Yucca filamentosa or ‘Adam’s Needle’ is a tropical looking plant with sword-like, succulent foliage surrounding clusters of bell-shaped flowers on tall spikes. Adam’s needle looks a little like a small palm but is actually more closely related to the lilies. The evergreen leaves of Adam’s needle are straplike, about 1 in (2.5 cm) wide and up to 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) long. The leaves are basal; that is, they all originate from one point, taking the form of a rosette. The margins of the leaves are decorated with long curly threads or “filaments” that peel back as the leaf grows, eventually dropping off on older leaves. This is a good border or accent plant providing a year-round focal point. The inflorescence is very showy and borne on an erect spike up to 12 ft (3.7 m) high (taller in warm climates, shorter where winters are cold). There are up to several dozen individual flowers on an inflorescence, they are white and about 2 in (5 cm) long. The plant dies after flowering and fruiting but produces lateral buds that start new plants around the edges of the original.
Use in mixed borders and natural areas. It is excellent in rock gardens and as an accent among other perennials. Yuccas are very drought tolerant and do well in an outdoor container even without supplementary irrigation. Combine with agaves, grasses, cactus, and palms to create low maintenance landscapes of interesting textures and forms.