Yuccas often take their gardening lumps for being too "spiny" or too "invasive" or too dangerous to work around or any number of other things. But the truth is, when you're gardening in a cold climate and you need a tough, evergreen plant that adds great architecture to your landscape, the yucca is your friend. Its bold form and striking flowers are useful and beautiful accents. Also, yuccas grow well in tight, dry, sloped spots or small areas where pavement reflects heat and not much else will grow.
Yuccas prefer full sun and well-drained soil, but they'll grow almost anywhere. Sometimes you'll even spot them growing in the shady edges of the woods, but the more sun they have, the better they'll grow and flower. They'll also tolerate almost any kind of soil, from lean, sandy soils to heavy clay and most everything in between. Given the chance in good soil, they will flourish and grow into some of the most beautiful and sculptural plants in your landscape.
There are several kinds of yucca that will grow well in colder climates. The most common is one called Yucca filamentosa. It has filaments, or hairs, along the edges of its leaves. Also, it's tough, hardy, nearly indestructible, and comes in several beautiful forms. Look for varieties called 'Bright Edge', which is green with a yellow edge on each leaf; 'Variegata', green with a creamy white edge on the leaf; or the spectacular 'Color Guard', the golden yellow leaves of which are edged in green and take on shades of pink in winter.