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

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

How to prune Opuntia ellisiana in Decatur, GA.
August 20, 2009 - Hi Mr SP--How do I go about pruning an Opuntia ellisiana? I have saws, newspaper, heavy leather gloves, goggles, etc. But my question is more about what section of the plant to cut. The base has de...
view the full question and answer

Preserving century plant bloom stalk from Sedona AZ
December 16, 2012 - I have the flower stalk from a century plant which I am using as a Christmas tree. Can you advise me as to what I should do to preserve it for future use? Should it be kept indoors or outdoors. Pro...
view the full question and answer

Need advice about an agave that didn't survive the winter in Myrtle Beach, NC.
March 09, 2011 - I live in Myrtle Beach, S.C. bought an agave big last summer and it died in the winter. Some green is showing on the bottom should I cut it all down because the whole top is dead. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Starting yucca from seed from Austin
December 24, 2012 - I would like to start a soft leaf yucca recurvifolia from seed. Is that possible? Also, I've looked for seed on dried flower stalks, and I'm not sure that what I'm finding is the seed, and I ...
view the full question and answer

Pollinating moth of Arkansas Yucca from Arlington TX
May 15, 2012 - What is the pollinating moth of the Arkansas yucca. I have Desert willows which is the larval host for white-winged moth, but the yuccas are still not seeding. What other larval hosts plants can I p...
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