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?


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

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


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.


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

Preserving the agave bloom for decoration from Sedona AZ
April 28, 2012 - I have an agave century plant which is starting to bloom. Is there some way I can preserve the flower as a decoration piece?
view the full question and answer

Reasons to leave a century plant in place in Florida
November 01, 2010 - Can you please list ALL the reasons to leave a century plant (as opposed to cutting it way back or removing it) in the wilds of the sand dunes on the coast of Florida, other than its prominent beauty?
view the full question and answer

Shriveling agave from Miami Florida
August 23, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Most upset - My beautiful agave (wish I could have submitted an image) has stared to misbehave. The once first liquid filled leaves, are starting to look more like the skin ...
view the full question and answer

Projected longevity of Opuntia fragilis (Fragile Prickly Pear)
November 25, 2005 - How long does Opuntia fragilis live? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Unidentified stalk, possibly manfreda, from San Marcos TX
May 23, 2014 - I had a very weird stalk pop up in my yard in San Marcos TX this month (May 2014) It bloomed very quickly and appears to be a manfreda but there is no rosette, or leaves of any kind - just the thick o...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center