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
1 rating

Monday - September 16, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Watering, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Yucca rostrata needs some help in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We planted an expensive 5-6 foot Yucca rostrata last fall. It bloomed beautifully in the spring. We installed an irrigation link to water the recently planted areas with succulents, viburnums, spartan cedars, bamboo grass, and perennials while we were on an extended vacation. When we returned the y.rostrata had numerous brown leaves, but I didn't worry until within a few weeks most of the plant leaves had died. I turned off the water source to the plant. There are a very few green leaves left, including one apical cluster, but if a small percentage of the plant survives, is it able to again become a healthy, beautiful specimen? Should we remove it, remove the 90% leaves that are dead, wait and see, or what??? I appreciate your advice.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks you almost drowned your Yucca plant. How did the other succulents fare?

Yucca rostrata is a synonym for Yucca thompsoniana (Thompson's yucca) which is the name used in our Native Plant Database. I’m including a couple of links about Yucca thompsoniana and yuccas and agaves  in general. One of the things to notice in the rteadings is that Yuccas require little water and do not like to have wet roots.

The apical cluster of green leaves of your plant will produce more green leaves if the plant survives. It is normal for the lower leaves of a yucca plant to gradually die in a process termed sequential senescence . The leaves that have died should be removed to help the appearance of the plant as you wait to see what happens. Your yucca may never be the beautiful specimen that you had before, but by using the care tips in the links above, it may survive.

Another approach is to try and propagate new plants from your old plant if it is still alive. This rather crude done video  explains this process.

 

More Watering Questions

Patio plants suffering from heat in Austin
August 22, 2010 - My patio plants are burning up from the intense sun of Austin's August. Last year it even burned the leaves. Besides moving 40 plants to a shadier spot do you have suggestions on how to protect the...
view the full question and answer

Correct cultural conditions for liatris
April 15, 2008 - I recently bought some gayfeather (liatris pycnostachya) and planted in my yard in a nice full sun spot. Gets sun for roughly 10 hours a day. However, it's also the single driest spot in my yard (jus...
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

Difficulty of watering at drip line of trees from The Woodlands TX
August 18, 2011 - I'm watering my couple dozen native mature trees to make sure they survive this drought and its aftermath..and I'm reading about how to water at the drip line. But..all of my trees' drip lines ext...
view the full question and answer

Brown, dry leaves on weeping willow tree
May 01, 2008 - We live in central TX and have just planted a weeping willow tree. Our back yard has a retention pond and ravine that parallels our property and we were told that the weeping willow will do perfectly ...
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