A bold clump of upright golden-yellow and green leaves, tough and thriving in the hottest and driest conditions, easy to grow in all but the coldest states – who wouldn’t want a plant like this in their garden? What is it? The Golden Sword Yucca.
Yucca plants are known for their amazing ability to survive and thrive in dry conditions that will kill most other plants. Right out in the driest desert areas of America you will find these plants growing. Those plants have leaves of a bluish-green color, but in gardens other, much more colorful, forms are possible. These make powerful features in your garden, without the need for constant care and watering. For the busy gardener, or for the garden in the sun, with dry, sandy or rocky soil, the Golden Sword Yucca is going to be top of your plant list, even in zone 5.
Growing Golden Sword Yucca Plants
The Golden Sword Yucca forms a dense clump of narrow, upright leaves, growing 3 to 4 feet tall, and as much across. The younger leaves, in the center of the clumps, stand strongly upright, and as they age they gradually become more horizontal and then hang slightly, so the clump has a full, rounded appearance. The leaves last for several years, and along their edges you will see fine, white curling threads growing, characteristic of this particular yucca species. The tip of the leaf has a sharp spine, and the leaves are leathery and tough, not fleshy. What makes this plant so striking is the color patterning of the leaves. Right down the center of every leave is a broad, bold stripe of brilliant yellow, while the edges of the leaves are striped in green. Some leaves are almost completely yellow, while others may have more green on them. The overall effect is vibrant and striking – and this is color that is in your garden 365 days of the year, not just for a couple of weeks of flowering.
Perhaps surprisingly, this plant also flowers, and beautiful flowers they are. Older plants will send up a tall, thick spike, about 6 feet tall, or even more. On the top masses of large and beautiful creamy-white flowers will develop. These are shaped like bells, and they hang close to the stem on short stalks. Not only beautiful, they give off a rich perfume too, and they add a whole new level of beauty to this plant in late summer. Older clumps will often produce several flower spikes, making a spectacular display.
Uses on Your Property
Use the Golden Sword Yucca in your garden as a specimen plant – perhaps at the foot of a wall, or in a sunny place around your house. If you have drier, sunny areas beneath overhanging eaves, this plant will thrive there. Plant it with other sun-loving plants, such as Junipers for example, in a bed among boulders and cover the ground with a layer of gravel mulch. This simple but effective feature will turn boring and dull parts of your garden into very attractive elements of your design. If you have large planter boxes or pots, the Golden Sword Yucca will bring year-round color to them and brighten your terrace or patio. Be sure the pot has a good drainage hole and use a compost for cactus or succulent plants. Water well, and then leave until the soil is completely dry, and then water again. If you forget to water, or go on holiday, don’t worry, your plant will be great when you come back.
Planting and Initial Care
Plant the Golden Sword Yucca is full sun, in any well-drained soil. It will thrive in the hottest spots, in poor, sandy soil, or among gravel and rocks. Just break up the ground in the spot where you are planting, to give it a chance to become established, and give some regular water during the first growing season, and that is it – no more needs to be done. The secret to the toughness of the Golden Sword Yucca is the thick underground root, that goes deep in search of water and holds all the water it finds inside itself. This keeps the plant alive month after month, and – once well-established and mature – even for years of drought. This plant very rarely has any pests or diseases, and deer leave it alone too. It also tolerates salt spray, and with its drought resistance, this combination makes it ideal for planting at a beach cottage, or near the shore. Just avoid planting in shade, or in any soil that is often wet.
History and Origins of the Golden Sword Yucca
There are about 40 species of Yucca growing in North America, Mexico and the Caribbean. All across the southeast, and into Texas, a species called Yucca filamentosa is common. It is often called Adam’s needle or Spanish bayonet. This species is easily distinguished by the fine threads on the sides of the leaves, and we see these clearly in the variety called ‘Golden Sword’. We don’t know where this variety came from, but it has been grown for many years, and its variegated leaves have decorated dry gardens for just as long. This is the largest of the different varieties, being as much as a foot taller than others. It is always in great demand, and the beautiful plants we have sourced will rapidly be gone. Order now, put away the watering can, and enjoy the striking leaves and dramatic flowering of the Golden Sword Yucca.