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
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


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


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 Propagation Questions

Can two species of Muhlenbergia be cross-pollinated from Portal AZ
July 17, 2012 - Will Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Big Muhly) cross-pollinate with Muhlenbergia porteri (Bush Muhly)? I am attempting to restore the grasslands on my private property to a pre-1900 state. Bush Muhly was a...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on potted plants
May 23, 2005 - How do you know when it is time to transfer a potted plant to a bigger pot? Everytime I do this my plant dies.
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Century Plant in St. Petersburg FL
view the full question and answer

Propagation of myrtle in Wapperger Falls, NY
September 01, 2009 - How do you propagate myrtle?
view the full question and answer

Time to plant echinacea seeds in Austin
March 28, 2010 - When should I plant echinacea seeds in Austin?
view the full question and answer

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