Yucca plants are among the most sought-after houseplants right now. These relatively hardy plants can add a pop of personality to any dull space or room.
Yucca is a genus of 40 different species, from the majestic Joshua Tree to Adam’s needle. Yuccas come in varying shapes and sizes, and you’ll definitely find one that fits your aesthetic.
Despite being easier to maintain than most plants, Yuccas are still prone to one of the most common issues in houseplants – curly leaves. If you notice that the leaves of your Yucca are starting to curl up, then here’s what you need to understand.
Why Do Yucca Plants Develop Curly Leaves?
Curly leaves in Yuccas indicate that something is wrong, as it is the plant’s response to an ongoing problem. The main reasons are a lack of sunlight, too much sunlight, insect infestation and frost or cold.
Common Reasons for Curly Leaves in Yucca Plants
Identifying the source of the problem is very important in order to address the curly leaves of your Yucca plant. The most common reasons are:
Lack of Sunlight
In their natural habitat, Yuccas grow anywhere from rocky deserts to grasslands and even coastal sands. These locations allow them to receive as much sunlight as they need in order to thrive.
Curly leaves can be a sign that the plant is not receiving enough sunlight in its current location.
Typically, a Yucca with leaves that are darker than usual means that the available sunlight is inadequate.
Too Much Sunlight
On the other end of the spectrum, getting way too much sunlight can also lead to curly leaves. In general, Yuccas should be able to receive bright, indirect sunlight most of the time.
If leaves are starting to curl up, there is a good chance they are getting an excessive amount of sunlight.
Yuccas need significantly less water than other houseplants because of how they have evolved from their natural habitat where water is scarce.
It is very important to ensure that the pot has good drainage.
Too much water not only increases the risk for curly leaves to develop, but it can also lead to a more serious complication, which is root rot.
Yuccas are prone to sap-feeding insects, such as thrips and aphids, especially when the environment where the plant is located is favorable for insects that suck the life out of the plant.
Some insects can be found at the base of the leaves, although they can also be found in tight spaces less exposed to the external environment.
Thrips look like black specks or even small patches in cases of advanced infestation, while aphids vary in color from light green to white, with wooly filaments attached to them.
Cold or Frost Damage
Yuccas are very resilient across a wide range of temperatures. However, they are still susceptible to cold or frost damage.
Prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures can lead to curly leaves, which is the plant’s protective response to prevent further structural damage.
Treating Curly Leaves in Yucca Plants
As soon as you properly identify the reason behind the curly leaves, you can think about how to counter these causes.
Sunlight Level Correction
If your Yucca is receiving less than the recommended sunlight, move it to a more favorable location to ensure that it receives enough sunlight to maintain its health.
If the problem is too much sunlight, relocate the plant to a location where shade is available for a few hours during the day.
Potted Yuccas can be moved around, whereas bigger Yuccas can benefit from supplemental shade. Remember, they need bright and indirect sunlight most of the day.
In cases of overwatering, water your Yuccas less frequently and also check the drainage to prevent secondary complications from overwatering.
Most Yuccas, such as Yucca Elephantipes, have moderate watering needs compared to most other houseplants.
Remove Insect Infestations
As soon as you find out that your Yucca has insect infestation, isolate it from your other plants to prevent the spread of the infestation.
Inspect the leaves. Remove the leaves if there are already visible signs of bug infection or damage and discard them properly.
After the manual removal of the insects (if you are brave enough) and affected leaves, you can spray neem oil about two to three times a week to deter the recurrence of insect infestation.
Small, potted Yuccas exposed to cold damage can be transferred to a safer and warmer location inside the house.
Bigger Yuccas planted outdoors or those plants that cannot be moved and usually recover on their own.
If cases of a persistent drop in temperature, you can use a clear plastic sheet or a light blanket to provide a layer of protection against environmental exposure, as well as to prevent direct contact with frost.
Curly Leaves on Yucca Plants FAQs
Do I have to cut curly leaves on a Yucca plant?
Curly leaves on Yuccas is that they are reversible as long as you are able to address the problem on time. Cutting the leaves is only recommended when there is an accompanying infection or pest infestation found on the affected leaves. With the proper countermeasures cutting leaves is not necessary.
How long will curly leaves last on a Yucca plant?
Depending on the cause, curly leaves return to their normal state several days after the corrective treatment has been applied. In the case of curly leaves due to cold and frost damage, the curly leaves will usually improve slightly after relocation or application of a plastic sheet outside. Its regular appearance can be achieved after the cold spell or during springtime when the days are starting to get longer and warmer.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.