Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - September 07, 2007

From: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Trimmng and fertilizing yucca
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Should I cut the stalks of the Yucca that have already bloomed or wait until they dry? How often should I fertilize?

ANSWER:

Preparing to answer your question, we queried the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Database on "yucca" and got 25 possibilities. So, we don't know which yucca you are growing, but the answers to your questions are pretty generic, and we picked a couple for demonstration. Hesperaloe parviflora (redflower false yucca) and Yucca faxoniana (Eve's needle). Both are native to Texas and are frequently seen in landscaping in your area. Hesperaloe parviflora is not even a true yucca, but a member of the Lily Family. Yucca faxoniana is often seen growing wild on rocky hillsides and is a member of the Century Plant Family. We always think it is a good idea to clip off stalks of plants after they have flowered. This helps to cut down on litter and possible insect or disease damage. The problem there, of course, is getting close enough to them to clip those stalks; we hope you have some leather gloves and long-handled lopping shears. In regard to your second question about fertilizing yucca, one of the beauties of native plants is they seldom or never need fertilizing. They have been growing and flourishing in sometimes inhospitable environments for many thousands of years without the intervention of gardeners armed with hoses and sprays. If the plant is in a flower bed or border and you are throwing a little timed-release fertilizer in there, it certainly won't hurt the yuccas. Just remember, the faster those yuccas grow, the longer and more lethal those dagger-like leaves are going to be.

 

From the Image Gallery


Red yucca
Hesperaloe parviflora

Faxon yucca
Yucca faxoniana

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Insects on yucca from Ft. Worth TX
April 05, 2012 - I have a plant labeled Yucca Soft Leaf recurvifolia that I planted about 5 years ago,& was beautiful until last summer when it became infested with thousands of fast, tiny, dark insects. I sprayed wit...
view the full question and answer

Problems on Prickly Pear Cactus in Illinois
November 19, 2014 - I have a fungus on my prickly pear cactus that is not a bug. I tested it and my fingers didn't turn red when I squeezed them. So how do I get rid of this as it is spreading to my other cacti?
view the full question and answer

20 years to bloom
May 02, 2007 - My girlfriend and i have come up with an interesting question, we were wondering if there is a plant in existance that takes over 20 years to bloom, and how many different kinds (if any) there are? We...
view the full question and answer

Saving frozen yuccas from North Carolina
February 23, 2013 - I live in NC and have 2 potted yucca plants on my deck. Every year I have brought them in for the winter. This year, someone told us that we could leave them out all winter. They began to die in the c...
view the full question and answer

Freeze damage on Barrel Cactus in Llano TX
March 04, 2011 - I believe my barrel cactus has freeze damage. The flesh turned yellow and is now turning dark. The base is still green. If I cut off the damaged top portion, leaving the green base, should it survive?...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.