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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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Sunday - July 11, 2010

From: Oxfordshire, England
Region: Other
Topic: Propagation
Title: Yucca sprouting shoots in Oxfordshire, England
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a 20ft outdoor yucca with four huge branches.It is 11 years old. For the first time it has sprouted two side shoots on one of the trunks. They are about 12 inches in length. What is the best way to remove them? Can I remove them both to start two more trees? And why has it taken 11 years to do this? It is such a fine tree. We live in the Southeast of England. I hope you can advise me as I would love to grow a few more.

ANSWER:

To begin with, we're afraid you are a little out of our territory. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. We do have a number of yuccas that are native to North America, but, again, that would not apply necessarily to England.

However, we will do a little research and see if we can discover what yucca you might be growing, and also some resources you could go to for help. And we will let you know what we know about how yuccas that are native to our area are propagated, which hopefully would be of assistance to you. 

First, let us pass onto you the facts about propagation of the yucca. What truly sets this genus apart from other flowering plants is their unique method of pollination: A specific moth that is genetically progammed for stuffing a little ball of pollen into the cup-shaped stigma of each flower. Like  fig wasps and acacia ants, the relationship is mutually beneficial to both partners, and is vital for the survival of both plant and insect. In fact, yuccas cultivated in the Old World, where yucca moths are absent, will not produce seeds unless they are hand-pollinated. So, even though you get blooms on your yucca, you will get no seeds. From the website Gardening Know How, here are instructions on propagating the yucca. 

From various places, we learned that one or more of these yuccas may be used as an ornamental, sometimes an indoor plant in England - Yucca aloifolia (aloe yucca), Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle), and Yucca rupicola (Texas yucca). They are all native to North America, none to England. Follow each plant link to our page on that plant to learn more about it. 

Another article from Gardening Know How give you tips on care and pruning of a yucca, including more information on propagation.  We hope your yucca will give you a pleasant link between your gardens in England and ours in Central Texas.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Yucca aloifolia

Yucca filamentosa

Yucca rupicola

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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