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 Cacti and Succulents Questions

Reasons to leave a century plant in place in Florida
November 01, 2010 - Can you please list ALL the reasons to leave a century plant (as opposed to cutting it way back or removing it) in the wilds of the sand dunes on the coast of Florida, other than its prominent beauty?
view the full question and answer

Will the blooming stalk of my century plant eventually tip over? Yes
June 24, 2009 - I have a century plant in bloom. Will the stalk eventually tip over? Would appreciate any Internet references on the subject.
view the full question and answer

Does the tip of the agave contain poison from Denham Spring LA
December 02, 2009 - I bent over to pick something up and got stabbed in the head with the point of a agave plant. It is about 15 years old and I measured the point-it is right at an inch long. My head did bleed and it bu...
view the full question and answer

Source for Century Plant in Wilmington NC
June 24, 2012 - Where can I buy a Century plant in the Wilmington NC area?
view the full question and answer

Source for DNA sequencing of Opuntia species
March 04, 2014 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I am trying to do a Opuntia speciation study, and rather just identifying the species by morphological comparison, I would also like to go a little deeper by comparing the DNA...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center