The Q&A Archives: what do I have

Question: We have a few plants that have these long mid-green leaves (similar to agave)and every late spring a long, thick stem grows to about 3 feet out of the center. During the early to mid summer the stem grows these beautiful white, bell-like flowers that hang down from it. My question is, what do we have and is there anything special we should do to keep the flowers longer then a couple of weeks? It seems to flourish in full sun light. We have one shaded by a larger tree that did not produce a stem or flowers.

Answer: Without seeing the plant I can only make an educated guess, but it sounds to me as though you are growing Yucca filamentosa. This plant thrives in full sunshine, which is why the one that is shaded did not flower. The flowers only last about three weeks and then the flowering stem should be cut down to foliage level. There's no way to make the plant flower for a longer period of time. So, enjoy it while you can!

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