Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - September 07, 2007

From: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Trimmng and fertilizing yucca
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Should I cut the stalks of the Yucca that have already bloomed or wait until they dry? How often should I fertilize?

ANSWER:

Preparing to answer your question, we queried the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Database on "yucca" and got 25 possibilities. So, we don't know which yucca you are growing, but the answers to your questions are pretty generic, and we picked a couple for demonstration. Hesperaloe parviflora (redflower false yucca) and Yucca faxoniana (Eve's needle). Both are native to Texas and are frequently seen in landscaping in your area. Hesperaloe parviflora is not even a true yucca, but a member of the Lily Family. Yucca faxoniana is often seen growing wild on rocky hillsides and is a member of the Century Plant Family. We always think it is a good idea to clip off stalks of plants after they have flowered. This helps to cut down on litter and possible insect or disease damage. The problem there, of course, is getting close enough to them to clip those stalks; we hope you have some leather gloves and long-handled lopping shears. In regard to your second question about fertilizing yucca, one of the beauties of native plants is they seldom or never need fertilizing. They have been growing and flourishing in sometimes inhospitable environments for many thousands of years without the intervention of gardeners armed with hoses and sprays. If the plant is in a flower bed or border and you are throwing a little timed-release fertilizer in there, it certainly won't hurt the yuccas. Just remember, the faster those yuccas grow, the longer and more lethal those dagger-like leaves are going to be.

 

From the Image Gallery


Red yucca
Hesperaloe parviflora

Faxon yucca
Yucca faxoniana

More Pruning Questions

Pruning Roughleaf dogwood
November 28, 2013 - We put 5 rough-leaf dogwoods along our side deck; having been told (by the local, natural plant seller) that they would reach a maximum height of 6 feet. They have grown taller than that (despite som...
view the full question and answer

Perennial summer blooming plant for Livonia, MI
May 22, 2009 - I want to find a plant that I can cut back in the fall, will come back in the spring, flower throughout the summer, be a medium size plant, no taller than 48", about 36" in diameter. It would get f...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming Texas Mountain Laurel
March 30, 2008 - Two questions: 1. My mountain laurel (10 yrs old) has never had blooms. Is this a gender plant issue? 2. I have been seeking a groundcover that grows in shade and will take foot (dog) traffic. ...
view the full question and answer

Care for lantana in Katy TX
December 04, 2010 - Hello. I live in Katy TX and have a number of Lantana shrubs. How and when should they be cut back?
view the full question and answer

When to prune Texas betony (Stachys coccinea)
May 28, 2007 - I bought Texas Betony plants several years ago at Wildflower Days. They are thriving, but a bit leggy. Somewhere I read that they should be cut back several times during the year. Now I can't find...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.