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

Wednesday - August 07, 2013

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Cacti and Succulents, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Replacements for yuccas from Georgetown TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have lost some softleaf and variegated yucca to a beetle grub destroying the root system - like the Agave snout beetle does. I have put an insecticidal drench on my remaining plants, but suspect will lose some of them also. Can you recommend an alternative plant that will work in a xeriscape area and have a similar effect (size/shape) as these yucca so that I can replace them and maintain my design, please? (FYI - am a member of WFC)

ANSWER:

The volunteer Mr. Smarty Plants Team members are also all members of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and we appreciate your joining us in our support of the mission of the Center.

You are posing us a tough problem - that of finding a plant very similar to a yucca, but not a yucca. Because we are not entomologists, we will first do a little research on what the offending insect is, and what he might tend to NOT eat. Most of the information we found referred to Halticoma valida, yucca plant bug. Here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on that bug.

Since most plants that "look like" yucca are also members of the Agavaceae (Agave) family, which also would be susceptible to the Yucca plant bug, we turned to grasses or grasslike plants native in or near to Williamson County. From our list of Recommended Species for Central Texas we found:

Dasylirion texanum (Texas sotol) (Map)

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista) (Map)

The Map link after each plant link is to the USDA Plant Profile Map on that plant showing where it grows natively in Texas. Both are evergreen and both are members of the Liliaceae (lily) family and are neither true grasses nor succulents, so they should not be bothered by the same pests as the Agave family. When you follow the plant link to our webpage on each plant you will see that both can be seen growing at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. You will also find the growing conditions for each, including amount of water needed, expected mature size and sunlight needs.

Since it is not likely you will find either of these plants at large commercial nurseries or home improvement stores, we recomend you go to our National Suppliers Directory, put your town and state or just your zip code in the "Enter Search Location" box, press on GO and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and consultants in your general area.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas sotol
Dasylirion texanum

Texas sotol
Dasylirion texanum

Texas sotol
Dasylirion texanum

Texas sacahuista
Nolina texana

Texas sacahuista
Nolina texana

Texas sacahuista
Nolina texana

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Submerged paving under lawn
September 07, 2008 - I had 4 patches of rectangular areas (about 4'x6'or more) in my lawn where the grass is fine in spring but totally dies in summer. I decided to till these bare patches so that grass may grow better...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Shaded Slope in Philadelphia
April 17, 2015 - I have a small slope along the North side of my house in a suburb of Philadelphia. A small maple tree grows there but most of it gets no sun at all (a large segment is under the tree). I had the soil ...
view the full question and answer

drought-resistant turf grasses for New York City
June 16, 2011 - Hi - I work at the Smithsonian in New York City and we have a very large lawn that is frequently used in the summer for programming. It gets very beat up. I read an article in teh New York Times about...
view the full question and answer

Best grass for the shade in Austin, TX.
July 01, 2015 - What is the best grass seed for shade in Austin?
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for field in Fairfield, TX
August 21, 2008 - We are clearing youpon, briars and small trees from 13 acres of woods near Fairfield, Texas. We want to plant native grass(s) that can tolerate shade and part shade, but also tolerate mowing(shredder...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center