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?

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
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

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

Strange form of Dasylirion sp. (sotol)
December 27, 2008 - Mr. Smarty: I have a client with a huge (2 ft. diameter trunk), multi-headed dasylirion. On one or more of the heads, the leaves arch inward instead of outward. Someone said this is because of an inju...
view the full question and answer

Trimming freeze-damaged Agave Americana in Alvarado TX
April 08, 2010 - What is the best way to trim Agave Americana cactus? The freeze this winter when it snowed has caused the leaves to die towards the bottom of the plant.
view the full question and answer

Central Texas plant to grow in cavity in cedar (Juniperus ashei)
February 27, 2010 - Is there a CenTX native that would be happy in a one-gallon cavity in a Cedar tree? I'd like to disguise an amputated limb. I'd consider a Bromeliad or Staghorn fern, but would prefer a native.
view the full question and answer

Identification of Wood from Frying Pan Ranch Near Amarillo, TX (possibly Cholla)
April 26, 2013 - I'm doing research for a museum exhibition and have been told the "holey" piece of wood from The Frying Pan Ranch near Amarillo Texas is "chollya" but I can find no information. Can you help?
view the full question and answer

Non-native jade plant from Pauline SC
August 24, 2012 - Do jade plants grow in South Carolina; if, so where?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center