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
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


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.


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.





More Non-Natives Questions

Is Sucissa pratensis (Devil's bit scabious) allelopathic?
July 04, 2013 - Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center pointed me to you. Can you comment on Devil's Bit Scabious? A neighbor pointed out these volunteer plants in my yard and wants me to kill them. He called them Devi...
view the full question and answer

Pruning a non-native Hinoki cypress from Denver NC
July 08, 2011 - Hi! Our painters have asked that we trim the Golden Hinoki Cypress back from the house. The tree is about 20' tall, beautiful and healthy. Since it is July and therefore, HOT! I'm wondering how t...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native hibiscus in Buckeye, AZ
June 26, 2009 - We have been having problems with our hibiscus plants. They are planted near 3 queen palms behind our pool. All were planted new three years ago. Early in the spring we had two just suddenly start dry...
view the full question and answer

Plant mistakes from Cedar Park, TX
April 09, 2014 - At our "Wilts End" in Cedar Park, TX. and are looking for a tall shrub/tree that will hide a 6-ft tall concrete wall and muffle the noise from a busy street. The wall forms a very wide-angled V shap...
view the full question and answer

Non-native house plants stressed from Allen TX
July 30, 2011 - I have three house plants that were plants I received from my father's funeral services. They were healthy for about two years and then we added some soil and now they are turning brown and appear t...
view the full question and answer

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