En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - April 30, 2014

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Propagation of an agave from Dripping Springs TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi there, I have a Century Agave in my backyard. It is over 6 feet tall and is now producing the center stalk. I understand that means the plant is going to die. My question is how to harvest the pups/seeds that it is supposed to produce once it flowers at the top of the stalk ( I assume since the base plant is so large, the stalk will reach impressive heights). The plant has not put out any pups on the ground. I have heard that cutting the center stalk will release some very noxious "sap" that can potentially burn your skin, so I don't want to do that. Do I have to wait for the stalk to fall on its own in order to harvest the babies, or will they fall off onto the ground? Thanks!!

ANSWER:

We think you may be a little confused on the subject of agave propagation. There are several members of the Agavaceae family, some of which are referred to as "century plants." This has to do with the belief that they don't bloom until they are 100 years old, but it can be anywhere from 8 to 60 years.There is actually no agave native to Hays County, but many different species of the genus are grown all over Central Texas, including at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, There are 15 members of the Agavaceae family native to North America, 10 of which are native to Texas, mostly in the Big Bend section of souhwest Texas. We have chosen Agave parryi ssp. parryi (Century plant) as our example; follow that plant link to our webpage on that agave for more general information and more references.

We have many, many previous answers on the agave, please read our selections to save us from repeating ourselves. Also be sure to also follow and read any additional links in these previous answers:

Huachuca City, AZ

Fair Oaks Ranch, TX

Rye, TX (this also addresses your concern about the sap from the agave)

 

From the Image Gallery


Century plant
Agave parryi ssp. parryi

Century plant
Agave parryi ssp. parryi

Century plant
Agave parryi ssp. parryi

Century plant
Agave parryi ssp. parryi

More Propagation Questions

Making cuttings from purple sage in Austin, TX.
May 15, 2012 - I would like to plant additional purple sage for landscaping. May I do this with cuttings from an existing adult plant? If so, how and when would be the best method? I live in Lago Vista, TX
view the full question and answer

Transplanting an immature Sweet Bay Magnolia
May 30, 2006 - Hi Mr. Smarty Pants: I just found what I think is a Magnolia Sweet Bay growing wild next to an oak and a pine tree in my back wooded yard. It has blooms on it and is about 2 feet tall. There are tw...
view the full question and answer

Pollination by dwarf yaupons of normal size selections in Gadsden AL
May 31, 2009 - Can dwarf varieties of male yaupons be used to pollinate non dwarf female yaupons? Specific males in question are Shillings (Stokes Dwarf) yaupon and Bordeaux Condeaux.
view the full question and answer

Propagation of American Beautyberry
November 03, 2009 - Hello. I would love to know how to propagate the American Beauty (Texas Location) as I think it is most gorgeous. We lost most of our shrubs/plants in Ike and are replacing them. If I do these from ...
view the full question and answer

Should I remove the flowering stalk from my Dasylirion leioiphyllum?
March 23, 2009 - We transplanted a plant that is new to us but going through your photos on your website, it appears that we have a Dasylirion Leiophy. My question is this.. Are we supposed to cut the 6' stem that f...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center