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My Plant

QUESTION: Hi Justin,
My name is Megan. I am young and do not know much about plants or how to take care of them. I just moved into my own house and am finding it hard to keep my plants alive. The plant in question is currently not doing well. I think I am killing it because I do not know how to properly take care of it and I have no idea what it is so I cannot look it up. I'm hoping you can help me without a picture. It has a trunk that is about the size of 20oz. pop bottle around. It looks like a small palm tree. The trunk is a gray/whitish color and is sort of scaly. The leaves are only at the top. They go from the trunk/stem out towards the side and then sag downward. The leaves are pointy. Like I said the whole thing sort of resembles a small palm tree. I believe the name of it had the word 'elephant' in it but I'm not positive. Can u help me?

ANSWER: Hello Megan,

Sorry, I messed up the links to the yucca pics. They should be working now.

With the description you gave i can think of three possible matches off the top of my head.

It could be some type of Ponytail Palm. Ponytail palms are sometimes called Elephants foot because of the way the trunks swell at the base.




Yucca elephantipes isn't really a palm but is sometimes mistaken for one. Again, it matches your description and has elephant in the name.



It could also be a type of dracaena.




Check out the photos and see if any of those look like your plant. Once you ID it i can provide you with detailed instructions for care. If none of these are your plant let me know and i'll gladly continue the search.

Good Luck,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Justin,
Oops. I accidentally sent my message on the rating site. I don't know if you get that information so I will write it again. You found MY PLANT! It is the yucca elephantipes. However when I try to search yucca elephantipes all the plants I find do not look like my plant. The one you sent me looks EXACTLY like mine. Is there a specific name for mine. Also, can you give me any information as how to take care of it properly like, how much water, sunlight etc. Apparantly I haven't been giving it the correct amount of whatever it needs. Any help would be great! Thanks alot!


Hello again,

Yucca elephantipes is the latin name of this plant.
(Genus)   (Species)

You might have better luck using the common name, Spineless Yucca when looking for pics.

The amount of water this plant gets depends on the amount of light it gets. It can do fine in direct sun or partial shade. It is very resistant to drought so most of your problems will come from over watering. In the summer when its getting plenty of light you'll want to let the top 2-4 inches of soil get dry before watering. In the winter let the soil dry to about halfway down the pot before watering. A trick here is to take a wooden chopstick or dowel rod (unvarnished) and leave it in the soil to use like a dip stick to check when the moisture is at the right level. Also, when watering make sure that the pot doesn't sit in the water that seeps out of the bottom. If the bottom of the pot sits in water it can cause root rot.
This is a tropical plant so it should stay above 40 degrees. Yuccas are a little more frost resistant than most so you have some room to play with.
I hope this helps.

Good Luck,

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