Yucca Gloriosa delights in having several descriptive common names – Spanish dagger, Adam’s needle, palm lily and Roman candle. It is an evergreen shrub, but is often considered to be a hardy perennial by gardeners. In colder districts, they will need be grown in tubs and over wintered under cool glass.
The plants have an exotic appearance, a tall, conical flowering spike, erupting from a base of sword-like grayish, green leaves, which immediately catches the eye. They make excellent plants where a focal point is needed or they can be used as an accent plant in a border. The flower spike appears in late summer, and carries an abundance of creamy-white, cup-shaped flowers, sometimes edged with crimson.
Apart from cutting off any dead foliage, or fading flower stems, Yucca Gloriosa needs little attention. Young plants, or offsets, should be planted out in spring, so that they have a full growing season before facing a cold winter. The ends of the leaves have very sharp spines so this needs to be considered if children play in the garden.
Well-drained soil is required but it does not need to be rich, as palm lilies will grow in quite poor conditions. They can withstand drought, so there should be no need to water after the plant is established.
Yucca Gloriosa will grow to a height of around 6.5ft (2m) with a spread of 4ft (1.2m). The leaves are around 2.5ft (75cm) long and 2in to 3in (5cm to 8cm) wide.
Sow seed in spring under gentle heat. Root cuttings can also be taken in winter, by cutting one or more of the thick roots into 2in (5cm) sections and placing them in compost. Another method is to remove some of the offsets from around the edge of the plant and pot them up.