Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) Care Instructions Guide

Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) Care Instructions Guide

The Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia), a well-known, slowly growing evergreen, is a symbol of the Mojave Desert in the southwest of the United States.

They are the largest Yucca species, growing to heights of more than 30 feet.

As they mature, these hardy plants develop rounded, open crowns and distinctive extensive branching (usually when they reach between 3 and 9 feet in height).

Rosettes of leaf develop on the branches' tips. However, young trees that are grown in gardens often have leaves that are twisted backward and no branches.

At the tops of long panicles, tiny creamy-white flowers turn into light green seedpods.
This species provides an essential source of food and shelter for birds and small mammals in its harsh native environment.

The trees can only grow in environments that nearly replicate the dry, arid conditions of their native home.

On occasion, they are grown in desert gardens, xeriscape settings, and rock gardens.

When utilized as a specimen plant, their distinctive, architectural shape creates a dramatic focal point.

Finding Joshua trees can be difficult, so it's important to purchase from a trustworthy source to ensure the trees or seeds

are not taken from natural populations that are protected.

Take Care the Joshua Tree

In an environment where there is extensive gardening, a Joshua tree cannot be cultivated.

They thrive in regions with poor soils, protracted, hot, arid summers, and severely cold winters.

Your tree won't survive in a location with a lot of humidity and precipitation.

the vast and deep rhizomatic root system of these plants.

Since they need a lot of space to grow, keep them away from the home's foundation as well as any pipes or services.

Because Joshua trees don't transplant well, carefully assess the location.


As you would expect of a tree native to the desert, it needs a full sun position to thrive.


Joshua trees can grow in sandy, loamy, rocky, and clay soils, but they must be well-drained and dry. Unlike many plants, the poorer the quality of soil, the better they are likely to grow. Fertile, rich soil is not the Joshua tree’s friend.


This is a highly drought-tolerant tree. Established Joshua trees only need supplemental watering in periods of drought. When the ground is dry, dusty, and crumbly to the touch, you can water until the soil is saturated. Don’t water it again until it fully dries out, at a maximum of once per month during the growing season. Overwatering can lead to root rot.

Temperature and Humidity

For your Joshua tree to survive, the climate should replicate the extreme, elevated Mojave Desert as closely as possible. It needs a scorching hot, dry summer and a cold winter. Without a dormant period, the tree will die, so these changes in temperatures are important. They can tolerate winters as cold as 12 degrees Fahrenheit and summers as hot as 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s certainly not a tree for growing in the tropical, humid southern regions or in areas with high volumes of rainfall.


Wild Joshua trees thrive in poor, infertile soils, so they shouldn’t need supplemental feeding. Fertilizing may encourage faster growth, but this can alter the naturally appealing form of the tree.

Types of Joshua Tree

This is not a highly cultivated species, but if you’re looking for a compact version of the tree for a smaller landscape, you can opt for Yucca brevifolia var. jaegeriana. This dwarf tree version typically grows to around 10 feet and has shorter branches than the standard Yucca brevifolia.


Part of the appeal of the Joshua tree is its distinctive natural form—it won’t need any pruning other than to remove any old, damaged flowering stems. By leaving the branches with dry leaves, they can insulate the plant in cold winters by absorbing moisture.

How to Grow Joshua Tree From Seed

Growing Yucca brevifolia from seed is tricky but not impossible. The flowers can only be pollinated by a species of moth native to the trees natural habitat, so hand-pollination using the likes of a small paintbrush is often necessary. For best results, you should sow fully ripe and fresh seeds.
Seeds are usually ready to harvest in late summer.
The seed pods should be dry with black rather than tan seeds inside and not fully split open.
Once you have collected the black seeds, check them over to make sure they don’t have any holes in them.
This will only be a problem in native areas where the moth larvae may eat the seeds.
Use a shallow tray with a moist paper towel on it and place the seeds on this and then cover them with another moist paper towel.
Keep the tray at room temperature and moisten the paper towels whenever they start to dry out.
Make sure, however, that the seeds are not sitting in water.
After around 10 days, there should be stems starting to sprout from the seed end.
Once these shoots appear, they can be moved into a fresh potting mix and kept in a greenhouse.
Because the seedlings won’t appreciate being disturbed while establishing, select a large container rather than a small pot, so you don’t need to transplant them for at least the first two winters.
Make sure the white sprouting stems are facing up when you pot them.
Potting and Repotting

Joshua trees are slow-growing, but they do have an extensive root system.

If they are being grown in a container, you should repot them in a larger pot every few years at the end of winter.

Because they don’t like being transplanted, you need to do this very carefully.

How to Get Yucca Brevifolia to Bloom

When a Joshua tree is in flower in spring, it produces densely clustered panicles that can be up to 20 inches long.

The small, individual, white-green flowers are oval-shaped and have an unpleasant, mushroom-like fragrance.

Not every tree flowers annually.

There needs to be perfect weather conditions to facilitate flowering, and not every tree will bloom annually.

Freezing winter conditions stimulate the following season’s flowers.

Too little or too much rainfall can also impact blooming success rates.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post