the show

Wild About Wildflowers

encore date: April 28, 2016

original air date: April 30, 2016

Just because a plant is native doesn’t mean we’re off the hook to water. Andrea DeLong-Amaya from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center explains when to turn on the hose.  Daphne’s Plant of the Week, drought lover silvery globe mallow attracts pollinators to its tiny cup-shaped flowers. And find out when and how to move yuccas. John styles up hanging baskets with native plants. In Blanco, Sheryl Smith-Rodgers and James Hearn scrapped most of the lawn for dynamic wildlife habitat with native plants and a pocket prairie.


Episode Segments

On Tour

Blanco Native Plant Garden and Pocket Prairie

In Blanco, Sheryl Smith-Rodgers and James Hearn scrapped most of the lawn for dynamic wildlife habitat with native plants and a pocket prairie. One rock and one garden at a time, they turned lifeless land into a Certified Backyard Habitat and Wildlife Habitat Demonstration site. In her blog, Window on a Texas Wildscape, Sheryl documents how she rescued valuable native plants, including many species of milkweed.


Watch more "On Tour" videos on YouTube →

Question of the Week

When and how to move a yucca?

Thanks to David Fuller for this great question!  He wants to know: when to move a yucca and should it be given time to harden off, like with an agave or cactus.

Most yuccas are pretty tough and should easily survive being transplanted. As with other plants, dig as much of the root ball as possible, taking care not to break the plant while prying it from the ground.

If your yucca has been in the ground for a while, it may be quite a challenge to get it pulled up, and you may break the stem off if you aren’t careful.

Some of the roots will be large and may need to be cut, which will leave a wound, and you’ll need to give that wound time to heal before you stick it in the ground. Even if you don’t cut any large roots and you don’t notice any sap, the smaller roots that get broken also need a little time to heal. A day or two is normally plenty, and unlike other plants, most succulents can easily survive this time out of the ground, since they have stored water and nutrients available.

When you cut a succulent, whether the root, stem, or leaves, it will ooze sap, which contains sugars. And those sugars are a very attractive food source for soil fungi and other microbes, so you want to allow the plant to seal that wound before you put it back in the soil. If you like, you could dust the cut surface with a light application of fungicide, to be extra safe. Products containing sulfur, copper, or neem oil, which are labeled as acceptable for organic use, will all work fine.

There usually aren’t many issues with transplant shock on plants as tough as yuccas, agaves, and cacti, if you can get the plant out of the ground in one piece, and that is really the most challenging part.

The main issue that I hear about moving yuccas is not any problems with the plant that gets moved, but with the parts of the plant that are left behind. Those thick, succulent roots are extremely capable of regrowth, so there will most likely be reemergence from the original plant in the original spot, since it’s doubtful you’ll be able to get all the underground pieces when you dig it up. So if the transplant does happen to die for some reason, you may have some offshoots back in the original spot before too long. If you happen to want more plants, that would be a good thing, I suppose, but if you no longer want any trace of the yucca to remain in its original spot, it may take a while and considerable effort  to remove enough of the roots to completely keep it from coming back.


Watch more Question of the Week videos on YouTube →

Plant of the Week

Globe Mallow

Globe Mallow

Sphaeralcea ambigua

Globe mallow, also known at desert mallow and apricot mallow is a Southwestern native perennial. Although shrubby, it stays fairly small—usually to about a foot and half wide and tall, but it can get double that size, if conditions are right. Globe mallow is native to dry, hot desert regions, and easily survives those harsh conditions, making it a great low-water, easy care choice for Central Texas xeriscapes, and other areas that have hot, dry summers. Although it doesn’t need much supplemental water, in its native habitat, the best growth and brightest floral displays occur in “rainy years.” The leaves are hairy and light green, giving the plant an overall grayish appearance, except for the shockingly bright flowers, which are most commonly orange, but sometimes apricot, and occasionally leaning towards the reddish or pinkish end of the spectrum. Plant globe mallow in full sun in very well-drained, even rocky soil, and water sparingly once established. As a perennial, the top growth will die back most years, but even if it doesn’t, it will benefit from a shearing from late fall through winter, to encourage fresh new growth. Globe mallow virtually thrives on neglect, so avoid clay soil, and be careful not to overwater, especially when temperatures are cool or mild. Our Viewer Pick comes from Allison Floyd of Harker Heights who found this cute green tree frog in her basil. Allison says that she doesn’t live near water, but frogs and toads seem to flock to her yard.  Thanks to Marc Opperman from the Capital Area Master Naturalists for his ID!