En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
4 ratings

Sunday - June 08, 2008

From: Spring, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Cacti and Succulents
Title: What to do with bloom stalk on yucca
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Six years ago, I dug up two small narrow-leaf yuccas from a deer lease outside of Junction, Texas. I planted them in a raised bed in my yard and the smaller of the two survived and grew. To my surprise, this spring, it bloomed! Now that the stem is done blooming, what do I do with it. Do I trim it off down near the base? How often will they bloom?

ANSWER:

The raised bed for Yucca angustissima (narrowleaf yucca) was a very good idea, especially in Spring, where you are going to get more natural moisture than the native area for this plant, which is the desert areas of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. The fact that the plant prospered and bloomed indicates you have put it in well-draining soil, and not let water rest on its roots. The Narrowleaf Yucca is a member of the Agavaceae or Agave Family but, fortunately, unlike the Century Plants in that family, does not die after it has bloomed once. However, as soon as the blooms have faded, it is a good idea to cut off that bloom stalk as far down on the stalk as you can reach without getting stabbed in the stomach. This is not only because it is pretty unsightly, but because you don't want to waste the energy of the plant on creating seeds. Expect the stalk to be pretty tough to cut, and also heavy from the seed pods. The yuccas ordinarily bloom from April to June, and will sometimes put up more than one bloom stalk, especially in a coddled situation such as yours have. Long-handled lopping shears, heavy leather gloves, and protective, heavy clothing are the order of the day. Those leaf-tips are SHARP, and their job is to protect predators from nibbling on or lopping off their precious seeds, their key to survival of the species. Because we have only one image of this plant in our Image Gallery, here is a page of pictures of the Yucca angustissima (narrowleaf yucca).

 

More Pruning Questions

Transplanting and Pruning Callicarpa
August 21, 2014 - I saw the previous question about Callicarpa from the guy in Texas and I have two questions based on the response. In SW Vermont, is late fall still the best time to transplant my Callicarpas? Also, i...
view the full question and answer

Care of poppy plants
July 10, 2013 - I bought a tiny poppy grow kit at Target for 99 cents. Amazingly, they have grown into numerous large and very healthy plants, though they don't all appear to be the same species. Some have grown to ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning pink skullcap and rock daisy from Austin
February 06, 2013 - I have some pink skullcap and rock daisy and other plants in my yard that never entirely die back over the winter. Can you tell me what kind of pruning is appropriate? How far can/should I cut them ...
view the full question and answer

Brown leaves on possumhaw holly in Grandview TX
July 02, 2009 - What would be likely causes for brown leaves on possumhaw holly? We have 2, one was planted in spring 2008, and a slightly larger one planted late winter/early spring this year. Most of the leaves a...
view the full question and answer

Survival of yucca plant mowed down in Oklahoma
April 15, 2009 - I have a yucca plant that came from a very old plant of my late father, and had transplanted it 6 years ago and it came back every year and bloomed. This morning I went outside and noticed my husband...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center