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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - August 02, 2011

From: Manahawkin, NJ
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Pruning, Cacti and Succulents
Title: How to remove plume from Yucca elephantipes in NJ?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


In Manahawkin, NJ, how do we cut plume (2" diameter) off 10' Yucca elephantipes?


Spineless yucca grows natively in arid regions of southern Mexico and Central America, but it is also a popular landscape plant as well as an indoor plant in in the US. Since it is spineless and not as hard to deal with as some of the other yuccas, removing the plume should not be a large problem.

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks you will need the following: a step ladder (maybe 8 ft. tall), gloves, a long sleeve shirt, and of course lopping shears.

Once the plant has ceased blooming, remove the stalk with shears about 3 inches above where it grows from the main stem. Some people suggest cutting the stalk at an angle so that water won’t puddle on the top of the cut stalk which can lead to rotting.



More Pruning Questions

Pruning practices from Austin
May 16, 2013 - I need to do some pruning in my front beds and I know nothing about plants. From what I have been able to identify I have bicolor irises, plumbago, Japanese Aralia. I don't even know where to begin o...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Texas Mountain Laurel
September 04, 2014 - I've had a Texas mountain laurel for 4 years that's being trained into a tree. I think it was a 3-year old tree when I purchased it. Unfortunately, it has suffered from overwatering, and the two mai...
view the full question and answer

Bignonia capreolata with brown leaves in Pennsylvania
April 24, 2009 - 3 year old crossvine leaves brown and dead looking. Will it come back and bud out? Crossvine on fence southern exposure. Crossvine on fence in another area has leaves and are dark green/purple - sa...
view the full question and answer

Is Liatris spicata through blooming from Norman OK
July 26, 2011 - We have a Liatris spicata, I thought it was done blooming (dried tops), so I cut them off. Will it come back and bloom again? What can I do?
view the full question and answer

Carolina Jasmine failing to turn green in Pleasant Garden NC
April 26, 2011 - We planted Carolina Jasmine last year and it did great. This Spring we only have about 2-3 small green leaves beginning on the vines. We did not cut them back in the Fall. Is it time for them to be tu...
view the full question and answer

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