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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - April 23, 2009

From: Winona, MN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Winter damage to yucca in Winona MN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

This past winter was hard on my established yucca plant and most of the foliage has discolored and it is not very pleasing to look at. What should I do about the discolored portion? Should I remove all of the winterkill?

ANSWER:

We're assuming that what you have is Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle) which is the only yucca hardy in northern parts of the US. It is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9. Winona County, in southeast Minnesota,  appears to be in Zones 4a to 4b, minimum annual average temperatures of -30 deg to -20 deg F. Our Native Plant Database does not show the plant as native to Minnesota, but does appear in a few counties in adjacent Wisconsin. As you pointed out, this has been a very hard winter in your part of the country, and yucca is basically a southwestern desert plant. Because of the  tough roots of yuccas, we believe the plant will survive. The top, or visible parts of the plant may suffer severe dieback, but the root probably still has the ability to regenerate the plant. Yes, we would suggest you remove the more seriously damaged foliage, for appearances sake, if nothing else, and then be patient. Possibly what will happen is that new "pups" will begin to emerge from that tough root, which is protected by the insulation of the soil from the extreme cold you have experienced this year.


Yucca filamentosa

 

 

 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Protecting agave pups in San Antonio
April 23, 2013 - I would like to share the soon to happen bloom of two century plants on my property; they are sisters planted at the same time. I am sad to know they will die but will do all that I can to protect the...
view the full question and answer

Care of Spanish Dagger (Yucca treculeana) after blooming
May 27, 2007 - I live in Austin and have a 5 ft spanish dagger in my backyard. Now that it has bloomed and the flowers have withered in May, should I cut off the center stalk or will it bloom again from the same st...
view the full question and answer

Growing Conditions for Yucca cernua
October 22, 2011 - Nodding Yucca or Yucca cernua: I bought many lovely plants at the Wildflower Center sale on Friday, among them, a Nodding Yucca or Yucca cernua. 24 of the 25 plants I bought are already in the grou...
view the full question and answer

Pollinating moth of Arkansas Yucca from Arlington TX
May 15, 2012 - What is the pollinating moth of the Arkansas yucca. I have Desert willows which is the larval host for white-winged moth, but the yuccas are still not seeding. What other larval hosts plants can I p...
view the full question and answer

Possibly non-native succulent identification
March 27, 2008 - My mother has a plant that grows on a stalk, 2.5' tall, leaves are about 4-5" on the mature plant. The leaves are scalloped on the edges and seeds grown in the scallops & fall off and make new plan...
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