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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.

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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).

 

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