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

Wednesday - June 24, 2009

From: Orlando, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pruning, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Will the blooming stalk of my century plant eventually tip over? Yes
Answered by: Jimmy Mills and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have a century plant in bloom. Will the stalk eventually tip over? Would appreciate any Internet references on the subject.

ANSWER:

There are eight Agave species in our NPIN Database that  have century plant as part of their common name. I'm going to assume that you are referring to the American Century Plant Agave americana (American century plant) because of its spectacular flowering stalk. It is one of a group of plants that dies after it blooms. Plants with this reproductive strategy are known as monocarpic, i.e., they flower and produce fruit only once in their lifetime and then die.

Will it tip over? That depends on what you mean my "tip over."  If you're asking if it will someday fall over if not cut down first, the answer is yes.  Dead Agave flower stalks can sometimes stand for up to a year after flowering, but there is no guarantee that one won't come down much more quickly in a strong wind.  The inflorescences (flower stalks) of some agaves can top out at 40 feet.  When they fall, they can do some damage to whatever they fall on, so its a good idea to enjoy them for awhile and then remove the dead stalk in a safe manner. 

So after your plant has completed blooming, it will die. However, there should be "pups" around the  base of the plant that can be planted and will grow into a mature plants.

For more information, go to the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page and type "century plant" in the Keyword Search slot. This will bring up numerous previous questions about century plants.


Agave americana

 

 


 

 

 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Smarty Plants on bio-security
June 11, 2005 - Hello, My friend and I are summer interns at the Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve Site in Freeport, Texas. Our jobs as the interns is to find a plant that is friendly to the animals around our...
view the full question and answer

Possibly non-native succulent identification
March 27, 2008 - My mother has a plant that grows on a stalk, 2.5' tall, leaves are about 4-5" on the mature plant. The leaves are scalloped on the edges and seeds grown in the scallops & fall off and make new plan...
view the full question and answer

Agave americana/Century Plant care and life cycle.
June 10, 2009 - How often do century plants bloom? Do you have info on how to care for them?
view the full question and answer

Do flowers on century plants grow century plants from Huachuca City AZ
September 06, 2013 - The flowers on century plants: can they "grow" century plants?
view the full question and answer

Repotting non-native Agave ghiesbreghtii from Spring TX
June 03, 2012 - I've recently purchased an Agave ghiesbreghtii, and will need to re-pot it soon. I have some cactus soil mix as well as a few rocks to put in the bottom of its new pot. There seem to be roots comi...
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