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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - December 09, 2012

From: Philadelphia, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Problems with mature Blue Agave in Kenya
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a mature Agave plant and there is a thin black liquid that looks like oil starting to appear on the leaves. The plant plant seems to be dying (from the bottom up). (The plant is a blue Agave and is growing at our house in Kenya)

ANSWER:

That's interesting. How in the world did a Blue Agave get to Kenya? With all of the international restrictions on the movement of plant material, we're just surprised it made it there. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America (excluding Mexico) but to the area in North America in which they are being grown.

This article from In Search of the Blue Agave will give you far more information than we can. When reading that article, scroll down to "Diseases and Pests of the Blue Agave" where several diseases, including fusarium wilt, are described that could be the source of the problem. Also, if your agave has flowered in the last year, it is dying because it consumed a great deal of energy to flower and, like all agaves, then dies. Since it is native to neither North America nor Kenya, but rather to Mexico, we really have no idea what environmental problems there might be.

 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Twist-leaf Yucca flowering in Burnet County, TX.
June 16, 2015 - I recently moved to Burnet County and our property is full of twist leaf yuccas which are now blooming, but not all are blooming. Why do some twist leaf yuccas bloom and others don't? Are they m...
view the full question and answer

Prickly cactus in Williamson County, Texas
September 12, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Can you tell me what species of prickly pear cactus we have here in Williamson County? I see two listed as being here in Texas. One is the Plains variety and the other is ...
view the full question and answer

Yucca with halticotoma valida bugs in Burleson TX
April 18, 2010 - I have had Yucca plants in my yard for 10 years, but this year is the first time I have seen halticotoma valda, and there are thousands of them. How do I get rid of them? are they harmful to the plan...
view the full question and answer

Does cutting off the budding agave bloom save the plant from Sunrise FL
April 30, 2010 - I have an Agave(century plant) just starting its long flower stalk. I have read the mother plant will die after flowering. Can I cut off the stalk before it flowers to save the plant? If not, how do i...
view the full question and answer

When should cochineal bugs be on prickly pear cactus?
January 05, 2012 - I am a fibers artist that would like to harvest the cochineal bugs from the prickly pear cactus. I would like to know what time of year should I expect to find the cochineal bugs around the Austin ar...
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