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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - April 09, 2013

From: Lago Vista, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Failure to bloom of red yucca from Lago Vista TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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!

ANSWER:

Hesperaloe parviflora (Red yucca) is not a true yucca, but a member of the Agavaceae (Century Plant) family. It is barely possible that the first year you had the plant that it had been force bloomed, although we have no idea how you would do that to a succulent. If that were true, maybe it has not yet matured to natural  bloom stage. Under normal circumstances, it blooms red and yellow from March to July.

That is pure speculation, because we can find no other explanation; however, we can do some speculating of our own. Do you have deer in your area? We understand deer absolutely adore the blooms, and since the red yucca also attracts night-feeding moths, the deer might dine at night, and just clean the blooms right off. They won't nibble the "leaves" but they will consume the flowers. One last speculation, if you are fertilizing grass around the red yucca with a high nitrogen fertilizer (the purpose of which is to encourage the green leaves of that grass), that may cause profuse green leaf growth, using up all the energy that would go into blooms. And if the red yucca happens to be under a sprinkler system, it is probably getting too much water. We don't know if that affects the blooming, but it's not good for a desert plant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Red yucca
Hesperaloe parviflora

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