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

Friday - January 14, 2011

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Lesions on Agave Leaves in Spring Branch, Texas
Answered by: Mike Tomme


I have a giant Agave americana that was beautiful until recently. Several of the leaves have lesions, some of them quite drastic, on the last third of the leaf. What is causing this?


Boy, am I glad you only asked what the problem is rather than what to do about it, because that would have been a really hard question.

Agave americana (American century plant) is normally resistant to most diseases, but this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer gives some information on the anthracnose fungus which seems to be the most likely culprit in your situation. This fungus thrives in wet conditions which, I suspect, has been the situation where you live over the last year. Shade can also contribute to the problem.

Ok, what to do about it (hard questions don't scare Mr. Smarty Plants). Here is an article from the University of Arizona that (briefly) discusses the issue on page 7. This article, which was also cited in the previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer mentioned above, recommends removal of the affected foliage and also mentions a fungicide that can be used if that is your preference.



More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Survival of yucca plant mowed down in Oklahoma
April 15, 2009 - I have a yucca plant that came from a very old plant of my late father, and had transplanted it 6 years ago and it came back every year and bloomed. This morning I went outside and noticed my husband...
view the full question and answer

Night-Blooming Cereus not Blooming
September 04, 2014 - I have a plant called a night-blooming cereus, which during the warm season, is supposed to have blooms that come out at night and close up but don't fall off when morning approaches. But my cereus h...
view the full question and answer

Skin Reaction form Cochineal on Prickly Pear
February 16, 2015 - I have severe burning and peeling skin on pads of fingers after touching "white stuff" on a prickly pear. White stuff tuned purple then burned skin even after washing hands. Skin has been cracking a...
view the full question and answer

Problems with mature Blue Agave in Kenya
December 09, 2012 - I have a mature Agave plant and there is a thin black liquid that looks like oil starting to appear on the leaves. The plant plant seems to be dying (from the bottom up). (The plant is a blue Agave an...
view the full question and answer

Succulents, wildflowers and grasses for Austin
June 09, 2010 - I live on a bluff over Lake Travis and am replanting two beds in front of my driveway with Mexican Feathergrass and Agave. What other grasses or wildflowers could I mix in with the Mexican Feathergra...
view the full question and answer

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