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?


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 - December 09, 2008

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Use of Century Plant bloom as indoor decoration
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Mr. Smarty Pants, After living in Arizona and now San Antonio, I am in search of a Century Plant Bloom. I cannot have an evergreen because my cats climb them. I would shellac the stalk and blooms and place it in a weighted pot with rocks. Any ideas?


An interesting question, but unfortunately, no, we really have no idea where you could obtain a mature bloom of a Century Plant. There are several agaves that have "Century Plant" in their common names. You didn't say which agave you had in mind, but we have picked two, Agave americana (American century plant) and Agave parryi ssp. parryi (Parry's agave), links on which you will find some basic information about the species. Also, a couple of pictures may help you visualize what is involved. Because it is native to a very difficult desert environment, it takes anywhere from 8 to 40 years (not really a century) for an agave to accumulate enough energy to bloom, and it's considered quite an event when one does make it. Once it has bloomed, the bloom stalk will dry and the plant itself will begin to shrivel, turn dark and die.The bloom is very large, and the stalk can range from 12 to 40 feet tall. It would be difficult to remove the bloom from the plant, and even more difficult to transport, so it's doubtful that any commercial operation would provide that sort of service. Of course, we're sure you know that you couldn't remove one from private or park property without the express permission of the landowner. Preserving plants is out of our area of expertise, but we would say if you examine the pictures we have found of blooming agaves, you'll see that the blooms appear fairly fragile, and look like they would drop off with handling. 

Agave americana

Agave parryi ssp. parryi

Agave parryi ssp. parryi

Agave parryi ssp. parryi




More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Plants for pool area in Florida
May 09, 2008 - My husband and I have a pool with 4 planters and are looking for plants that we can put into our screened in pool area. We live in Central Florida and looking for ideas of plants that are slow growin...
view the full question and answer

Specimen evergreen for sun in Central Texas
August 28, 2010 - I'm soliciting suggestions for a specimen plant for a new garden we're building. It will be planted in a 3' square raised (18") Limestone bed. It will be full sun, Western exposure, and relative...
view the full question and answer

Is a yucca going to have a stalk from Sylvania OH
March 15, 2012 - Hi, I was wondering if the stalk on a yucca plant grows back every year after it is cut off? How to tell if it is going to have a stalk because some of my yucca's do not have one? Thank you for your ...
view the full question and answer

Winter care of succulents from Bethlehem PA
September 09, 2012 - We live in the northeast and we used succulents on our deck this summer because nothing else would survive the intense heat. How can I save these beautiful plants through a cold winter? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Sap from agave causing reactions from Edgewater FL
April 06, 2012 - Not only was I stuck with the century plant thorns and needle like ends when I was digging up its pups, but I also broke the carrot-like root of a few when I was transplanting and got the white sap on...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center