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 - October 02, 2013

From: Hampshire, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents, Wildflowers
Title: Overwintering Yucca Seedlings in Illinois
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have many yucca seedlings I started this year. My question is what do I need to do with them to overwinter here in Northern Illinois and when do I plant them in the ground for best chances of survival?

ANSWER:

Congratulations on starting a good crop of yucca seedlings. I am assuming that you have a hardy yucca (There's a list of some hardy species at the http://www.yuccaagavaceae.com/hardy.html website). The most popular are Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle) and Yucca glauca (soapweed yucca).

Outdoors, hardy yucca need to go through a gradual progression to winter conditions so that they become acclimatized to the weather.  To do this, slowly reduce the soil moisture so they go dormant - even if they look slightly shriveled. Also, they have to have well-drained soil or else the roots will rot during the winter. Water pooling around the plant will also cause rotting issues so make sure they are not sitting in a low area. Plunge the yucca seedlings with their pots into a garden bed late in the fall before the ground freezes. Put some evergreen boughs over the yucca to help collect the snow during the winter. This will help provide insulation and reduce the chance of wind burn or freezing and thawing damage.  As a backup you can bring a few indoors and overwinter them in a warm and slightly moist environment (or keep them dormant in a cool and dry location like the back of an attached garage).  

 

From the Image Gallery


Adam's needle
Yucca filamentosa

Soapweed yucca
Yucca glauca

Soapweed yucca
Yucca glauca

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Bloom on non-native Agave attenuata
May 13, 2008 - I have an Agave Attenuata that has grown a long and unsightly stem.Is there a way to cut the plant portion off and re-root the plant without killing the petal portion?
view the full question and answer

Spanish Dagger plant interfering with walkway in Ingram TX
April 09, 2010 - I have a Spanish Dagger that is now 8 feet tall and about to fall over in a walkway. Due to the danger of these very sharp tips I need to either cut down the plant or try to root in and replant. If ...
view the full question and answer

Transporting a plant on airplane from New York City
April 21, 2012 - Can I transport via airplane a jade plant from New York City to Colorado in my suitcase?
view the full question and answer

Growing Conditions for Yucca cernua
October 22, 2011 - Nodding Yucca or Yucca cernua: I bought many lovely plants at the Wildflower Center sale on Friday, among them, a Nodding Yucca or Yucca cernua. 24 of the 25 plants I bought are already in the grou...
view the full question and answer

Potted crown of thorns cactus cold tolerance in Marble Falls, TX
December 02, 2009 - I have a large potted crown-of-thorns cactus. Can it remain outside this winter in the Texas Hill Country?
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