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

Wednesday - October 02, 2013

From: Hampshire, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents, Wildflowers
Title: Overwintering Yucca Seedlings in Illinois
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have many yucca seedlings I started this year. My question is what do I need to do with them to overwinter here in Northern Illinois and when do I plant them in the ground for best chances of survival?

ANSWER:

Congratulations on starting a good crop of yucca seedlings. I am assuming that you have a hardy yucca (There's a list of some hardy species at the http://www.yuccaagavaceae.com/hardy.html website). The most popular are Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle) and Yucca glauca (soapweed yucca).

Outdoors, hardy yucca need to go through a gradual progression to winter conditions so that they become acclimatized to the weather.  To do this, slowly reduce the soil moisture so they go dormant - even if they look slightly shriveled. Also, they have to have well-drained soil or else the roots will rot during the winter. Water pooling around the plant will also cause rotting issues so make sure they are not sitting in a low area. Plunge the yucca seedlings with their pots into a garden bed late in the fall before the ground freezes. Put some evergreen boughs over the yucca to help collect the snow during the winter. This will help provide insulation and reduce the chance of wind burn or freezing and thawing damage.  As a backup you can bring a few indoors and overwinter them in a warm and slightly moist environment (or keep them dormant in a cool and dry location like the back of an attached garage).  

 

From the Image Gallery


Adam's needle
Yucca filamentosa

Soapweed yucca
Yucca glauca

Soapweed yucca
Yucca glauca

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Problems with Strawberry Hedgehog cactus from Temple TX
June 03, 2012 - I had purchased a Strawberry hedgehog Cactus (echinocereus stramineus) a few years ago from the Wildflower Center's annual plant sale and planted it then. It has now started to brown from bottom to t...
view the full question and answer

Mulching Spring Bulbs in Upstate NY
October 25, 2010 - Just planted tulip bulbs for Spring. The Parks Department then put 4 inches of mulch on top. Will the tulips be able to get through and bloom come Spring? Is mulch a good winterizer for them? Indoor c...
view the full question and answer

Loss of bloom stalk on Yucca filamentosa from Scotch Plains NJ
April 27, 2013 - We have 3 Yucca filamentosa L. planted together, in NJ. A friend of ours was helping to remove the weeds, little did she know and removed the blooming stalk from the plants. By the time I saw, it was ...
view the full question and answer

Black bugs on yucca from Aledo TX
April 14, 2013 - We have flowering yuccas that have thousands of small black bugs that seem to be hurting the plant. They are not on any other foliage in our beds. What do I use to get rid of them??
view the full question and answer

Plants for pool area in Florida
May 09, 2008 - My husband and I have a pool with 4 planters and are looking for plants that we can put into our screened in pool area. We live in Central Florida and looking for ideas of plants that are slow growin...
view the full question and answer

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