Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 114 Yucca gloriosa

Common Names: Spanish dagger, palm lily, mound-lily yucca Family: Agavaceae (agave Family)
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Yucca gloriosa
The rugged mound-lily yucca readily adapts to heat, harsh sunlight and drought as demon started by this specimen planted against a brick wall in a motel parking lot.
Yucca gloriosa
Mound-lily yucca decorates the entrance to a retirement community near Wildwood, Florida.


Mound-lily yucca is an erect evergreen shrub with swordlike leaves about 2 in (5.1 cm) wide and 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) long originating from a basal rosette. The leaves are bluish or grayish green with smooth margins and pointed tips. They tend to bend near the middle and arch downward. In summer mound-lily yucca puts up a showy 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m) spike of fragrant flowers that are white with purplish tinges, pendant and about 3 in (7.6 cm) across. Mound-lily yucca stays in a stemless rounded clump 2-5 ft (0.6-1.5 m) across and about the same height for several years, but eventually develops a trunk or stem which elevates that clump of leaves above the ground as much as 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m). In older plants the stem develops branches and each terminus has its own rosette of leaves. The cultivar, 'Mobilis' has dark green leaves and 'Variegata' has leaves with yellow margins.


Mound-lily yucca, Yucca gloriosa, occurs naturally on coastal dunes and shell mounds near the Atlantic from North Carolina to northeast Florida.


Mound-lily yucca does best in full sun with sandy, very well drained soil, either neutral or acidic. Light: Full sun is best but will tolerate partial shade. Moisture: Very drought tolerant. Excellent for xeriscaping. Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 - 11. Propagation: By seeds, by root cuttings taken in winter, and by offsets taken in spring.


This slow growing shrub is best used as an accent, in mixed borders or as a foundation plant. It is especially attractive in the background of a rock garden or a cactus and succulent garden. This yucca will stay put and not "creep" by toppling over and rerooting as Spanish bayonet (Y. aloifolia) does. Despite its common name of "Spanish dagger", this yucca is a gentler plant without the stiff needle-sharp leaf tips that make the Spanish bayonet such a danger in the garden.

mound-lily yucca flowers
Great summertime spires of fragrant white flowers arise from the towering mound-lily stems


This is one of several species of Yucca that are used in landscaping. The fierce Spanish bayonet (Yucca aloifolia) and Adam's needle (Yucca filamentosa) are also are native to the southeastern United States and are often used in xeriscapes (low water use landscapes). The yuccas are pollinated only by specific species of moths (yucca moths), and if none of these moths is around when your yucca is blooming you will have to hand pollinate the flowers if you want viable seeds.


The sap may cause dermatitis (skin irritation) in some individuals.

Steve Christman 10/23/99; updated 7/1/01, 2/19/04, 11/1/12

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Yucca species profiled on Floridata:

Yucca aloifolia

( Spanish bayonet, dagger plant )

Yucca elephantipes

( spineless yucca, giant yucca )

Yucca filamentosa

( Adam's needle, bear grass, weak-leaf yucca )

Yucca gloriosa

( Spanish dagger, palm lily, mound-lily yucca )

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