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 Wildflowers Questions

Plant Identification from Decatur GA
June 14, 2012 - Hi: In early May 2012 we visited the Center--fantastic. There was a large shrub/tree with yellow blooms near a silo. Is it Retama? Also there was a lot of a purple blooming plant in with the conef...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Helianthus annuus
March 22, 2005 - I am doing an Earth Fair project on the Helianthus annuus. I would like to know if you possibly had any information on this subject. Some of the things I would like to know are: How big does it get? ...
view the full question and answer

Year-round wildflower display in Mississippi
June 14, 2007 - I live in central Mississippi and I'm interested in transforming a 2,000 sq. ft. turf area of my yard into a showy wildflower exhibit that will bloom from now(July) until winter and even possibly thr...
view the full question and answer

Flowering perennials beneath Ashe juniper.
March 25, 2009 - Dear Sir: What type of flowering perennial plants will grow underneath Mountain Cedar and its pine needles? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Buying bluebonnet plants for project in Amarillo TX
February 10, 2013 - Is there anywhere I can buy some bluebonnet plants by March 1, 2013 for a school project? We are growing some, but they are just up.
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