Adam's needle's spiky leaves add texture to the garden.

How to Transplant Adam's Needle Yucca

by Robert W. Lewis

Adam's needle (Yucca filamentosa) makes a nice accent in the landscape with its tough, spiky leaves and its tall, candelabra-like flowers. Growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9, Adam's needle is such a sturdy plant that it requires little care once established. If you have a new Adam's needle that needs to be transplanted, or if you want to relocate an established specimen, you'll find the task fairly straightforward.

New Plants

Dig a hole in a sunny spot as deep as and 1 1/2 times as wide as the plant's container.

Amend the soil with garden compost or finely shredded bark, which will improve drainage. Adam's needle must be planted in well-drained soil. The resulting soil should have about one-third new material.

Turn the pot upside down and gently tap the plant free. Place the root ball in the hole and back fill with the amended soil. Water thoroughly to settle the new plant into the planting hole. Add more amended soil, if needed.

Mulch with 1 or 2 inches of shredded bark to conserve moisture and protect the roots from sun damage. Water during the first season or until the roots have established.

Established Plants

Dig a circle 12 to 18 inches around an existing yucca. Rock the root ball back and forth with your garden shovel or fork to free it from the soil.

Remove old and tired plant sections by snapping them free or cutting them from the clump. Healthy side shoots -- or pups -- can be planted individually, if desired.

Place the Adam's needle section in a hole that is as deep as and 1 1/2 times as wide as the root ball.

Back fill the hole with amended soil and water to settle the plant in its new home. Add more amended soil, if needed, and mulch.

Water a relocated plant throughout the first season. Because the roots have been cut, the plant is prone to drought damage.

Items you will need

  • Garden shovel
  • Garden fork (optional)
  • Handheld pruners
  • Garden compost or finely shredded bark


  • As with most perennials, spring and early fall are the best times to transplant Adam's needle.
  • Plant new pups by stripping the leaves from the bottom 8 to 12 inches. Plant them in amended soil just deep enough to cover the stem. Water throughout the first season like you would a transplant.
  • Disinfect pruning blades with rubbing alcohol before and after each project to prevent the spread of plant pathogens.


  • Wear long sleeves and heavy-duty garden gloves to minimize stabs from the sharp needles.
  • Keep kids and pets from being stuck by the needles by choosing a planting site away from walkways and play areas.

About the Author

Robert Lewis has been writing do-it-yourself and garden-related articles since 2000. He holds a B.A. in history from the University of Maryland and has training experience in finance, garden center retailing and teaching English as a second language. Lewis is an antiques dealer specializing in Chinese and Japanese export porcelain.

Photo Credits

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