En Español

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?


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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
2 ratings

Monday - October 11, 2010

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


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?


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.


More General Botany Questions

Native vs Non-native Insect Host Plants
March 14, 2013 - My understanding of a host plant is that it is a plant that an insect will lay its eggs on. Is this correct? If this is so then can a cultivar be a host plant for the same insect? I have read Mr. Doug...
view the full question and answer

Water Use Versus Soil Moisture
October 14, 2014 - In the Native Plant Database, under Growing Conditions what is the difference between water use and soil moisture? Sometimes they seem contradictory.
view the full question and answer

Why will my Butternut trees not produce nuts in Tennessee?
May 06, 2009 - I have 2 butternut trees planted about 20 ft from each other. I see the long blossoms on each tree but I have not gotten any nuts from either tree. I do not know if I have a male and female or if th...
view the full question and answer

School project on acid rain effects on plants from Austin
October 18, 2013 - Hi I go to an Austin high school and I am doing a project on how acid rain affects plant growth. I am wondering if you know any plants that would be more or less susceptible to acid rain for this proj...
view the full question and answer

Native plants that will grow under alleopathic black walnut
March 03, 2007 - I have a large, beautiful black walnut tree in my yard and have trouble growing the annuals, begonia, impatients, etc., that I have always grown. They don't do well in the ground and I have resorted...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center