Yucca Transplanting: How To Transplant A Yucca In The Garden
By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Sometimes, a plant simply outgrows its location and needs to be moved. Yuccas are full sun plants and need well-draining soil. Other considerations for this large, prickly leaved plant are issues of comfort. It is probably best not to situate the plant where it can make walking or playing uncomfortable due to its sharp leaves. Read on for tips on how to transplant a yucca.
When to Move Yuccas
Moving yucca plants takes preparation and good timing. Some specimens may be very large and old and might need professional help. At the very least, it is a good idea to have an extra hand or two, as these are cumbersome plants with sharp leaves. Choose your site very carefully when transplanting yuccas, as they prefer not to be moved frequently. Expect to baby it for a few months and don’t be surprised if a bit of transplant shock occurs. The plant will usually shake it off in a week or so.
As they say, “timing is everything.” Knowing when to move yuccas will give you the best chance of success. For most plants, it is best to transplant when the plant is dormant. Yucca transplanting can technically be done at any time of the year. However, in regions with mild winters, it is best to move the plant in fall. That way the roots can establish before the hot temperatures arrive. If you are moving yucca plants in spring, remember they will need extra water as things heat up. Choose a location with at least 8 hours of sunlight in a site with well-draining soil.
How to Transplant a Yucca
Width and depth of the hole are the first concern. Yucca can grow deep roots and have a width of a foot beyond the widest leaves. Dig out around the plant and gradually deeper under the crown. Set a tarp off to one side and use the shovel to lever the plant out onto it.
Next, dig a hole as deep as the root system and twice as wide in the transplant location. One tip on moving yucca plants – add a little soil to the very center of the new hole, which will rise the stemless yucca up a bit when planted. This is because, once the soil settles after watering, the yucca may sink into the soil. That can cause rot over time.
Spread out the roots and settle the plant into the new hole. Backfill with loose soil, tamping around gently.
Post Yucca Transplanting Care
After transplanting yucca, some TLC may be necessary. Yucca moved in fall should be watered once per week if no precipitation is expected. After two weeks, decrease watering to once every other week. In spring, temperatures are warmer and evaporation occurs. Keep the plant moderately moist for a month and then decrease watering to every two weeks.
Your yucca may experience some shock that may cause discolored leaves. Remove these once new growth begins to show. Use organic mulch around the base of the plant to discourage weeds and conserve moisture while keeping the ground cool in summer and warm in winter.
In about a month or so, the yucca should be well established in its new home and regular care resumed.
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Relocating small soaptree yuccas (yucca elata) - When? Advice?
I need to relocate four small (1-2 feet tall) soaptree yuccas that are where a structure is planned to be built. (All of the larger yuccas will remain in place.) Each has grown from seed in undisturbed soil. Any advice to improve their chances of surviving would be appreciated. I will try to maintain existing sun orientation.
I have read that these have a long taproot. How long is 'long'? Is there a bulb or swelling in the taproot that I need to look for? Do I need to be concerned about side roots?
Would it be better to move them now (Jan/Feb), in early spring, or to wait for warm or hot weather?
I suspect that, like other native plants, that I should avoid watering for at least 3 days after transplanting. Is this correct? Will they need to be shaded for a while after the move?
Is there anything I can do in advance to prepare each yucca for the move?
Yucca Transplanting Tips
A yucca plant gives a unique look to gardens and landscaped yards. If you want to grow this plant in your yard, or move it to a larger container, it's important to know how to transplant the yucca from its original pot to another location. Here are some tips for transplanting a yucca houseplant.
When to Transplant
Transplant your yucca plant is in the spring, preferably March or April. If the plant is very big, ask someone to help you with the transplantation. Transplant into a larger pot that is about 1 or 2 sizes bigger than the original. To ensure the plant grows well, buy a commercial soil-based potting product that includes perlite.
Carefully remove the plant from the old container. Look at the rootball and examine the root structure. If you see a lot of large roots wrapped around the bottom of the rootball, untangle them. It's also a good idea to cut off the longer ones using a sharp knife or pruning shears.
Make sure you dig around the rhizomes, being careful not to cause damage. Remove some of the old soil that is stuck around the edges and bottom of the rootball. Place a layer of soil on the bottom of the new pot, and then put the rootball on top of the soil.
Plant the Yucca
Spread out the bottom roots as much as you can so that the top of the rootball fits about 1½ inches below the top of the new container. Use the new soil you purchased to fill in the sides around the rootball. Don't pack the soil, but make sure it is nice and firm. Put a thin layer of soil over the rootball as well. If the yucca plant is very big, consider using stakes so that it does not fall over.
The final step is to pour water over the soil until it starts to run out of the drainage holes. Put the potted plant in an area that receives a lot of sunlight, and refrain from watering it until the surface of the soil dries out.