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?

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

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

Thursday - March 15, 2012

From: Sylvania, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Pruning, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Is a yucca going to have a stalk from Sylvania OH
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi, I was wondering if the stalk on a yucca plant grows back every year after it is cut off? How to tell if it is going to have a stalk because some of my yucca's do not have one? Thank you for your time.

ANSWER:

We presume you are referring to a bloom stalk, rather than what would be a trunk on a tree? We are always a little puzzled to get questions about what we consider to be desert or semi-desert plants from the Mid-Atlantic area of the United States. We always like to know what plant we are talking about, and there is exactly one yucca, Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle), that grows naturally in Ohio. The most complete discussion of this plant was found in this Ohio State University article on the plant. Another good article is from Dave's Garden Forum. You will be interested in reading the comments, most of which come from states as least as different from deserts as Ohio. Notice in particular the comment that one person's yucca only bloomed every 3 to 5 years, possibly because of the colder climate.

Having grown up where yuccas are virtually roadside weeds, in the Texas desert, we can tell you from experience that the bloom stalk begins by looking like some leaves wrapped around each other deep in the center of the plant, slowly growing up and beginning to unfurl. It begins to lengthen and rise in a stalk out of the plant, blooming a creamy white during July and August. Until you see that irregular clump at the center of the plant, you really can't tell if it is going to bloom or not.

 

From the Image Gallery


Adam's needle
Yucca filamentosa

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Trimming freeze-damaged Agave Americana in Alvarado TX
April 08, 2010 - What is the best way to trim Agave Americana cactus? The freeze this winter when it snowed has caused the leaves to die towards the bottom of the plant.
view the full question and answer

Prickly cactus in Williamson County, Texas
September 12, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Can you tell me what species of prickly pear cactus we have here in Williamson County? I see two listed as being here in Texas. One is the Plains variety and the other is ...
view the full question and answer

Dividing and planting Yucca and pups in New Mexico
June 23, 2009 - I bought a Yucca plant and had 7 plants in one planter 1 large and 6 small. We wanted to split up the plants so we carefully separated them and planted them. My soil is very sandy (Rio Rancho) but I...
view the full question and answer

Night-Blooming Cereus not Blooming
September 04, 2014 - I have a plant called a night-blooming cereus, which during the warm season, is supposed to have blooms that come out at night and close up but don't fall off when morning approaches. But my cereus h...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of red yucca from Lago Vista TX
April 09, 2013 - I am in Lago Vista - trying to find out why I can't get my red yucca to bloom. The first year they were great and now after two or three years - no measurable spikes have shown up. HELP!
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center