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WE are volunteer workers at a community park and most of us have little specialist horticultural knowledge. However, we have a problem to solve. We have had a number of yuccas growing well for the past 12-16 years and this year, all of a sudden, three decided to put up flowering stems. These grew rapidly, reaching 3-4m high in about two weeks. The flowers were lovely. Now, three months later we still have some flowers and lots of seed pods, which have been a great attraction to all our visitors. However the base leaves are now all browning off badly. Can you give us some information about what we should do next? Will the plants die? Are the seed pods of any use?


FIRSTLY, although these spiky subtropical plants look like yuccas, they are actually furcraeas (the species in the photograph is either Furcraea selloa or Fucraea bedinghausii). Unfortunately, furcraeas are monocarpic, which means that the plants die after flowering/ setting seed or producing young plantlets.

The adult plants will eventually require removal, however you can sow the seed when the pods are ripe. Best of luck!

Thanks to Steve Benham from the Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens for his help in answering your query.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 92, 2002, Page 20

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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