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Why Yucca Plants Wilt

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You must diagnose the problem and make corrections to stop the wilting before the entire yucca plant dies back.

Yucca plants will grow under a variety of conditions, but sometimes a plant that doesn’t receive the right care will show signs of wilting. Plant wilting can be caused by one or more reasons. You must diagnose the problem and make corrections to stop the wilting before the entire yucca plant dies back.


Young yucca plants need regular watering until the roots are established or the plant will start to wilt. After the plant is established, the plant will only need water when it rains. However, container plants should have at least one watering each week, since the soil does dry rather quickly in a container more so than it does in the ground, but this depends on the soil you use. If the soil doesn't have good-drainage, such as clay soil, you will need to wait until the soil dries out before watering the yucca. If the soil is a sandy mixture that drains quickly, you may need to water the plant more often if the soil dries out quickly.


Fusarium stem rot and southern blight will cause the yucca plant to wilt. Fusarium causes soft stem rot, which will affect the leaves of the plant. The plant will appear as if it is wilting. Southern blight is a pathogen that will attack yucca plants, particularly the stems. The growth appears as a fan pattern, which can be seen on the surface of the soil. The sclerotia, which are round, can appear anywhere on the plant or on the soil. There is no control reccomended for fusarium stem rot, but for controlling southern blight, you would need a product formulated for controlling the disease.


Yucca plants are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 9, but can be grown in a container in any region as long as the plant is protected from cool temperatures under 30 F, which will cause the plant to wilt. If you have a yucca growing outdoors in a container, you need to bring the plant indoors before the first frost. Yucca plants will tolerate hot, dry conditions found indoors. The plants grow very well with room temperatures between 70 and 80 F.


Mealybugs are cotton masses that appear on the underside of the leaves and on the yucca roots. Plants that are heavily infected have sooty mold, caused by the excess sap excreted by the pests. Yucca plants will slow in growth and start to wilt if the pest is not controlled with an insecticide soil drench. Also controlled with an insecticide soil drench is scale, which is a tiny pest that feeds on the stems, petioles and leaves of the yucca plant. The round, light to dark brown pinhead-sized pest will cause the plant to slowly wilt by sucking the juices from the plant.

Root Growth

Yucca plant roots can become crowded in a container, which can cause the plant to start wilting. If you look at the bottom of the container and see roots by the drainage holes, the plant needs to be transplanted into a container at least 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter and depth. Plants that are in the garden may have crowding conditions if you have other plants nearby that have large root systems. You would need to uproot and move the yucca or thin out the plants around the yucca.

1 comment

Abdel-moniem El-Shorbagy
Posted on Oct 6, 2011

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