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
1 rating

Monday - April 16, 2012

From: San Diego, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives, Pruning, Seeds and Seeding, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Seeds of agave attenuata from San Diego CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

After the agave attenuata bloom dried up there are seeds like thing hanging on the foxtail; do I leave it until it dies or do I chop that down. Are those seeds for propagation. The leaves of the plant seems to die off. Is that the end of the life for that agave. If I cut, where should I cut.

ANSWER:

Agave attenuata (foxtail agave) is native to Central Mexico and apparently somewhat rare in its native habitat. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants grow natively.

Since this plant will not be in our Native Plant Database, we will try to find you some articles that can answer your questions.

From Desert Tropicals Fox Tail Agave

The best article we found was from cactus-art-biz on Agave attenuata. This should answer most of your questions, including the fact that, yes, when the stalk has finished blooming, the whole plant will die, but it will leave behind "pups" that can be used for propagation.

Here is another very complete article Introduction to Agaves from Dave's Garden. Scroll down the page and you will find some pictures and discussion of Agave attenuata.

Pictures:

 

 

 

More Pruning Questions

Branching on plants
March 14, 2008 - Hi Mr SmartyPlants, I would like to cause my cerus peruvinesus (sp?) to branch low to the ground and another plant to branch higher up..what causes branching & how can I duplicate this?
view the full question and answer

Removing fading blooms from iris
June 19, 2007 - Iris maintenance: when blooms begin to fade do I pluck off just the bloom? cut off the entire stalk? leave it alone? Some blooms grow on stalks without leaves and some on stalks with leaves.
view the full question and answer

Need advice for pruning a young Bur Oak tree in Austin, TX.
November 02, 2010 - I grew a beautiful bur oak from seed, and three years later it is now taller than I am. I hate to cut anything off this tree and hurt it, but there are two branches that are rubbing together and growi...
view the full question and answer

Maintenance of Bicolor Sage in Austin
February 05, 2009 - I had quite a bit of Bicolor Sage planted when my yard was landscaped. I am now wondering on the proper plant maintenance. Do I prune back and if so, how much and when do I prune?
view the full question and answer

Pruning Texas Mountain Laurel
September 04, 2014 - I've had a Texas mountain laurel for 4 years that's being trained into a tree. I think it was a 3-year old tree when I purchased it. Unfortunately, it has suffered from overwatering, and the two mai...
view the full question and answer

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