En EspaÑol

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 - 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

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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

Propagation of an agave from Dripping Springs TX
April 30, 2014 - 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...
view the full question and answer

Replanting a blue agave in Rio Rancho NM
January 11, 2010 - I have acquired a Blue Agave, approximately 4-5 ft high. It still appears quite healthy. It was used over the holiday season for display purposes in a liquor store. Unfortunately, the root ball has be...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Agave americana in Comfort TX
November 09, 2009 - We have lost a huge agave americana and are not able to find out what to do for our others. The one we lost was rotted or eaten (beetles?) at the base and the whole thing just fell over. We have a l...
view the full question and answer

Protecting agave pups in San Antonio
April 23, 2013 - I would like to share the soon to happen bloom of two century plants on my property; they are sisters planted at the same time. I am sad to know they will die but will do all that I can to protect the...
view the full question and answer

Plants for 100 gal. pot by pool from Ft. Worth TX
June 23, 2012 - What North Texas evergreen — or combination of evergreen plants, bushes or trees — could thrive in a huge, 100-gallon clay pot (immovable!) that is situated in full sun year round in an exposed area n...
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