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Is a Yucca a Cactus or Succulent? (Explained)

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Yucca’s diversity allows it to be used as decoration both outdoors as ornamental shrubs alongside other bushes and also indoors they can be planted in a ceramic planter to give the room an edgy aesthetic.

Is a yucca a cactus or succulent?

Yucca is flowering succulents but is often mistaken as cactus. Even though yucca, agave, and cactus are all categorized as succulents, yucca and cacti belong to different families of succulents and are totally different despite both having similar fleshy leaves with sharp, pointed ends.

While there are many similarities between yucca and cacti, there are also some distinct physical features that set the yucca plant apart.

Such as the way the foliage is spread out in a rosette shape while the flowers grow up to be huge and bell-shaped in a creamy white color as opposed to cacti whose stems are thicker and covered in fine thorns all pointing upwards.

Is red yucca a cactus?

Red yucca as the name suggests belongs to the yucca family. But the plant type is both cacti and succulent. This makes them tolerable to very dry, drought-like conditions and need little water to survive and thrive just like cacti and other succulent plants.

Additionally, they rarely develop a disease or are infested by pests.

What makes a yucca plant succulent?

Succulent has many different types of plant families under its umbrella. They all possess characteristics that help distinguish them as succulent, which includes yucca plants as well.

  • Yucca can hold water in its leaves, stems, roots when it gets water and survives on this for days when water is scarce due to drought.
  • They can survive in dry conditions.
  • They have fewer pores, which is very common in succulents.
  • They have the same unique metabolism as succulents known as Crassulacean acid metabolism. Because of this at night they fix carbon dioxide while the evapotranspiration is lower and store it in the form of organic acid.

What is the difference between a yucca plant and cactus?

Since a lot of people confuse yucca plants and cactus, it is best to know the differences between them. This will make identifying them much easier and might clear up some of the confusion surrounding them.


The main distinguishable difference between the two is their bloom. Cactus has several petals overlapping one another from one open center whereas the yucca blossom is bell-shaped.


Yucca is mainly just leaves but cacti are all stems.

What are the different types of yucca plants?

Yucca plants come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. All of them are unique in their own way with many distinctive qualities differing slightly from each other.

  • Spineless Yucca Plant (Yucca elephantipes)
  • Red Yucca Plant (Hesperaloe parviflora)
  • Yellow Yucca Plant (Hesperaloe parviflora yellow)
  • Adam’s Needle (Yucca filamentosa)
  • Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)
  • Blue Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia blue)
  • Dwarf Joshua Tree
  • Soapweed Yucca Plant (Yucca glauca)
  • Spanish Dagger (Yucca aloifolia)
  • Beaked Yucca Plant (Yucca rostrata
  • Bear Grass Yucca (Yucca filamentosa)
  • Banana Yucca Plant (Yucca baccata)
  • Mojave Yucca Plant (Yucca schidigera)
  • Spanish Bayonet (Yucca aloifolia)
  • Color Guard
  • Soaptree Yucca (Yucca elata)
  • Thompson’s Yucca Plant (Yucca thompsoniana)

Is the yucca plant tropical?

The yucca plant is tropical as it is originally from the southern United States, South America, and the Caribbean.

Since it is from there, it tends to flourish in places with the same desert-like condition with the sun shining down on them directly, with too much dryness and very little water every few weeks.

Their flower also blooms better in those conditions which is also the reason they rarely blossom when used as indoor plants.

What is another name for the yucca plant?

Yucca plants are commonly called a few other names which include Adam’s needle, common yucca, Spanish bayonet, bear-grass, needle-palm, silk-grass, and spoon-leaf yucca. These usually differ based on their bloom.

Can you use succulent soil for a yucca plant?

Succulent or cactus soil mix can be used for a yucca plant which is well-drained potting soil. They will thrive when planted with this mixture in a good terra-cotta pot with good drainage holes.

Because it helps to keep the moisture levels even by soaking up excess water with the help of the porous material of the terra-cotta pot.

But it is still possible to make your own potting soil mix to plant your yucca by mixing normal potting mix with equal parts of coarse sand and perlite. The perlite helps with drainage.

How do I identify yucca?

The easiest way to identify a yucca is by its distinct physical appearance. They have spiky leaves similar to a sword and large cream or white bell-shaped flowers extending from the stem.

Final Thoughts:

Due to some physical similarities yucca are often mistaken as cactus or agave which are all succulents but belong to different plant families and are not one. It is easier to spot a yucca if someone learns a little about the things that make them different and sets them apart from the other plants.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do Yucca Plants Like Full Sun or Shade?

Are Yucca Plants Poisonous to Humans, Cats, Dogs, or Pets?

How Fast Do Yucca Plants Grow?

How Big & Tall Do Yucca Plants Grow?

Can a Yucca Plant Live Outside and Inside?

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