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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Tuesday - June 23, 2009

From: Rio Rancho, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Transplants, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Dividing and planting Yucca and pups in New Mexico
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe

QUESTION:

I bought a Yucca plant and had 7 plants in one planter 1 large and 6 small. We wanted to split up the plants so we carefully separated them and planted them. My soil is very sandy (Rio Rancho) but I put mushroom compost and plant food of coarse the dirt it came with. What else could I do so I do not lose my yuccas.

ANSWER:

Not all yuccas propagate from offshoots, or pups, that branch out from the main root, but those that do tend to be easy to divide and grow. We've had a number of previous questions on care and propagation of various types of yuccas, so here are pointers to some previous answers.

Starting Yucca from pups....

Proper spacing for planting yuccas...

Fertilization of recently transplanted yucca...

You can search our Mr. Smarty Plants library of previous questions. Just type 'yucca' into the keyword box. For more information about the varieties of yucca native to your area, go to the Native Plant Database, enter yucca in the search box. Then use the 'Narrow my Search' function on the right to select New Mexico.

From the description of your process, you've done the basics. In the coarse, sandy soil you describe and in New Mexico's intense sun, overwatering and poor drainage are unlikely to be a problem. Don't overdo the fertilization – these plants are conditioned for the sparse resources of a desert region.

 

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