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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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Sunday - May 01, 2011

From: Carson, CA
Region: California
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Agave with large stem growing
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

It is a large stem growing from my agave plant in the middle of it. It looks scary and ugly, what is it? Is it poisonous? Is it rare? It gets taller and taller everyday, what to cut it.

ANSWER:

Congratulations!  Your agave is about to have a blossom.  This is both good news and bad news.   This means that your agave is going to make seeds for a new generation of plants, but it also means that your present agave will die.   That's just what they do and there isn't anything you can do to stop it from happening.  There should be 'pups' (small new agaves) beginning to grow around the large plant that will grow into new plants.  Here are some links to other questions we have had about the process of blooming and dying for agaves:

#5463

#4082

#1427

Enjoy the beautiful bloom that your agave produces and then enjoy watching the 'pups' grow and bloom in their own time.

 

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