En Espa—ol

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 Pruning Questions

Arrows and Hunting Dogs in Kentucky
December 09, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants--Is it normal for our arrowwood viburnum to give off a musky odour in the late fall? The smell reminds me of a wet hunting dog.
view the full question and answer

Repair of broken branch stump on pecan tree
July 18, 2007 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, big fan. Recently one of my pecan trees had a large branch break off, about 4 or 5 inches in diameter. The strange part was there was no clear sign of what caused the damage, i...
view the full question and answer

Suckers from Oak Tree Roots in Austin
May 17, 2013 - Hi. I am a home owner in Austin TX with several live oak trees. We love them and want to keep them healthy. We have a nice landscape in the back yard and Iím wondering if you can answer a quest...
view the full question and answer

Eastern redcedar uprooted by snow in Arlington, TX
February 14, 2010 - During the recent snowstorm one of our juniperus virginiana fell over with the rootball looking intact and with a lot of soil all around it.Should we try to save it? It is approximately 20 feet tall ...
view the full question and answer

Need help with pruning my Anacacho Orchid tree.
January 04, 2010 - We have an Anacacho Orchid Tree which has done so well in its location that we will need to prune it back. Please advise how much we can prune it and what time of year to do so. Thank you
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center