, including carpenter bees and yucca moths.
Yucca is a host plant for yucca moths, which are the only pollinators of this plant. The moths lay their eggs inside the yucca flowers, and the larvae feed on the seeds, which is crucial for the reproduction of yucca plants. By planting Yucca in a pollinator garden, gardeners can not only support the populations of important pollinators but also help to ensure the survival of this important plant species.
Flowers: J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sun: Full to partial shade
Watering: Low, every 3-4 weeks
Growth Rate: Slow to moderate
Soil: Prefers well-draining soil
Temperature: Frost-tolerant, heat-tolerant
Disease and Pests:
Uses: Larval host for the Yucca moth. Attracts yucca moths and other pollinators, as well as birds that eat the seeds
- Banana Yucca (Yucca baccata) – This yucca species is found throughout the Sonoran Desert and other regions of the southwestern United States. It typically grows to a height of 3-6 feet and produces edible fruit that was an important food source for indigenous peoples. The banana yucca blooms in late spring to early summer, producing tall stalks of white flowers.
- Mojave Yucca (Yucca schidigera) – While primarily found in the Mojave Desert, the Mojave yucca can also be found in the western Sonoran Desert. This species is known for its medicinal properties, as the roots and leaves contain compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It grows to a height of 10-16 feet and produces tall stalks of white flowers in late spring.
- Spanish Bayonet (Yucca aloifolia) – This yucca species is also known as the aloe yucca, due to its spiky leaves that resemble those of the aloe plant. It can be found in the southern Sonoran Desert and other coastal regions of the southeastern United States. The Spanish bayonet grows to a height of 6-10 feet and produces white or cream-colored flowers in late spring to early summer.
- Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) – Perhaps the most iconic of all yucca species, the Joshua tree is found primarily in the Mojave Desert but also extends into the western Sonoran Desert. It is named for its unusual branching pattern, which some say resembles the upraised arms of Joshua in the Bible. The Joshua tree can grow up to 50 feet tall and produces greenish-white flowers in late winter to early spring.
- Soaptree Yucca (Yucca elata) – This yucca species is found throughout the Chihuahuan Desert, which includes the eastern Sonoran Desert. The soaptree yucca is so named for its soapy leaves, which were used by indigenous peoples to make soap. It grows to a height of 10-20 feet and produces white flowers in late spring to early summer.
- The American Southwest
- Backyard Gardener
- Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
- Public ASU
- Arizona Native Plant Society
- Southwest Desert Flora
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