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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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Monday - October 11, 2010

From: Cave Creek, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany, Pruning
Title: Do yuccas die after blooming?
Answered by: Marilyn Kircus

QUESTION:

We have a blue yucca which was planted 2 years ago and is just now blooming with a tower of white flowers. Will the entire plant die after blooming as the century plants do? If so, is there a way to save it?

ANSWER:

No, yuccas live long lives and will rebloom. There are at least two species of yucca which are called blue yucca.  One is the native Yucca baccata (Banana yucca), and the other is Yucca rigida, a native of Mexico. But all yuccas seem to have the same life cycle and be dependent of the yucca moths for pollination. If a moth doesn't visit your flowers, your plant will set little or no fruit. But it should still bloom each year.

Yucca does not ordinarily need any pruning, except perhaps to take out any dead or broken blades. The only pruning that is needed is of the bloom stalk, which should be cut down as close to the bottom as possible, in order to keep the plant tidy, as soon as it finishes blooming in late summer.

 

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