I want to plant a yucca in a container that will stay outdoors all winter. Can I use regular container potting soil? If not, what type should I use?
Container gardening for perennials and small ornamental shrubs is growing in popularity, but not without problems. The greatest challenge is overwintering. In winter, the temperature of the soil in the ground stays much warmer than the temperature of the air. In some cases, up to 40 degrees different. The problem with container gardening is that the roots of the plant are elevated above the warm earth, and the cold air quickly drops the temperature of the soil in the container below what happens naturally in the ground. This usually kills the roots of the plant and leads to a disappointing spring.
Yucca has been designated as a zone 4 plant, or able to withstand a low temperature of -20 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit if planted in the ground. If planted in an above ground container, the roots will most likely die if the soil temperature drops below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. To be successful, controlling the temperature of the root zone is the key. Even if plants are in the ground, soil temperature is still important. That is why so many gardeners swear by a good overwintering mulch. The mulch helps insulate the ground from extreme temperature changes, especially those cold January nights.
Regular container potting soil would be recommended. Be sure to fertilize as needed.