En Español

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 Cacti and Succulents Questions

Bloom stalk not visibly connected to Century Plant from Johnson City, TX
July 31, 2013 - Can anyone tell my why my Century Plant is growing a bloom stalk a couple of feet away from my plant instead of up through the middle? Ive never seen one do that and it strikes me as being rather odd!
view the full question and answer

How do cacti stay in ground
February 25, 2005 - How do cacti stay in ground? I know that flowers stay in the ground by their roots but what about cacti?
view the full question and answer

Both large and small Century plants putting up stems from Cayucos CA
November 18, 2013 - I have a Century Plant that is sending up a stem. I am excited to see it bloom. I noticed that one of the small pups, about 4 inches tall, is also sending up a stem. I have not found a mention of pups...
view the full question and answer

Will the blooming stalk of my century plant eventually tip over? Yes
June 24, 2009 - I have a century plant in bloom. Will the stalk eventually tip over? Would appreciate any Internet references on the subject.
view the full question and answer

Saving frozen yuccas from North Carolina
February 23, 2013 - I live in NC and have 2 potted yucca plants on my deck. Every year I have brought them in for the winter. This year, someone told us that we could leave them out all winter. They began to die in the c...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center