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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Friday - July 26, 2013

From: Galveston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Controlling agave pups from Galveston, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Galveston, Tx.I have several large 5ft tall century plants in my yard and the pups are coming up everywhere..how do I control these??? HELP!!

ANSWER:

Here is a recent Mr. Smarty Plants question and answer that, while it is from Southern California, addresses the same problem you are having - aggressive pups. Here is an excerpt from another recent answer (we really hate retyping the same thing) on the nomenclature of century plants.

"There are 10 plants with the common name "Century" plant native to North America, of which 7 are native to Texas. None are native, nor even very close to, Montgomery County, in southeastern Texas. All are members of the Agave genus and, since your plant may not only be not native to your area, it may even be a hybrid or native to Mexico, which means it is not in our Native Plant Database at all. Here are three of the Texas natives, with maps for each from the USDA Plant Profiles, showing in which counties they are native:

Agave univittata (Maguey mezortillo) (Map) native closest to Montgomery County, in Kennedy and Starr Counties on the far southern tip of Texas.

Agave havardiana (Havard's century plant) (Map) native to to Jeff Davis, Pecos and Brewster Counties, in the West Texas Big Bend areas

Agave parryi (Parry's agave) (Map) native to Culberson, Jeff Davis and Brewster Counties, also in Big Bend Area"

If you follow the links to the USDA Plant Profile maps above, you will see that Galveston County is no closer to where these plants are native than is Montgomery County. We suspect that living down there with all that Gulf moisture available has inspired your plants to throw out lots of children.

In the first link above that we provided you, there are several more links to questions on removing the somewhat aggressive pups. We can only wish you good luck, sorry.

 

 

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