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 - 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

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Cactus failing to thrive in New York City
November 21, 2008 - My cactus seems to be either weak or dying. Its long stems are bending and softer than the rest. What is happening to it?
view the full question and answer

Can I save my century plant by cutting the flowering stalk in Austin, TX? Probably not.
April 28, 2010 - Our century plant is starting to sprout it's flower (four feet). If we cut it down can we save the plant? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Correction of tree name from Bay Point CA
October 16, 2013 - The tree should of been Mulberry don't know how it was changed!! Tuesday - October 15, 2013 From: Bay Point, CA Region: California Topic: Non-Natives, Cacti and Succulents, Trees Title: Non-...
view the full question and answer

Black fungus on cholla cactus from Austin
March 25, 2012 - How to get rid of black fungus on cholla cactus? Cut it off? And treat with what?
view the full question and answer

Seeds of agave attenuata from San Diego CA
April 16, 2012 - After the agave attenuata bloom dried up there are seeds like thing hanging on the foxtail; do I leave it until it dies or do I chop that down. Are those seeds for propagation. The leaves of the plan...
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