Yuccas, Often Misunderstood and Hated AND The Rule of Odd Numbers Broken Down and Trampled

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This is a weird article I rolled a lot of concepts into this one. Stick with it, read the whole thing and you may benefit. I wish someone would have written this article 15 years ago when I started doing design. We will feature the Yucca “Sapphire Skies” as our plant to work with and feature as the Plant of the Month or at least for this edition of the blog.

Yuccas fall into the often hated and misunderstood group of hardy garden plants. Many times the problem is they are just put in the ground with little thought given to landscape design.

‘Sapphire Skies’ is a cultivar I started growing about 5 years ago at this point. I started growing it based on some fascinating pictures I saw of its striking powder blue foliage. If the trap is set I will fall into it every time.

There are a few ways to use this plant effectively. First, pottery and trough gardens are great places to put these plants. Try an orange pot with Sapphire Skies for instance. Blue and orange, a little signature move I pull in a design here and there to distinguish myself from all the pastel princesses out there.

Second, in the front of the border. There are a few spots in the front of our gardens where I have either put a group of three or five yuccas. If the border is made up of really round indigenous rocks and boulders like mine, in my opinion it will look great. The round rocks and the pointy foliage look like something you might see in Utah, rugged! Kind of cool when you are kicking it in Indiana.

We will switch gears now. Four Yuccas could work well too. This is where we are going to go out there with an important design concept. Here’s the deal. Everyone who is a beginner or a know it all at landscape design always says , “Always landscape in odd numbers”. Many times this is some stuff a “garden authority figure” on t.v. runs on the unassuming gardening public and the information spreads like a bad cold. The public has ran with the odd number rule for years because of these “authority figures”. I ran with the odd number concept for a long time myself. I lived and breathed odd numbers.

Once in awhile the dimensions you are dealing with do not accommodate three or five. If it’s a four spot do not force the fifth one in or just go with three. If you go with three things can end up looking thin and you have just given evil weeds room to grow. If you go with 5 it may end up throwing the scale and proportion of the assortment of all the plants in the garden out of whack.

Oh my gosh, what do you do?? You go with the weird four number. When you get to the next grouping of plants you are going to plant you do a odd number like three so your group of four blue Yuccas with your group of 3 Asclepias (which are orange) equals seven. You can even throw in 2 basketball size boulders so you have a total of nine.

This is an example of how to pull off a real natural looking landscape. The key in my opinion is if you can plant them in such a way that it looks like God or Mother Nature sprinkled them there himself or herself then you are on the right track.

At this point in time with my style I am trying to plant things in such a way that they do not look like a landscape architects designed the garden.

In regards to the Yuccas- the plants are still in the same 1 gal pots I started them out in 5 years ago. However, I am going to repot them sometime in the near future. Think about adding an even number of these very misunderstood and scorned Yuccas to your garden before the price reflects the shift in pot size. If you purchase them you can take shipment or pick up as late as May 1.

If you have an interesting design idea for Yuccas please share it with us.

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Thanks for reading, Shawn

We couldn't be happier with the landscaping they designed and installed!

» Kevin from Warsaw