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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - March 12, 2013

From: Phoenix, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Cacti and Succulents
Title: What to do with agave after it blooms from Phoenix AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello! I have 2 century plants in the process of blooming. How exciting!! I've never really seen it before. Anyway, what do I then do with the dying/dead plant. Simply dig it up and trash it? Thanks for your help Karen

ANSWER:

There are 9 different species of the genus Agave that are referred to as "century" plants. This has reference to the fact that this plant lives for anywhere from 8 to 40 years (not a century) before it blooms, after which it dies. . Arbitrarily, we will choose Agave parryi ssp. parryi (Century plant) as an example. It grows natively in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas in desert conditions. Follow the plant link to our webpage on this plant, where you will learn it gets really BIG, spiny and unforgiving.

The agave dies after it blooms because it has dedicated all of its energy to producing the blooms, and then the seeds. Yes, after it is thoroughly dead, you will want to dig it up and dispose of it. However, from this previous Mr. Smarty Plants you can get information on how to propagate, and therefore perpetuate, your agave from the offshoots around it. And notice also in that article the cautions about working around the old plant and disposal of the remains.

 

From the Image Gallery


Century plant
Agave parryi ssp. parryi

Century plant
Agave parryi ssp. parryi

Century plant
Agave parryi ssp. parryi

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Blue agave with freeze damage in Lockhart TX
March 16, 2011 - I recently planted a blue agave plant, and 4 days after I planted it the temperature dropped to 20 degrees at night. The plants are still alive but 75% of the outer limbs turned brown. What do I do wi...
view the full question and answer

Will a cut back yucca grow back in Lockbourne OH?
October 28, 2009 - I live in Ohio and recently I cut back all my plants to prepare for winter. I am wondering if my Yuccas will grow back. I cut them to ground level so only a little bit of the leaf is showing. I was...
view the full question and answer

Plants for pool area in Florida
May 09, 2008 - My husband and I have a pool with 4 planters and are looking for plants that we can put into our screened in pool area. We live in Central Florida and looking for ideas of plants that are slow growin...
view the full question and answer

How to remove plume from Yucca elephantipes in NJ?
August 02, 2011 - In Manahawkin, NJ, how do we cut plume (2" diameter) off 10' Yucca elephantipes?
view the full question and answer

Worms found in Agave used in tequila
February 06, 2008 - Hi, I am a writer and have been trying to find some referenced information regarding the moth larvae/'worms' associated with Agave and some mezcal beverages - specifically, Hypopta agavis, Aegiale ...
view the full question and answer

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