Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sometimes you have to Whack it Back!

Left back

Isn't it special when you first plant in your yard, flower bed or pot. You are so excited to watch the transition from little baby to beautiful blooming plant. It's like a new pair of shoes or car. You want to show them off so everyone will be as jazzed as you. But after time the shoes wear out, the car needs repairs and sometimes the plant dies or gets leggy and weird looking. But if you are lucky with your plant (especially succulents) you can simply whack it back! Then it's almost like new again.

When I planted the little Yucca in each corner of my back yard over 10 years ago I really didn't think they would grow. But little by little it did. Growing new branches that were taller and thicker than the rest. At that time the soil I planted them in was like cement, but I didn't know any better. Still they grew. Soon I had beautiful green tall stalks of yucca. But before long each stalk flowered. I basked in the wonder of these fantastic blooms. But being the new innocent succulent grower than I was, didn't realize that blooming was the beginning of the end for this kind of yucca. Soon each blooming stalk would bend start losing leaves and then break off.

The picture above was taken last year. It still had some branches and looked fairly good. But you can see the big branch in front is leaning forward and turning yellow. Soon after this picture it broke off. Leaving just the few in the back. The trunk on these things have gotten huge. Just like a tree. So this year my husband and I kept contemplating what to do with them. He wanted to dig them out. You have no idea what a nightmare that would have been. I told him that if we just cut it way back it would start growing more stalks. So that is what we did.


This is what it looks like now. Lots of little babies already popping up!

Whack it back

This yucca is in the right hand corner of my back yard. We did not have to drastically cut it back as we did with the one on the left.


This one is already shooting out little babies also.

Whacking back applies to many plant and succulents. How many times have you watched your burro's tail sedum (for example) get really long and a bunch of the leaves have fallen off and left the bare stem. You keep waiting for new ones to grow back but they won't. And it actually saps some strength from the rest of the plant. So cut them off and you will be surprised how the top of that plant will take off and produce more shoots. Lot's of trailing plants and others need this kind of treatment. So don't be afraid. Whack them back!

Pink fruit

Just wanted to show you the beautiful fruit being produced by my Opuntia. I opened a fruit and it was so yummy. Lots of seeds though. I will show you that later.

Have a great and safe Labor day weekend!

It's Another Beautiful Day!


Mandy said...

Hi Candy...sorry for the delay in getting back, these puppies of ours are keeping me a little busy. I would love to send you some of my kalanchoe in exchange for some of your lovely huernia! Send me an email at and I'll send you my address. Let me know if the kalancho you're talking about is the one that is on my header picture too. I've got that one, 'Pink Butterfly' and another one that is referred to also as the 'Chandelier Plant'. Love how you can just whack them back and they if that only worked for the ones that the puppies keep pulling out of the ground/pots!!

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Hahahaha, that is so funny! Those puppy's are rascals aren't they. That is a bummer. Ok awesome I will send you a note.

Gerhard Bock said...

Candy, yikes, those yuccas are HUGE. I can't believe the trunks! What species is it? We have a yucca gloriosa in the bed next to our front door and I'm keeping an eye on that one. I don't want it to get too big.

:: Bamboo and More ::

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

You know what Gerhard I have no idea! I have tried to look it up but can't find it.

Diane AZ said...

Hi Candy, your yuccas look fantastic, really energetic in response to the cutting back! And, I love the color on those prickly pear fruit. :)

Sueli said...

Hi Candy, all is very beautiful, especially the fruit of Opuntia.
Have a nice day, Sueli.

Stephanie said...

Your yucca is so loyal ;-) I love yucca plants. Their sharp leaves are so attractive.

donna said...

Your Opuntia fruit babies are beautiful....really a gorgeous color.

The history of your Yucca is very interesting and your Whacking Technique seems to be working.

Such a pretty backyard. I never think of succulents and green grass as being compatible.

Thanks for coming back to my blog after my absence from posting.


Julie said...

I love your term "WHACK"!!! Hehehe...seems so brutel, but yet succulents seem to not mind a bit...and keep on truckin! What beautiful fruit on your prickly pear!!! Can you make it into a juice???

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Hey Julie! Well the fruit on this cactus has a lot of seeds in it. They are fairly big and not edible. I cut some open and tried to eat the fruit but it is hard to maneuver around the seeds. Maybe other varieties of prickly pear don't have as big seeds.

romance-of-roses said...

Hi Candy, My dad used to absolutely love the fruit from the Opuntia. Oh my gosh, this brings back wonderful memories of my daddy, thanks. We also ate the plant, have you ever had? cooked or raw, they are delicious, of course you have to clean it first of all those little spikes.

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Oh I am so glad I brought back old good memories for you. I have eaten opuntia but not my own. It is yummy!