This is what became of my lovely Soft-leaf YuccaYucca recurvifolia.

IMGP5381.new The nascent pup shows the discoloration common with a probable fungal infection from growing in a too-wet soil.

IMGP5382.new Additionally, the large root came out of the ground without complaint and was rotted, stinky, and mushy–those last two terms aren’t technical, but they are descriptive.




I don’t have a good shot of them, but there were also fat, gross grubs in the mass of squishy, smelly root.  The grubs crawled back into their fetid lair before I took these photos and I wasn’t going to stick my hands or even a trowel into the disgusting mess to look for them.  You’ll just have to take my word that they exist.

Here’s a head of one, though, in case you’d like to look at it.


I wrote about my concerns for this yucca in December 2014 in this post.  Once I removed the mature plant, I hoped that the root with the yucca pup would survive and thrive. At that time, the pup looked healthy and the root was firmly ensconced in the ground, so my positive outlook for the health of the yucca was reasonable.  Alas, I believe over watering by the neighboring lawn zealot truly did this yucca in during winter.  I think fungal problems were established and the damp of winter took care of the rest.

It’s a bummer, losing this yucca.  I’ll miss the evergreen form and gorgeous, twice per year bloom stalks.  Oddly, I don’t have a photo of the deceased yucca, but this is another Soft-leaf Yucca in my garden,

P1030415.new …and it, as well as the other eight specimens, seem healthy.  Soft-leaf Yucca is  striking in the garden–foliage and blooms add so much in grace and structure.

I’m not going to run out and buy anything to plant in the newly vacated spot.  If design was my priority, I would replace the yucca with something else that is evergreen with interesting structure.  Instead, I planted these two dormant Plateau Goldeneye, Viguiera dentata.

IMGP5388_cropped_3414x3207..newThey’ll flourish in the western exposure and they can handle much, or little water–whatever is dealt them. I pulled these two out from a work area at the side of my house where they receive no water from me–they established themselves because that’s what Goldeneye do.  An excellent wildlife plant, attracting pollinators and birds, Goldeneye are pretty too.

IMGP2122.new IMGP1242.new

Really, really pretty.

The two perennial Goldeneye, planted together with others in this garden, will make a bold statement along the street and edge of my property and provide sustenance for wildlife throughout the growing season.


20 thoughts on “Yuck-ah

  1. Oh poor baby Yucca! So gross an ending to such a lovely plant pup. I suppose grubs gotta eat, too. Maybe those particular grubs will morph into something lovely you’ll enjoy watching fly around your garden spaces later? (maybe…)

    Beautiful as well as practical, the Goldeneye as replacements sound like the perfect choice, with a much higher chance of success that is not dependent on your neighbor suddenly developing water smarts. Lots and lots of sweet yellow blossoms to fill in where once an occasional bloom stalk appeared is a good trade.

    You’ll have to excuse me now – I’m packing my bags to move in to that last photo for a few weeks. Gorgeous!


    • I don’t sweat gardening stuff too much. I think the goldeneye will do fine, in fact, they’ll be perfect in that spot. You are right about the photo, but truthfully, goldeneye are so photogenic–I have so many pics of the summer/fall blooms because they were just fabulous models.


      • Ha! You know, I thought about the weevils and I’d seen a photo of an adult, but didn’t look any further than that last fall when I really began paying attention to the sick yucca. I’d totally forgotten about the yucca and on Sunday, checked it and it was clearly on its way out. The root was rotted, I saw the grubs, but didn’t connect the dots.

        I’m glad Pam mentioned the weevils/larvae. Truthfully, inviting those gross things in by planting non-native yuccas was one reason I was slow on the yucca-bandwagon. They’re just so pretty in the garden though–the yucca, not the bugs.


    • Darn–you’re right!! I read several bits of info about yucca problems and while the weevils were mentioned, I didn’t see any photos. But the photo on your blog post is exactly what I saw. What I did read is that over-watering tends to set up problems of varying sorts–weevils were included in that. So far, the other yucca plants in my gardens are healthy–I am keeping watch and there’s no yucca near to where this one was planted, nor will I replace it with another–goldeneye have already been planted. Thanks Pam, for the heads up–I’ll pull out some of the soil and replace it, asap.

      Yuck again.


      • No problem, Jenny. I’ve also messed up where I responded to Pam. Grrrrr. ( I just ate some of my little bees’ honey and I think I’m in nirvana and not functioning quite right. )

        Yes, it’s looks like my yucca succumbed to the dreaded snout weevil. As soon as I come down from my honey high, I need to trash the compromised soil.


  2. I think it should be added that I don’t think the weevils killed the Yucca. As often happens in these situations, the Yucca became weakened due to over watering and the weevils took opportunistic advantage.

    You see this in lots of systems.

    Bees usually can manage the odd hive beetle or varroa mite, but when the hive is weakened, the invasive insects finish it off.

    So always diagnose declines holistically and never center just on one cause.


    • Probably true, though clearly, the grub was a snout-nosed weevil. That all other yucca/agave in my gardens are, at the moment, healthy, indicates that the weevils probably took advantage of a weakened plant. Time will tell though.


  3. I’ve just looked this up to see if we have Agave snout weevil over here and I cannot find a definite answer, but its in some European countries. What a really beautiful plant Goldeneye is though.


    • The Goldeneye is just the most gorgeous thing and it’s a great wildlife perennial: host plant to two different butterflies, a nectar plant for native and honeybees, as well as all other butterflies and the finches eat the seeds and tear off leaves for their nests. So, I’m happy to welcome that plant any time!


    • I think the garden will go on, just fine. I’m sorry too, but it’s an opportunity for another plant. I’ll bet those Caladiums were pretty mushy by the end of your winter.


  4. =( Sorry for your loss. Especially such a gross one. When I first got here I heard that yuccas were easy to grow and I did try one once but it ended in total disaster. When pests hit that plant it seems to just collapse. I’ve been hestitant to try again. I wonder if the clay soil contributes to waterlogging and over all weakening. Maybe they prefer rockier sandy soil. I dunno.


    • You’re correct, Debra-those agave and yucca aren’t fond of our heavier clay soils. But they can survive and prosper as long as they’re not overwatered or even watered on a regular basis. I’m not seeing any problems like I saw with that one and I’m convinced that the snout-nosed devil, I mean, weevil, simply took advantage of an already weakened plant. The problem, of course, is that it’s now in my garden, in MY territory. So, a sharp eye is the ticket. I’ll be sorry if other yucca are infected because they do make a graceful evergreen presence in less-than-full sun, which I have an abundance of.

      Onward, in the garden!!


    • Yes, a disappointment but I do have others and I hope they’ll continue to grow and bloom. Soft-leaf Yucca are very attractive plants. Those goldeneye–they are just about my favorite plants. I say that about many plants, though.


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