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

Saturday - April 20, 2013

From: Jacksonville, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Propagation, Pruning
Title: Century Plant
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have a century plant that has just begun to bloom. I have a transplanted a few pups, successfully. I am wondering how I am to go about removing the mother plant once it blooms and dies. I'm reading that the sap can cause severe reactions. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:

Congratulations on transplanting your agave (century plant) pups successfully. Agaves summon up energy to bloom and then subsequently die anywhere between 8 and 40 years, (the 100 years is a misnomer) will produce new plants (pups) that can be gently removed and replanted. Handling the pups and the mother plant takes some muscle and a lot of care as the large parent leaves have long, sharp spines that are very dangerous if they get close to skin or eyes. Once the mother plant has bloomed and the pups removed and transplanted it is time to tackle the parent plant. Leather gloves, long sleeves and pants will protect your skin from the sap. The parent plant can be chopped or cut into manageable sized pieces with an ax or tree saw. Start by taking off the outer leaves and when enough have been removed then carefully tip the plant over so that you can work on the rest. Try to remove most of the woodiest part of the root too. Retrieve any additional pups you find and transplant them too.

Here are some previous Mr. Smarty Plant answers about removing the pups and transplanting them if you need some additional suggestions. Also some information about preserving the flower stalk.

 

From the Image Gallery


Parry's agave
Agave parryi

Parry's agave
Agave parryi

Parry's agave
Agave parryi

More Pruning Questions

Will the blooming stalk of my century plant eventually tip over? Yes
June 24, 2009 - I have a century plant in bloom. Will the stalk eventually tip over? Would appreciate any Internet references on the subject.
view the full question and answer

Replacing non-native boxwood in Austin
October 03, 2011 - I have a large maze garden, possibly boxwood, originally planted in the 1950's, in Austin, Texas. About 1/3 of it has died out, probably due to drought, heat and age. Should I attempt to replant ju...
view the full question and answer

Trimmng and fertilizing yucca
September 07, 2007 - Should I cut the stalks of the Yucca that have already bloomed or wait until they dry? How often should I fertilize?
view the full question and answer

Problems with Blackfoot Daisy from Lewisville, TX
April 23, 2013 - I planted a row of Melampodium leucanthum (Blackfoot Daisy) last spring at the front of the front yard, next to the sidewalk. It's full sun, east facing, unamended black clay gumbo soil. I put mulc...
view the full question and answer

Making Ruellia nudiflora thicker in pot from Tucson AZ
June 25, 2012 - Can Ruellia Nudiflora be propagated in the same pot as the parent plant? Can it be cut back to stimulate a denser plant? I have plants in several pots and would like to 'thicken' the plant. Tha...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center