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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Monday - March 09, 2009

From: Canal Fulton, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification, Transplants, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Non-blooming of an apparent yucca in Ohio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have what looks like a yucca plant in my flower bed. but in the 3 years we have lived here it has never bloomed. It did get a little bigger and has always been green. If it is a yucca, is there any reason why it would not bloom? I would also like to move it if it is a yucca(it is right next to the porch and front edge of flower bed), when is the best time? Thank you for your help

ANSWER:

First, let's see if we can decide if it IS a yucca. We found only one yucca, Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle), native to Ohio. Read this article from Ohio State University on Yucca filamentosa  to see if this sounds like your plant. Go to this website for pictures of Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle). We did quite a bit of searching, and found only snippets of information on when or whether the plant might be expected to bloom. One source said theirs bloomed only every 3 to 5 years. Another said it needed to be in full sun to bloom and does not like to be over-watered. Still other sources said it would start to bloom when it matured, but didn't say what constituted "mature." It was also said that flowering could be "irregular," blooming only every other year or so. 

Transplanting a yucca can be dangerous and difficult, and often leads to many more "pups" coming up out of the root left behind. See this previous answer to a Mr. Smarty Plants question for some clues.  When you get right down to it, we really can't get you very concrete advice until we are sure what plant we are talking about. If you don't feel, after reading the references and looking at the illustrations, that your plant is a yucca, please go to our Plant ID page for instructions on sending us a picture, and we will attempt to identify it. 

 

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