Yucca aloifolia

Common Name: Spanish bayonet 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States to Mexico, West Indies
Zone: 8 to 11
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: White with purple tinge
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Thorns
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Best grown in loose, sandy, well-draining, dry to medium moisture soils of average to poor fertility in full sun. Will tolerate some light shade. Adaptable to most soil types (including typical garden soil) as long as they are well-draining. Will benefit from occasional summer irrigation, particularly during dry periods. Hardy in Zones 8-11. Tolerant of heat, frost, salt spray and drought once established.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Yucca aloifolia, commonly called Spanish bayonet, dagger plant, Spanish dagger, or aloe yucca, is a slow-growing, tree-form yucca native to sand dunes and other coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico. Rosettes can reach up to 4' across and readily form offsets. The stiff, narrowly lanceolate foliage is armed with marginal spines and a sharp terminal spine. Mature plants can reach up to 20' tall on upright to arched, single to sparsely branched stems. The new leaves are held erect while the older foliage is reflexed and will remain on the stems as the plant grows. Upright, cone-shaped, terminal inflorescences (up to 2' tall) emerge in summer from mature rosettes. The flowering stalks bear pendulous, cream-colored flowers with tinges of purple.

Genus name comes from the Carbi name for manihot, also called cassava or yuca, which is not closely related but has similarly enlarged root structures.

The specific epithet aloifolia means "having leaves like an aloe", and refers to the stiff foliage outfitted with sharp spines.

Common names for this plant refer to the characteristics of the foliage.


No major pest or disease problems. Avoid overhead watering, as this can cause crown rot. Poorly drained and overly moist soils can also lead to rot. The marginal and terminal spines on this plant are very stiff and sharp, posing a hazard to passersby and when handling. The terminal spines can be cut off and the old foliage can removed to avoid injury. Siting this plant at the edge of a sidewalk, driveway, or other highly trafficked area is not recommended. The heavily armed foliage is not attractive to deer or rabbits.


Rock gardens, desert gardens, seaside gardens, xeriscaping.