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

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

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

Trimming of turkscap
November 16, 2009 - I have a Mexican Turk's cap, it is in its second year of growth and is doing well. However, I feel a need to prune it? do I need to?
view the full question and answer

Pruning live oak shoots from San Antonio
September 10, 2011 - I am new to TX and am curious about removing suckers/water sprouts from my Live Oaks. Everything I've read about pruning Live Oaks states that you must paint ALL cuts, so I assume that all means al...
view the full question and answer

How to Prune a Mountain Laurel to make it more tree like in Hendersen, NV
April 28, 2011 - How do I prune a Texas Mountain Laurel into a tree? Just bought a 15 gal. with two trunks above the crown. Was told that multiple trunks are their natural growth, which is OK. But all research call...
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