Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
1 rating

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

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Is Sedum recommended for a greenroof project in Houston
July 23, 2008 - Would you recommend using Sedum for a green roof project in Houston, Texas? Will the humidity effect the sedum? If sedum would be a poor choice, what would you recommend for Houston?
view the full question and answer

Century plants spread through offshots from Rye TX
September 20, 2010 - How do century plants spread? Are the little ones the babies?
view the full question and answer

Plants for erosion control in Pittsburgh, PA
August 22, 2009 - I have a terraced high side lot(front of house). I currently have Yuccas growing, but they are too invasive. Can you suggest plants, shrubs, or ground covers that are not as invasive and will still ...
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

Native Plant Suggestions for Dripping Springs
August 02, 2011 - I have a very dry commercial property in Dripping Springs TX where the dry sand/dust isn't a good rain conductor (whenever we get rain). What can we plant there? We have no irrigation and use a rai...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.