Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
2 ratings

Tuesday - May 18, 2010

From: Corpus Christi, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Should an agave bloom stalk be cut as soon as it flowers from Corpus Christi TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My agave plant is flowering, with a stalk approaching 12 feet tall. Should that stalk be cut once it flowers? I am concerned about wind catching it and pulling the whole plant out of the ground. I understand this means the plant will die, but I don't want it to go any sooner than it has to.

ANSWER:

The Agave has been putting up magnificent bloom stalks and managing not to be pulled out of the ground for millennia. We certainly wouldn't recommend cutting the stalk until you have fully enjoyed the spectacular show. After it finishes blooming, go ahead and cut the stalk off (not an easy thing to do) because it's pretty unattractive and as it dries up, could topple over and hit something.

 

From the Image Gallery


American century plant
Agave americana

Parry's agave
Agave parryi

Parry's agave
Agave parryi ssp. neomexicana

Coastal agave
Agave shawii

Maguey mezortillo
Agave univittata

Nevada agave
Agave utahensis var. nevadensis

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Blue agave with freeze damage in Lockhart TX
March 16, 2011 - I recently planted a blue agave plant, and 4 days after I planted it the temperature dropped to 20 degrees at night. The plants are still alive but 75% of the outer limbs turned brown. What do I do wi...
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

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

Transporting a plant on airplane from New York City
April 21, 2012 - Can I transport via airplane a jade plant from New York City to Colorado in my suitcase?
view the full question and answer

Care for century plant
June 06, 2007 - What is the best way to care for a Century Plant? We were given one as a gift and don't know what to do with it.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.