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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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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:

 

 

 

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