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

Identification of
July 23, 2007 - I'm trying to identify a plant and I'm having trouble doing so. The plant was called moss by my mother,but it looks like a succulent. It grows on the ground and looks like small vines with pink stem...
view the full question and answer

Tropical-looking landscape in Austin, TX
March 24, 2005 - I'd like to have a tropical-looking landscape in my front yard. What plants would you recommend for Austin, Texas? I would prefer plants that can stay outside year-round, but will take suggestions on...
view the full question and answer

Nightflowering plants native to Northern Illinois
October 12, 2010 - Looking for any/all info on night flowering plants that are native to Northern Illinois.
view the full question and answer

Yucca with halticotoma valida bugs in Burleson TX
April 18, 2010 - I have had Yucca plants in my yard for 10 years, but this year is the first time I have seen halticotoma valda, and there are thousands of them. How do I get rid of them? are they harmful to the plan...
view the full question and answer

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

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center