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 Cacti and Succulents Questions

When should cochineal bugs be on prickly pear cactus?
January 05, 2012 - I am a fibers artist that would like to harvest the cochineal bugs from the prickly pear cactus. I would like to know what time of year should I expect to find the cochineal bugs around the Austin ar...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Agave suckers
November 18, 2014 - I'm trying to transplant Dragon Toes Agave suckers. Is this similar to other agave pup transplants?
view the full question and answer

Bloom stalks on agave plants
September 26, 2007 - Hi, We have Agave plants in our garden for years. But in the past few weeks, we noticed a giant asparagus looking thing growing out in the middle of the plants. We don't know what it is, but every d...
view the full question and answer

Soil for Agave americana
March 20, 2007 - Can you give me some information on soil admendments for growing Agave (Century Plant)? I kept it in a pot during the winter and now I am ready to plant it in my beds
view the full question and answer

Winter care of succulents from Bethlehem PA
September 09, 2012 - We live in the northeast and we used succulents on our deck this summer because nothing else would survive the intense heat. How can I save these beautiful plants through a cold winter? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

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