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

Spineless prickly pear from Lago Vista TX
April 30, 2012 - We visited Lady Bird Johnson Center yesterday. I was impressed with the spine less prickly pear cactus. Is it a native or a hybrid?
view the full question and answer

Agave with large stem growing
May 01, 2011 - It is a large stem growing from my agave plant in the middle of it. It looks scary and ugly, what is it? Is it poisonous? Is it rare? It gets taller and taller everyday, what to cut it.
view the full question and answer

Loss of agaves to freezing weather in Austin
March 04, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I live in Austin and lost all my agaves in the subfreezing weather this winter. Around town, I've noticed some agaves that seemed to tolerate the cold just fine and other tha...
view the full question and answer

Information about ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis)
May 06, 2008 - I recently planted some Carpobrotus edulis, Ice plant, and wanted to know if I can mulch or put stones around the entire garden and plants. They are a ground cover plant.
view the full question and answer

Century plants spread through offshots from Rye TX
September 20, 2010 - How do century plants spread? Are the little ones the babies?
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