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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Wednesday - March 09, 2011

From: Myrtle Beach, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Need advice about an agave that didn't survive the winter in Myrtle Beach, NC.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I live in Myrtle Beach, S.C. bought an agave big last summer and it died in the winter. Some green is showing on the bottom should I cut it all down because the whole top is dead. Thank you

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is sorry to hear of the demise of your agave. You didn't mention which agave you had, so he went to our Native Plant Database and typed in the word "agave". He found a list of 14 species of agaves that occur naturally in the US in states that are far away from North Caroliina, eg Texas, New Mexico Arizona and California, which sort of gives us a clue as to why your agave didn't survive.

Was your plant in a pot or in the ground? Potted plants are often more susceptible to cold damage than plants that are in the ground.

What to do?  If you want to try to salvage the plant, carefully remove  the dead material so that healthy tissue can regenerate. Usually the first stage is the formation of callus tissue which will give rise to new tissue. Your plant maybe too far gone, but with a little patience, you could possibly revive it.

Here is a previous answer to a question about frozen agaves, and this link to Arizona Cooperative Extension discusses help for frozen cactus plants.

 

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