Ask a Question forum: Can my Yucca be saved!

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Apr 20, 2015 11:55 AM CST
I recently purchased a large but exotic looking two headed yukka plant off a well known auction site with it being apparently 25 years old and looked in great condition. Unfortunately unbeknown to myself, it wasn't the correct height of 7 ft as described but 9 ft hence being too tall for the living room. Having read a few articles from various websites regarding pruning; i reluctantly pruned halfway through each stalk as these plants are nearly indistructable apparently. Well mine seems not as following instructions by placed in direct sunlight inside the house and now outside after pruning each stalk has now gone black inside which now makes me think i have infact killed it. Can anyone offer advice on if and how the plant can be revived? Its been two months now since pruning and i really dont want to loose it!

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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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Apr 20, 2015 2:52 PM CST
Welcome! to ATP, and let's hope we can help. Where are you located, sonofagun? If somewhere north, it may take more sun and heat to stimulate the plant to put up new green spikes. If the trunks are still solid, don't give up on it until the end of the summer! It may still sprout and/or it may put up new shoots from the root as well.

Keep it warm, (a south-facing protected corner outside if you still can't bring it indoors) and give it a good thorough watering (until water comes out the bottom of the pot) every week or 10 days depending upon how warm the weather is. Even in the desert where these things grow naturally, they do get rains sometimes. They grow in people's gardens here, and we get rain every day in the summer. As long as it's draining well don't be afraid to water it.

For future reference, a guideline is to never prune more than about 1/3 of the green growth off any plant at one time. Since you only had two trunks, obviously you had to prune at least 1/2, but the plant would still have some green leaves to make food for itself if you'd only cut one trunk, then waited for the cut stump to sprout before cutting the other.

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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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Apr 20, 2015 3:57 PM CST
Hi & welcome! How was this plant transported/shipped?

It's normal for the tip to turn black, even if the stem is still very much alive. Is there a tiny new growth poking from the top of the stem on the right? New growth would form on these stems/trunks at a right angle, from the side somewhere, usually near the tip of where it was cut.

This is a diff kind of plant, a Begonia, but shows well how the top of the stem has turned dark, above the point where the new growth is coming out. It's healthy & fine, and this is the plants' way of sealing that wound from infection.
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This pic might be a diff kind of Yucca, but shows the new growth coming from the side of the old trunk.

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[Last edited by purpleinopp - Apr 20, 2015 4:00 PM (+)]
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Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
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Apr 20, 2015 9:13 PM CST
If it were mine, I would make a cut 0r 2 on the side of the trunk, and wrap wet paper towel and plastic loosely over the cut. Tie the towel and plastic on to keep the cut moist. Possibly you can encourage the trunk to sprout that way.
I have a large yucca like this that I winter indoors, and place outside under trees for the summer. It lost its top one year in a bad storm, and sent up more stems lower down a month or so later. It did not lose all its green leaves, though.

I can't even imagine shipping a yucca as large as yours! Nine foot, whew! Good luck!
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Apr 21, 2015 5:03 AM CST
Located in the south of UK so not really too sunny here, although it is at the moment! Thanks for the advice, it doesn't sound as bad as it looks so i'll give it to end of the summer and see what's the score is then..
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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Apr 21, 2015 11:48 AM CST
Your Yucca has great potential for recovery, just have to wait till your conditions are much warmer. As long as the trunks and limbs are staying firm they should do well. It is very efficient in saving the moisture it gets, so be careful when watering, especially when your plant has no leaves yet.

My Yucca has been outdoors year round here, and I have been mean to it really..but it just goes and goes. Our winters are milder though but it is the same time we get some rains.

It also had the middle part go black, almost looks rotten really, but it has healed itself and continues to grow:
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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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Apr 22, 2015 8:41 PM CST
Would it help to seal the cut end with a sealing compound? or is that 'old' information from the dark ages?
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[Last edited by greene - Apr 22, 2015 8:42 PM (+)]
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