Yucca brevifolia (Joshua Tree) in midwest?

toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)June 22, 2009

I stay in Zone 6 St. Louis and starting with more typical bush like yuccas then Opuntia (Prickly Pear Cactus) I have a desert gardening area going in my yard where some fill dirt and Honeysuckle "ruined" the soil.

Any one have any experience growing Yucca brevifolia (Joshua Trees) in an area that might see 40 inches of rain a year?

As far as soil preparation goes I'm a minimalist. The 20 x 10 spot is along my driveway near the midway point of a long gentle hill. I've blocked off most of the water coming from up the hill with landscaping and have allowed the area to continue draining well.

Thanks for any help. Even a 3 foot tall Joshua Tree will make my Bradford Pear growing friends notice!

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Not a chance ... they are very rot-prone.

And St. Louis is too cold in the winter for long periods.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 5:24PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)


Any ideas on the most desert like plant I can expect to try in St. Louis?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 12:27AM
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Agree on the joshua tree. They rot here in Albuquerque even sometimes. No chance in MO.

You should try yucca schotti (available at Yucca-Do nursery).

Yucca baccatta may make it. High country gardens (not my favorite vendor) has Mora, county NM ecotypes that see temps colder than St. Louis and may seen even more snow. The Moreno valley is the coldest in NM - they saw -40 twice 2 years back further up in Angel Fire. Angel Fire, NM nearby was the coldest place in the nation a couple of weeks ago (in June!). They also have some cacti from Taos, NM that may make it.

There are native MO yuccas and cacti. Do a web search. You have some right in your backyard! They can probably take your wet if you duplicate their MO environment.

Opuntia imbracatta also may be worth a shot. Find CO seed or plants.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 1:48AM
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Yucca recurvifolia and Y. filamentosa would likely grow well in St. Louis. They can take cold and more water than most Western species. The key in your area is sandy soil or sandy loam. Try Plant Delights nursery online -- they are in Raleigh, NC which is zone 7B. You may find these two species in big box stores in your araea as well. Yucca Do Nursery (also online) in South TX is also a good source. Raised beds with good draining soil is key for your area. Yucca Do has some suggestions along those lines. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 11:08PM
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