Yuccas are presently one of the trendiest plants around. Drive past any strikingly modern home and chances are you’ll see a yucca plant through the window or somewhere in the architecturally planned garden. But you don’t have to be on the upper rungs of the real estate market to enjoy these tropical plants, they look great in almost any setting. Learn all about yucca care in this How To guide.
Needles, Daggers, Bayonets
The yucca most commonly available as an indoor plant in New Zealand is the Yucca Elephantipes. Known variously as the Spineless Yucca, Spanish Dagger, Adam’s Needle, Spanish Bayonet and Soapweed yuccas are hardy perennials that generally range from 30 cm to 2.5 meters in height. They have thick woody stems that bear, at their upper ends, clusters of long, dark-green, spear-shaped leaves.
Yucca – a Plant With a History
During late spring and summer, yuccas may produce dramatic clusters of white, bell-shaped flowers. So striking are these flowers that early settlers of the south-western United States called them “Lamparas de Dios” or “Lanterns of God”. Pollination and proper yucca care are necessary for the formation of these flowers on indoor plants.
A member of the Agavae family, the yucca is closely related to the lily and has its origins in Mexico and Central America where it was prized by indigenous peoples for the medicinal and nutritional properties of the yucca flower. North American natives, too, found the plant useful, using it to make clothing and soap (yucca roots are rich in saponins).
Caring for Your Yucca
If you want a houseplant that will grow in most conditions and which requires minimal care, you won’t go far wrong with a yucca – in fact the plant is so hardy it is sometimes called the “No Water Plant”.
Yucca plants fare best in bright light situations. Indoor yuccas should therefore be placed near windows to take advantage of natural light.
Yuccas like sandy, well-drained soil. Use an appropriate potting mix and place a 5 cm layer of pebbles in the bottom of the pot for optimum yucca care. Do not put a catcher or plate under your yucca’s pot. Waterlogged roots are one of the most common killers of this plant.
Though yuccas are almost set-and-forget houseplants, they will benefit from a dose of fertiliser two or three times a year.
Watering Your Yucca
The single most important element of good yucca care is watering. Yucca’s like to be reasonably dry and suffer badly from over watering. Water about once every ten days. You can tell when it’s time to water by checking the soil – it should be dry down to a depth of about 2.5 cm.
Indications of poor yucca care due to watering are:
- Leaves show brown tips surrounded by a yellow halo – too much water.
- Leaves turn yellow or brown all over – too little water.
Happily, yuccas are resistant to most pests. Probably the worst thing you’ll find is an infestation of scale or mealy bug. If this occurs, just spray the plant with a solution of dishwashing liquid and water. If that doesn’t do the trick use a commercial insecticide like Neem Oil.
Generally, yucca care doesn’t involve pruning the leaves of your yucca plant, but you may want to prune in two other ways.
The flower stalk: this may be pruned away from the plant after (or even before) the flower has finished blooming. Use pruning shears to cut it about 10 cm above the stalk-base.
The plant itself: yuccas can grow quite tall and in a houseplant this may present a problem for the average homeowner. The solution is simple, but drastic:
- Remove the yucca from its pot.
- Use a saw to cut the plant in half – the cut should be made mid-way between the start of the trunk and the first leaf cluster.
- Re-pot the bottom half of the trunk (the root end) and water well.
- Place the re-potted trunk in a well-lit position.
Though it might feel like you’ve just killed your yucca, the plant will actually recover and begin to sprout new leaves.
A New Plant Free
You can grow yourself a whole new plant for nothing after the above pruning process. Just take the discarded leaf end of the trunk, saw off the top of the trunk just below where the leaves begin and pot with the old leaf end pointed upwards.
The Easiest of Houseplants
As long as you apply the principles of good yucca care (water sparingly, plenty of light, feed occasionally) your yucca plant will give you years of enjoyment for minimal effort, whether you live in a trendy house or not.
Pan de Yuca
Pan de yuca is a savory cheese bread recipe using yuca flour instead of wheat flour. This bread has a biscuit quality and is traditionally baked in half moon shapes, but you can bake them into round biscuit shapes, too. With the use of gluten-free baking powder, yuca bread is a great substitute for biscuits made with wheat flour. Yuca flour is also called tapioca starch.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 10 each
- 1/2 cup yuca flour
- 1/2 lb. shredded Hispanic fresh white cheese (subsitute: mozzarella)
- 1 egg (lightly beaten)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- salt to taste
- water to moisten dough if necessary
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Grease a baking sheet
- In a mixing bowl, combine the yuca flour, cheese, egg, baking powder, and salt.
- Knead the dough until it is completely mixed. If the dough is dry and crumbles, add about a tablespoon of water at a time until dough holds together.
- Separate the dough into approximately ten equal parts. Shape each part into a half moon shape or ball.
- Place the dough about 2 inches apart on the greased baking pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes. The bread should be golden when ready.
- Serve warm
Receta dePastelón de yuca relleno de bacalao
Descripción de la receta Pastelón de yuca relleno de bacalao
Para este pastelón utilizaremos yuca o mandioca y el bacalao como ingredientes principales, pero también mayonesa, huevo, queso rallado o salsa de tomate.
¿Qué ingredientes necesito para preparar .. Pastelón de yuca relleno de bacalao?
- 2 Kg. de yuca
- 1/2 taza de mayonesa
- 1 lata de leche evaporada
- 2 cucharadas de margarina
- 2 huevos
- 1/2 taza de queso rallado o parmesano
- 1/4 cucharadita de anís en grano
- 1 cucharada de sal
- 3 cucharadas de aceite
- 250 gr. de bacalao
- 1 cebolla picadita
- 1 pimiento verde en tiritas
- 2 tomates pequeños
- 1 cucharadita de jugo de limón
- 1 cucharada de salsa tomate condimentada
- 1 cucharada de perejil
- 3 l. de agua
- Aceitunas negras sin hueso
¿Cómo se prepara Pastelón de yuca relleno de bacalao?
El día antes de hacer este plato, desale el bacalao cambiando 2-3 veces el agua.
Pele, parta, lave y ponga a hervir la yuca en 3 litros de agua con la cucharada de sal.
Una vez cocida, tritúrala con un tenedor, un pasapurés o una máquina de moler carne. Añada la leche evaporada, la mayonesa, la margarina, el anís, los huevos batidos y la mitad del queso rallado. Reserve.
Desmenuce el bacalao y sazone con un sofrito de cebolla, aceite, pimiento, limón, perejil, tomates picaditos y la salsa condimentada.
Ponga la mitad de la yuca en un pyrex o fuente para el horno engrasada. Tápela con el bacalao y de nuevo con la yuca. Lleve al horno a 190-200 ºC, durante 20 minutos. Espolvoree con el resto del queso rallado y, si quieres que quede doradito, mételo de nuevo en el horno, si no, deja que se derrita con el calor del pastelón.
Adorne con tiritas de pimiento rojo y aceitunas rellenas cortadas en rueditas.
Foto Neil V M
Nota del autor
Esta es una receta caribeña con mucho sabor. por lo que es ideal acompañarla con una rica ensalada verde de tu preferencia, aunque yo te recomiendo una ensalada de lechuga repollada con repollo morado, pepino y tomates picados, aderezada con vinagre, aceite de oliva y un poco de pimienta.