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Mystery plant  
My mom gave me this plant but wasn't exactly sure what it is. I'm slowly killing it, but I don't know why. She says it needs little water and not much sun. Help!

Hi Jessica,

Your plant is a Yucca elephantipes. Your mom is partially correct. It does prefer to stay dry, but it does better very close to a sunny window that is completely uncovered throughout the daylight hours.

I recommend watering it only when the top inch of soil, feels very dry. Do not repot it and fertilize very sparingly or not at all.

The stems are leggy because the plant adds new growth at the tops of each stem while losing lower leaves when not getting enough light. I suggest that you cut the tallest stem back to about 3 inches above the soil. New growth will slowly emerge on that stem just below where you make the cut. The top cutting can be rooted in water or discarded. This process can be repeated again with the other stems at any time.

I have written detailed articles on pruning and on Yucca care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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