Plants for Water Wise Pollinator Gardens: Yucca (Yucca species)

Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape November 14, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

Plant family



Yucca moths pollinate a yucca flower (toward the top). Photo credit: Lisa Brown Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0



Cluster of Joshua tree flowers (Yucca brevifolia)
Photo source: Takwish Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

Agave or Century Plant Family (Agavaceae)


Common Names


Common names for Adam's needle, a popular southeastern U.S. native yucca available at garden centers include:

needle palm, bear grass, bear’s thread, Christmas bell, Confederate flax, curly hair, Eve’s darning needle, Eve’s thread, grass cactus, our-Lord’s-candles, silk grass, soap root, soap week, Spanish-dagger, spoon, leaf yucca, thread-and-needle (from: USDA Plant Guide)


  • Yuccas are very drought tolerant plants
  • Native to the dry regions of the southwestern U.S., Central and South America
  • A few species are found in more northern, central, and eastern parts of the U.S.
  • Some species are considered invasive in rangelands
  • Yuccas have sword like leaves and send up tall spikes with white flowers that bloom from late spring to early summer
  • Some species of these long-lived plants can grow up to 15 feet or more in height. 
  • Yuccas need dry well drained soils and full sun
  • Depending on species, they are hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 9.
  • Yuccas are a great choice as an accent plant for a water-wise landscape


yucca moth - adult and larva


Additional Resources:

                USDA NRCS Plant Guide - Adam's Needle Yucca filamentosa L.


                Range Plants of Utah


                Florida - Yucca filamentosa Adam's Needle
                North Carolina Plant Fact Sheets


                Texas arthropods image salon - image of yucca moth