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
1 rating

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 Pruning Questions

Rose care for Austin
August 18, 2013 - I am a transplant from the Pacific NW and need to relearn rose care for Austin. When is the best time to cut back the roses, or do I even bother? I also need to find out how far back I can trimming a...
view the full question and answer

How to Care for a Yucca after Blooming
September 13, 2014 - We just moved into our home and there was an existing yucca plant in the yard and it had bloomed. There was some kind of vine growing in and around it. We tried to clean out the vine but I noticed a l...
view the full question and answer

How to prune wild mustang grape vines.
July 11, 2011 - Now that my mustang grapes are harvested. When can I trim them out of the tree top and redirect them to an arbor where I can reach them next year? The main vine is at least 3" across. The vines from...
view the full question and answer

Damage from Hurricane Irene in Burgaw, NC
August 27, 2011 - We live in Burgaw, NC and have begun the clean up efforts of Hurricane Irene which has made a full grown crape myrtle lean to one side. Its a very large tree and it is not uprooted. Is there anyway ...
view the full question and answer

Storm damage to native sweet bay magnolias in Kentucky
February 04, 2009 - Can you please share information on storm damage to sweet bay magnolias; if the top is broken off can the tree maintain its natural shape or will the sides begin to grow more than the top; i.e., growt...
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