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

Watering needs for a new landscape
October 11, 2008 - How much and how frequently are you supposed to water after implementing a new landscape? For example, perennials and succulents that are drought tolerant.
view the full question and answer

Berms to hold water around roots
December 05, 2008 - I planted new flower beds this November. There are currently dirt 'berms' around each plant - creating a well for water to seep into the immediate plant area. How can I keep these berms from erodi...
view the full question and answer

Defining drip line on trees from Austin
August 08, 2011 - When you say that trees should be watered at the "drip line," do you mean that literally? I assume that the drip line means at the outside edge of the leaves or branches. Does that mean that waterin...
view the full question and answer

My newly planted Mountain Laurel isn\'t doing well.
March 13, 2009 - My mountain laurel was planted from a container in Dec. It is in part sun, clay soil, and its leaves are turning yellow. should I move it or will that kill it?
view the full question and answer

Suggestions for flowerbed in Mesquite TX
June 17, 2011 - I live in Mesquite and am new to the area. I am trying to make the flowerbed in the front of my house look better. I've planted some yellow roses and red roses but would like some perennial that bloo...
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