Hesperoyucca whipplei var. percursa

chaparral yucca
Sputnik-like orb of vicious dagger leaves grows for years, then produces tall fregrant stalk of white flowers from purplish buds as a final act in lifespan. Sunny hot spots if near coast.
Hesperoyucca whipplei var. percursaHesperoyucca whipplei var. percursa
height 2–5ft
width 2–5ft
tolerates Coast, Cold, Drought, Deer , Heat, Pots, Rooftops, Neglect, Wind
Best planted during the fall, where this California native can establish with winter rains (and supplemental water every week or two when totally dry). Taper off watering during early summer and give a dry rest from July - September.

If you aren’t planting during fall or winter, give this plant additional water during its first summer, when completely dry.

After the first year this plant will thrive without additional irrigation.
exposure Part Shade – Full Sun
drainage In Ground: Cactus Mix, In Pots: Cactus Mix, Tolerates Sandy Soil
fertilizing Low Needs
origin California, USA

Sunset Zones Map

Outdoor Exposure Guide


Full Sun
Six or more hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Shade
Three to five hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Sun
One to two hours of sun beams directly landing on the plants leaves.

Full Shade
The plant is never fully lit by sun beams, but is in a bright spot or has dappled sunbeams playing over the leaves throughout the day.

Deep Shade
The plant never has dappled light on the leaves, and is in a place that feels dim, even on a nice sunny day.


Growing Notes

Since this plant is monocarpic (bloom spike ends its lifespan) it’s generally not a good idea to fertilize it, as this will only shorten the lifespan of the plant. In fact this plant generally just wants to be left alone.
You can ‘pineapple’ your yucca by removing the lowest leaves. This is best started while it is out of the nursery can, but before planting, when you can access leaves from the bottom. This gives the plant a short trunk, textured similar to many palms, and allows you to get under the plant for weeding.
Grows well even in small pots where this plant stays in harmonious balance. Sometimes they get very rootbound in a pot, and it can be beneficial to bottom water, setting them in a saucer of water for a day.

Special Interest

The flowers and fruiting stem of this plant are edible, once cooked. The emerging flower stem is very sweet and starchy. All parts of the plant have a subtle soapy flavor.

The flowers are so pungent when in bloom that they will make one cautious if brought indoors, and are best enjoyed outdoors.

The leaves of this plant make an excellent natural soap with a built in loofa! Just cut a leaf, remove the spine at the tip and masticate it in water until sudsy. The fibers within the yucca leaf make the perfect abrading cloth.

The furthest natural range of this plant in California is Big Sur, where they are found on parched, rocky, western slopes.

More Info

The photo of this plant in habitat was taken by our staff member Tyson Curtis after the Dolan fire in Big Sur. As you can see, after some fall rains these plants were already beginning to regrow, showing their amazing fire resilience.