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

Plants for indoor container gardening from Lax Vegas NV
May 10, 2013 - What is an good flower to grow in a pot? I live in a apt., and like roses,tulips etc. if that helps any.
view the full question and answer

Non-native invasive creeping fig on oak tree
August 15, 2007 - I have a creeping fig in a pot that sits next to an oak tree. It took to the tree as a trellis and looks beautiful. My question is: is it doing the tree any harm?
view the full question and answer

Watering for Scarlett Milkweed in Florida
October 18, 2008 - I have a Scarlett Milkweed and it was doing very well until this last week. It now has yellow leaves that are falling off and no flowers. It says on the tag that the water is low once it is establishe...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Ornithogalum longibracteatum (Pregnant Onion)
June 27, 2007 - Dear Sir, I have a plant called a Pregnant Onion. It looks like an onion and it has babies develop on its body and the surface peals off like an onion. It's leaves grow to about a yard long and th...
view the full question and answer

Disposal of non-native chinaberry and ligustrum and their seeds
October 06, 2004 - I've got some chinaberry and ligustrum in a section of our lot that I am going to remove to make room for native plants. Both have berries, & I was wondering if running them through a chipper will ha...
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