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
1 rating

Tuesday - April 09, 2013

From: Lago Vista, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Failure to bloom of red yucca from Lago Vista TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am in Lago Vista - trying to find out why I can't get my red yucca to bloom. The first year they were great and now after two or three years - no measurable spikes have shown up. HELP!

ANSWER:

Hesperaloe parviflora (Red yucca) is not a true yucca, but a member of the Agavaceae (Century Plant) family. It is barely possible that the first year you had the plant that it had been force bloomed, although we have no idea how you would do that to a succulent. If that were true, maybe it has not yet matured to natural  bloom stage. Under normal circumstances, it blooms red and yellow from March to July.

That is pure speculation, because we can find no other explanation; however, we can do some speculating of our own. Do you have deer in your area? We understand deer absolutely adore the blooms, and since the red yucca also attracts night-feeding moths, the deer might dine at night, and just clean the blooms right off. They won't nibble the "leaves" but they will consume the flowers. One last speculation, if you are fertilizing grass around the red yucca with a high nitrogen fertilizer (the purpose of which is to encourage the green leaves of that grass), that may cause profuse green leaf growth, using up all the energy that would go into blooms. And if the red yucca happens to be under a sprinkler system, it is probably getting too much water. We don't know if that affects the blooming, but it's not good for a desert plant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Red yucca
Hesperaloe parviflora

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Source for DNA sequencing of Opuntia species
March 04, 2014 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I am trying to do a Opuntia speciation study, and rather just identifying the species by morphological comparison, I would also like to go a little deeper by comparing the DNA...
view the full question and answer

Trimmng and fertilizing yucca
September 07, 2007 - Should I cut the stalks of the Yucca that have already bloomed or wait until they dry? How often should I fertilize?
view the full question and answer

Twist-leaf Yucca flowering in Burnet County, TX.
June 16, 2015 - I recently moved to Burnet County and our property is full of twist leaf yuccas which are now blooming, but not all are blooming. Why do some twist leaf yuccas bloom and others don't? Are they m...
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

Are agaves really native from Pacific Palisades CA
April 30, 2013 - I just replied re agave issues, and mistakenly asked the source of your information. I see that you clearly noted it, apologies. I would note, however, that the Riverside area is very much a hot,...
view the full question and answer

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