My Yucca has been drooping consistently for about a year now. I don’t believe I’ve over or under watered it. Is it getting too much sun and I should move it somewhere else?

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    Does it have drainage / hole in pot ? May 26, 2023 at 19:35

1 Answer 1


I have left it a few days before providing any helpful advice, but you have been asked by @blacksmith37 if this pot has any drainage holes in it.

As far as I can see, this large plant has been potted directly into the lovely ceramic pot which, since it is standing on a oak floor suggests it does NOT have any drainage in it.

For such a large plant to thrive, it requires as much healthy root mass as the shoot mass and very clearly, it is struggling, which leads me to believe with almost 95% certainty that the root system has been compromised, most likely due to the lack of drainage and ultimate waterlogging.

Waterlogging in a sealed pot is inevitable and I would strongly advise you yo take this plant outside and lay it carefully on its side and remove ALL the substrate checking it for texture, moisture and above all else smell.

Once you have remove most of the substrate using your fingers (please wear rubber gloves) with an old kitchen fork riddle away any trapped substrate and then hose down all the roots to remove all of the substrate.

If you could then take a picture of this, we can advise you more accurately, though my suspicion is that the plant has had or is still suffering from root rot. Most healthy plant roots are white or orange in colour and are either woody or wiry in texture and include a mixture of large and small roots.

My suspicion is that you will find mushy black roots with a putrid smell. If that is the case, you need to get a clean sterile pair of scissors or sharp blade and remove ALL the black material, cutting at least 1/2 ins (13mm) into the firm white/orange root tissue ahead of the mushy roots which have root rot.

Root rot occurs in 99% of cases due to overwatering and waterlogging.

If you have found and removed rotted roots, you must rinse the entire roots under running water away from the infected tissue and substrate. The pot must be scrubbed and sterilised with bleach and hot water for at least 30 minutes and then rinsed with fresh water and left to dry for 24 hours.

You should then obtain an inner plastic pot with loads of drainage holes that is between 1 to 2 ins (25-50mm) in diameter narrower than the outer pot. This will give the inner pot more aeration.

Next, make up or obtain some gritty, well draining cactus-type substrate and fill the pot 1/3 of the way up. Then, lay the plant roots on top of this layer and slowly pour in more substrate, riddling the substrate in between the roots with a chopstick to ensure substrate becomes in contact with the roots but it allows for better aeration - aerobic substrate is vital to enable lots of air/oxygen to get to the roots to combat root rot pathogens. Repeat until the plant root structure is covered in substrate which should be airy and not compressed.

Stand the pot and plant back up making sure it is nowhere near the infected substrate. Put rotten roots in the trash bin. You can put the infected substrate on your garden since in the sun and air, it will sterilise it, but insufficiently for it to be used in a container again.

Since the root structure has been compromised, it will not for now be able to support the existing shoot structure. Consider taking cuttings of the plant top sections to not only alleviate the pressure on the roots but provide a rescue option for this plant. This is easy to do but is beyond what I can cover in this already long explanation.

The alternative is to remove 50% of the leaf structure starting with the oldest leaves closest to the floor.

Do NOT water this plant for the next 2 weeks and treat it as you would an old aunt who has just had a hip replacement - keep it inside in semi shade.

After 2 weeks you can water the plant from the top or bottom but after 15 minutes, you MUST lift the inner pot out from the outer cover/cache pot and discard any excess water that has drained out. Check again 30 minutes after watering and discard any water drained out, so it is not standing in water.

Water the plant actively every 2 weeks but ONLY if when you poke a chopstick down into the substrate as far as it can go and it comes out dry with no substrate stuck to it. If it is wet or sticky with substrate defer the watering for another 4 days and check again.

6 weeks after repotting you can take your plant out of intensive care and cautiously reintroduce it to more sunlight. If it is still summer where you are by then, it could stay outside in semi-shade and be watered more frequently, with NO outer pot necessary outdoors.

This process may seem long and arduous, but it does work.

Even if you do not find root rot, you MUST follow all the steps above with regards to an inner pot and new substrate since you need to give your roots the equivalent of what to us is high thread count Egyptian Cotton bedlinen to be cossetted back to health.

Good luck.

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