San Marcos GrowersSan Marcos Growers
New User?
Wholesale Login
Enter Password
Home Products Purchase Gardens About Us Resources Contact Us
 Web Site Search
Plant Database
Search by Plant Name
  General Plant Info
Search for any word
  Advanced Search >>
Search by size, origins,
color, cultural needs, etc.
Site Map
Retail Locator
Plant Listings


 Weather Station

Products > Yucca rostrata 'Sapphire Skies'
Yucca rostrata 'Sapphire Skies' - Big Bend Yucca

This listing for information only - We no longer grow this plant  

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Agavaceae (Agaves)
Origin: Southwest (U.S.) (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 12-16 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10 F
Yucca rostrata 'Sapphire Skies' (Big Bend Yucca) - A beautiful blue-gray selection of the slow-growing tree-like yucca with upright stems and beautiful gray-blue narrow foliage. Although it can branch, it is most often seen with a single trunk, that can grow to 12-15 feet tall. The 2 foot long, stiff, slightly waxy, pale bluish-green leaves with yellow margins, form a dense rosette on top of the stems. The old leaves fall off leaving a fibrous soft gray covering on the trunk. Large clusters of white flowers bloom on yellow-orange colored stalks that rise above the foliage on mature plants in late spring. It performs best in warm sunny areas with good drainage and occasional to infrequent summer irrigation. It is noted as preferring alkaline conditions and is hardy to around 0F. We have found that gophers are fond of this plant and will tunnel right up the stem - must be yummy! This seedling selection was made by Sean Hogan of Cistus Nursery in Oregon from one of his collections in the early 1990's in northern Mexico - it was selected out of a seed batch of stunning blue-leaved plants. The species naturally inhabits western Texas and northern Mexico in the states of Chihuahua and Coahuila where is can be found on rocky slopes and ridges. The specific epithet 'rostrata' means "beaked" in reference to either the shape of the flower buds or appendages on the fruit. This has given this plant the common name of Beaked Yucca but it is also called Silver Yucca or Big Bend yucca for the region in Texas where it is commonly found. The indigenous people of this area also called it Soyate and Palmita. We first learned this as Adam's Yucca for an enterprising nurseryman in Texas who was shipping specimen size plants bare root into California, many of which ended up gracing the front of high-end stores such as Nordstrum's, giving rise to another common name of Nordstrum's Yucca. It is sometimes confused with Yucca rigida which has stiffer leaves that are more bowed in cross section compared to the flat leaves of Yucca rostrata. Though the tip of this plant is fairly sharp the lack of stiffness in the leaves makes this plant less dangerous than most others of the genus. One person, offering a test in a succulent forum, jokingly noted that one way to tell the difference between Yucca rostrata and the similar Yucca rigida was to hold your hand a few inches away from the leaves and shove hard towards the leaf; if the leaf went through your hand it was Y. rigida, if not it was likely Y. rostrata. The name Yucca was given to the genus by Linnaeus, perhaps by mistake, as it is the Latinized derivation of "yuca", the Caribbean name for Cassava (Manihot esculenta) an unrelated plant in the Euphorbia family that is native to the Caribbean area. Interestingly it was also Linnaeus who applied the name Manihot to Yuca.  This description is based on research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We also try to incorporate comments received from others and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Yucca rostrata 'Sapphire Skies'.