Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Tuesday - May 13, 2008

From: Kansas City, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Bloom on non-native Agave attenuata
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have an Agave Attenuata that has grown a long and unsightly stem.Is there a way to cut the plant portion off and re-root the plant without killing the petal portion?

ANSWER:

Are you sure you want to? Look at this page of Images of the Agave attenuata. This agave is wonderful for use in small gardens or areas where people are walking close by, because it is "unarmed". It has neither the vicious thorns not the sharp spiked leaves of the other Agaves. What you apparently have is a bloom stalk that is appearing-it can take from 10 to 20 years for the plant to bloom, and they are a stunning feature of the plant. The plant, as it grows, will drop its lower leaves until it stands on a trunk that may be 3 feet high. Then, at some point, the bloom stalk will appear. It will bloom only once, but, unlike other agaves, does not die after it blooms. You can propagate more plants from the "pups" that appear around the base of the stalk. The Agave attenuata is a native of Mexico, and we're a little surprised that you have it growing in Kansas. Even 32 deg can reduce this plant to mush. It likes some shade and it likes warmth, so we're assuming you're growing it in a sheltered spot. If the long and unsightly stem you are referring to is the trunk, the answer is no, you can't take it off the trunk and replant it, because it has no roots. Dig up the pups around the base for more plants. Here is an article from Desert Tropicals with more information.
 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Native plants for highlights in a cactus garden
March 12, 2008 - Hi, I'm looking for some groundcover (succulents or herbs), shrubs, and other perennials to plant along with the cactuses (20 or so) I got from the CDRI plant sale in Fort Davis. The most important ...
view the full question and answer

Care for century plant
June 06, 2007 - What is the best way to care for a Century Plant? We were given one as a gift and don't know what to do with it.
view the full question and answer

Trimming damaged leaves on agaves
February 05, 2009 - Some of the leaves on my agaves are damaged. Can I cut them off? If yes, how can I prevent the wound from becoming infected? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Boundary plants to control cats
June 06, 2006 - Is there a plant especially ANNOYING to cats that I could plant along my fence line to keep him away from the street beyond? It would have to be hardy enough for hot temps & full sun. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

When should cochineal bugs be on prickly pear cactus?
January 05, 2012 - I am a fibers artist that would like to harvest the cochineal bugs from the prickly pear cactus. I would like to know what time of year should I expect to find the cochineal bugs around the Austin ar...
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.