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

Shaping cenizo in Duncanville TX
October 02, 2009 - Our Silverado Sage, which we expected to be 4' to 5' high and wide based on the label when we purchased it about 10 years ago, is nearly 7' tall and very random in shape (not the evenly rounded sha...
view the full question and answer

What about the brown dots on my Silver sage?
June 27, 2008 - During the past year, the leaves on my silver sage bushes around the perimeter of the front of my house have turned yellow in places and there are tiny brown dots on virtually all of the leaves. If I ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning a Young Cercis canadensis (Redbud) Tree
April 05, 2014 - I have a redbud tree that was transplanted when very young (five years ago). It just started budding last year. It is growing very well but the branches are low. It's like it's growing out instead o...
view the full question and answer

Taking down a Century Plant blooming stalk from Fair Oaks Branch TX
August 09, 2013 - Our century cactus looks like it's in the final stages of blooming and I read on your site that the original plant dies. Can we go ahead and cut down the tall blooms?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on pruning Clematis
August 26, 2005 - I would like to know about pruning clematis. The one I have is getting very large. Should I cut it back, and if so, in the Spring or Fall? I live in Michigan. Thank you.
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