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 - June 10, 2011

From: Harrison, AR
Region: Southeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Infrequently blooming yucca in Harrison AR
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My Yuccas have only bloomed once in 8 years. Looking at the Internet I think mine is Elephantis variety - I did buy them at a nursery; they are in full sun.

ANSWER:

Yucca elephantipes is native to southeast Mexico and Guatemala. As such, it is not in our Native Plant Database. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which they naturally grow. The yuccas that grow natively to Arkansas are Yucca arkansana (Arkansas yucca), Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle), Yucca glauca (Soapweed yucca), and Yucca glauca var. glauca (Narrow-leaf yucca).

From the  University of Oklahoma Department of Botany and Microbiology we found this article on  Yucca elephantipes, which says theirs has never bloomed.

University of Florida Extension Spineless Yucca has these notes under "Use and Management:"

"The two to three-foot-tall bloom is produced on top of the stalks once the plant is 8 to 10 feet tall. Spineless Yucca grows easily in full sun or partial shade on any well-drained soil. Do not plant Yucca unless drainage is superior. Yucca grows well as a houseplant in a well lighted area."

Yuccas require a specific moth for pollination, and if the right moth isn't around, you won't see fruit develop even though the plant produces flowers. Since your plant is not native to your area, the yucca moths that pollinate it will not be present, either, but that still doesn't explain why your plant doesn't bloom. One more thought: this plant is cold tolerant in Zones 9b through 11; Boone County, in northwestern Arkansas, is in USDA Hardiness Zone 6a, which means the plant shouldn't be able to survive outside, much less bloom. Some of the information we saw referred to it as a house plant, but with a projected height of 30', we don't see how that would work. You already said it was in the sun, so we are assuming it is outside. The only other possibility is that you are feeding it with too much nitrogen-high fertilizer, which will frequently retard blooming.

 

 

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Source for maroon bluebonnets in The Woodlands, TX
August 23, 2009 - Please tell me where I can purchase maroon bonnets, seeds or the plant, near College Station or The Woodlands, Texas.
view the full question and answer

Source for purchase of native Parkinsonia aculeata
July 01, 2008 - I would like to buy a Jerusalem Thorn Tree plant. I will purchase seeds if plant is not available. Can you tell me where I can purchase either?
view the full question and answer

Red bluebonnets in the garden
March 11, 2010 - I bought 6 blue bonnet plants at Lowe's last fall. They survived the winter in my garden fine and they are now blooming (3/11)but they are red! Did I buy a wrong variety or is there something about...
view the full question and answer

Source for Guayacan (Guajacum angustifolium) in Texas
February 28, 2006 - Do you know where I can purchase guayacan (soapbush) or is it impossible to transplant?
view the full question and answer

Honeysuckle bush for San Antonio, Tx
June 14, 2009 - I'm looking for a gift for my brother, living in San Antonio. He loves the native honeysuckle that we both remember from our childhoods. I think I'd like to get him a honeysuckle bush rather than ...
view the full question and answer

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