Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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

Saturday - October 05, 2013

From: Saginaw, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Propagation, Seeds and Seeding, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Growth of yucca from seed pods from Saginaw MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How do you grow a yucca plant from the pods? Do I need to dry out the pods first?

ANSWER:

We very much hope that the yucca you hope to propagate is Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle). There are 28 species of the Hesperaloe (yucca) genus native to North America. Of those exactly one, Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle), is native to Michigan. There are several other northern states in which this yucca grows, all of which would normally be considered inhospitable to what we think of as a hot desert plant. If you have obtained the seeds of any other yucca, we would suggest you think twice before you go to the trouble of propagating it, because it probably won't survive your winters. If you follow the plant link above you will find these propagation instructions:

Propagation

Description: Yuccas will germinate promptly from fresh seed held over winter. Seeds germinate best in 60-70 degree temperatures. Yuccas may also be grown from rhizomes, stem cuttings, or by digging offsets from the side of established plants.
Seed Collection: Gather capsules (pods)as they begin to dry but before they split. Allow to dry, then crush to remove seeds. Overwinter, keep seeds in moist sand in the refrigerator. For longer storage periods, keep in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes

Also important on that page are the growing conditons of this plant:

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Coarse, dry sands.

You should compare the conditions you have in your garden with those requirements to assure that the plant will prosper there. You might find the posts in this Dave's Garden Forum on Yucca filamentosa useful as well. Several of them are from states in the north, including Michigan. Also, here is an article from SF Gate on Propagating Yucca, which includes propagation by stems, offsets, rhizomes and seeds. The pictures below, from our Image Gallery, are of a blooming Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle) and of not quite mature pods. Here also is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on the propagation of yucca.

 

From the Image Gallery


Adam's needle
Yucca filamentosa

Adam's needle
Yucca filamentosa

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Puncture wound from Blue Agave leaf.
October 19, 2015 - A blue agave leave went through my glove and into my hand. It's swelled up a bit and hurts. Is this just a passing thing.
view the full question and answer

Century plant leaves falling over from San Antonio
April 10, 2013 - Have a large century plant about % feet tall. The leaves are falling over. Can you tell me what to do to avoid this.
view the full question and answer

How can I eradicate 20 acres of cactus?
April 28, 2010 - Cactus eradication. I have about 20 acres that are covered to the point that it is not safe to walk on the property. What can I do? Are there classes out there for eradication?
view the full question and answer

Can Joshua Tree yucca be grown in Denham Springs LA
December 31, 2011 - If planted in a patch of raised and well-drained soil and covered during heavy rains, would it be possible to grow a Joshua Tree yucca in eastern Louisiana?
view the full question and answer

Transporting a plant on airplane from New York City
April 21, 2012 - Can I transport via airplane a jade plant from New York City to Colorado in my suitcase?
view the full question and answer

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