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Mr. Smarty Plants - Loss of bloom stalk on Yucca filamentosa from Scotch Plains NJ

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Saturday - April 27, 2013

From: Scotch Plains, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Propagation, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Loss of bloom stalk on Yucca filamentosa from Scotch Plains NJ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have 3 Yucca filamentosa L. planted together, in NJ. A friend of ours was helping to remove the weeds, little did she know and removed the blooming stalk from the plants. By the time I saw, it was a little late and the blooming stalk was out from the base.:( The bottom of the blooming stalk was oval/oblong shaped. I really like when it flowers, does the blooming stalk grow back, may be next season??? Thanks!!

ANSWER:

Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle) is native to the area of Union Co., NJ. As a longtime Texas gardener, this Smarty Plants Team member is familiar with the Yucca genus; in fact, in some spots in West Texas that was about as close to trees as we had. Finding one native to the Northeast has always been a little startling to us.

The Yucca is a member of the Agavaceae (Century Plant) family, but is not an agave, which is a good thing. Century Plants will live from 8 to 40 years (not a century), sprout a tremendous bloom stalk, and then die because it has expended all its energy making those blooms. It is necessary to all plants to reproduce themselves, usually by seeds, so removing the bloom stalk from your yucca might even mean it will bloom again this year! It blooms from April until August and we have seen yuccas (although we have not grown filamentosa) sprout up to 6 bloom stalks a year, sometimes one after the other, sometimes all at once. The yucca has a slow growth rate, but its bloom stalks have a very high growth rate. So, while you probably would have seen  blooms sooner if the bloom stalk had not been extracted, you will see blooms again, if not this year, then next.

Extracted from the Ohio State University Pocket Gardener site on Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle) (note last item).

  • performs best in full sun in moist, well-drained, deep soils, but it is extremely urban tolerant, including tolerance to poor soils, various soil pHs, soil compaction, heat, high light reflextion, extended drought, pollution, and Winter salt spray; however, it does not tolerate poor drainage or wet sites, and does not bloom in full shade
  • propagated primarily by root segments and clump division, but also by seeds
  • Agave Family, with few disease or pest problems
  • abundantly available in container form
  • the flowering stalk should be dead-headed (pruned away, all the way to the ground) after flowering is finished, as the fruiting stalk is unsightly and will persist for two or three years as "dead wood" unless it is removed
 

From the Image Gallery


Adam's needle
Yucca filamentosa

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