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

Tuesday - April 05, 2011

From: Chicago, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pruning
Title: Trimming spineless yucca in Chicago
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a spineless yucca (indoors) which is 11 feet tall and thirty-five years old. When the yucca recently started to scrape the ceiling, I moved it away (roughly 20 feet) from the windows to an area with higher ceilings (14 feet), but less light. Then, I purchased and installed two grow lights (60 watt bulbs with reflectors that are on 12-13 hours a day). Now, some leaves are dying off. Is this just the plant's way of adjusting to the new location? Or, should I trim the top off the yucca and move it back to the window area? (Can I trim off the top 18 inches without damaging the rest of the plant? If so, how?)

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants natively grow. Yucca elephantipes is native to Guatemala and southeast Mexico and therefore is out of our realm of expertise. We find that plants for indoor use are rarely native; however, there are native species of Yucca from which we can draw information.

It would appear that you are going to need to be able to prune your yucca, as it can grow to 30 ft. indoors. Even though this plant is not in our Native Plant Database, we found several articles that should help you understand what you need to do. We have no personal experience with growing an indoor yucca - they grow very well outside in Austin, TX, but we can tell you that probably the yucca would be happier back near the windows and that certainly you can trim off the top without permanent damage to the plant. The last article is from Australia, so you won't recognize any of the brand names mentioned, but can undoubtedly find similar products at your nursery center.

Plant-Care.com Caring for the Versatile Spineless Yucca

Plant-Care.com Indoor Yucca Plant Care

Modern Landscapes Yucca Elephantipes

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Black Sooty Mold on Bay Tree
February 25, 2013 - I have a large bay tree and all the leaves are covered with a black mold-like substance on the top part of the leaf. Under each leaf are some black/brown spots. I have washed the leaves with soap and ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for low light in Houston
April 21, 2009 - I moved from a home in New Jersey to an apartment in Houston, TX -inside court - low light. I can't keep houseplants alive., What do you recommend that I try here? Both inside the apartment and on ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native pomegranate failing to fruit from Highland Village TX
October 20, 2012 - Last spring I planted a pomegranate tree (type: Wonderful) which is supposed to produce edible fruit. It had 5 or 6 absolutely beautiful blooms, but each of them dropped off and no sign of fruit. Is...
view the full question and answer

Native plant to replace invasive non-native nandina in Houston
February 28, 2010 - I'm just now finding out that Nandinas are an invasive species from our local chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas. I have three of them in my front yard and want to replace them. Can you sug...
view the full question and answer

Red berry that changes the taste of other foods
January 15, 2013 - Hi, your site is fantastic. I heard from a friend that he tried a red berry in Florida which when eaten change the taste of other foods eaten afterwards. He ate a lemon after trying that berry and th...
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