En Español

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
2 ratings

Friday - March 13, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Pruning
Title: Controlling size of red yucca in Austin
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe

QUESTION:

I have planted red yucca in my backyard, which produces many flowering stalks for the past few years. These red yucca are becoming too large for the area that are planted in. What recommendations do you have for maintaining the size of these gorgeous plants? Can I prune or shear off some of the "ever-green foliage" of the red yucca.

ANSWER:

Hesperaloe parviflora (redflower false yucca) is a real workhorse plant for Austin landscapes. Its long-lasting and attractive blooms, wildlife value, easy-care nature and suitability to our climate and soils make it very desirable in our landscapes. Over time, as you have experienced, the clumps expand and become denser. Far from being a problem, this is an opportunity. These clumps are easily divided and the excess pieces can be moved to other sites, potted up, or given to your budding gardener friends. This solution is preferable to chopping away foliage, which can leave the plant with an unkempt look. 

To divide-a task best done in fall or winter before new growth starts-take a close look at your plant. You should be able to see where the clump has formed new offsets as it grew. These can be dug away with a sharp spade. Each offset will produce a new plant. If more drastic size reduction is necessary, you can dig out the root clump and divide the whole thing. This site, Grow'em Plant Propagation Database, Clump Division, is a good visual of the process. It should be noted that the visuals are of a daylily, Hemerocallis, while the Red Yucca, not a yucca at all nor a daylily, is a member of the Agavaceae (Century Plant) family. Dividing an overcrowded plant gives it growing room again.


Hesperaloe parviflora

Hesperaloe parviflora

Hesperaloe parviflora

Hesperaloe parviflora

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Hollies not retaining leaves in Tulsa
August 10, 2008 - I have Little Red Hollies that have lost their leaves, some areas being bald. They are also not full - you can see through them. These were planted in this condition Spring of '08 and have been wat...
view the full question and answer

Male pollinator to produce berries on Juniperus virginiana from Amston CT
November 08, 2012 - We have planted 3 juniperus virginiana 'Glauca' (on our Connecticut property) that have a few blue berries on them. Will they need a male pollinator to make berries? We do not have other juniperus...
view the full question and answer

Time of year to plant Tecoma stans
December 16, 2007 - I wanted to know when the best time to plant the Esperanza flower (Tecoma stans) was. The information on the website did not give planting dates or soil conditions for this plant. Can you please help?...
view the full question and answer

Grafting different colors of Tecoma from Casa Grand AZ
April 01, 2014 - Is it possible to graft different colors of tecoma and if yes, is the process same as process for grafting roses?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a Dutchman's pipe in Beaverton MI
June 10, 2010 - When can I transplant a full grown dutchmans pipe plant? It is growing along side of the house and it needs a bigger place to grow. This is June and the plant is in full bloom full of pipes, but need...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center