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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Moving Century plants in Norwalk CA
September 15, 2009 - I have two large Century plants that are each 10 1/2 years old. One is 4'x5' tall and wide with about 8-10 small shoots. The smaller in about 3 1/2'x 5' with about 6 shoots. They've grown too l...
view the full question and answer

Source for Century Plant in Wilmington NC
June 24, 2012 - Where can I buy a Century plant in the Wilmington NC area?
view the full question and answer

Damage to Agave in New Braunfels, TX
August 21, 2008 - In a flower box, I have an Agave on which the leaves have been damaged. It looks as if a deer rubbed his antlers on it. Is there any animal in south central Texas that would try to eat an agave?
view the full question and answer

Mulching Spring Bulbs in Upstate NY
October 25, 2010 - Just planted tulip bulbs for Spring. The Parks Department then put 4 inches of mulch on top. Will the tulips be able to get through and bloom come Spring? Is mulch a good winterizer for them? Indoor c...
view the full question and answer

Need plants to replace cedars on a 40 degree slope in Boerne, TX.
August 28, 2012 - My backyard is a roughly 40 degree slope that is covered with cedars. The slope is basically all rock, what can I grow here to replace the cedar which drink too much water. I would still like the area...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center