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

Saturday - February 23, 2013

From: Waxhaw, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Propagation, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Saving frozen yuccas from North Carolina
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in NC and have 2 potted yucca plants on my deck. Every year I have brought them in for the winter. This year, someone told us that we could leave them out all winter. They began to die in the cold temps. We brought them inside and now all of the leaves are turning yellow and dying. These are my babies! How can I save them before they are gone? BTW, we did put them in garage for 2 days before bringing them in the house so we would not shock them from cold to warm. Please advise ASAP! Thank you!

ANSWER:

Now, see, this is why we recommend only plants native to an area. There are 28 yuccas in our Native Plant Database, and we have no way of knowing which you have. However, there are 3 native to North Carolina: Yucca aloifolia (Aloe yucca), Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle), and Yucca gloriosa (Moundlily yucca). Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle), for instance, grows all over the United States, including some very cold areas.

However, all hope is not lost. Yuccas may also be grown from rhizomes, cuttings, or by digging offsets from the side of established plants. Here is an article on Propagation of Yuccas. Whatever part of the yucca you choose to use for propagation, it should be one that has been in or near the soil, which acts as an insulator. Probably, now that we reread your question, the mistake you made was leaving the plant outside in the pot. Plants that survive winter outdoors do so because of the insulation of the earth around the roots. A pot provides almost no protection from the cold, so the roots freeze, the plant can get no moisture and it dies. Hopefully there is enough life left in your plants to start new ones. This time, if you want to leave the yuccas outside, plant them in the ground.

 

From the Image Gallery


Aloe yucca
Yucca aloifolia

Adam's needle
Yucca filamentosa

More Propagation Questions

Iris brevicaulis in Southwest Michigan
April 22, 2007 - We live in Kalamazoo, MI (Southwest Michigan Zone 6) and discovered last year that we have an iris brevicaulis (we think) growing (and very pretty) on our property. It has the "zig zag" stem. It see...
view the full question and answer

Reversion of maroon bluebonnets back to blue
March 01, 2007 - In the fall, I bought a flat of Texas bluebonnets. They are blooming now, and it turns out they are actually maroon bluebonnets! Which is really too bad, because I want blue bluebonnets. Do you know i...
view the full question and answer

Rooting desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) from a cutting
May 12, 2009 - I found a desert willow with great bloom color and I am trying to root a cutting. I have never tried to root a cutting but I have read that desert willow is easy to root. My first attempt was in a vas...
view the full question and answer

Follow-up on Viburnum dentatum question
September 24, 2008 - This is a follow up to an earlier question, posted Sept 20, about Viburnum dentatum shrubs. I'm not sure I understand your answer. If the person having trouble getting berries went out and bought a...
view the full question and answer

Tx Mt. Laurel and Mex. Buckeye seed propagation in drought
July 01, 2011 - I live in the Hill Country near New Braunfels. Since I am only at my house in July and August, I would like to plant both Texas Mountain Laurel and Mexican Buckeye from the seeds harvested from mothe...
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