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

Friday - September 06, 2013

From: Huachuca City, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Do flowers on century plants grow century plants from Huachuca City AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

The flowers on century plants: can they "grow" century plants?

ANSWER:

There are 10 plants with the common name "Century" plant native to North America, of which 5 are native to Arizona. Three of those are native to Cochise County, in southeastern Arizona. All are members of the Agave genus and 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. However, we will choose one, Agave parryi (Parry's agave), native to Cochise County, as an example to use in answering your question.

Strictly speaking, you are correct. The blooms on the agave are followed by seeds, in big black pods that appear on the bloom stalk. These seeds, if they have been pollinated by the agave moth, can be planted and will produce more agave plants. But there are other ways that the agave reproduces itself. Did you know that the agave only blooms once in its lifetime, when it is anywhere from 8 to 40 years old (not a century)? Once it has bloomed the agave, having used up all its energy making seeds, dies. So, if you want more agaves, it is important that you know how to reproduce your plants. We found an article from SF Gate Home Guide on Propagation, Growing and Planting of Agave, which we feel explains it much better than we could. We hope this answers your question.

 

From the Image Gallery


Parry's agave
Agave parryi

Parry's agave
Agave parryi

Parry's agave
Agave parryi

More Propagation Questions

Stopping erosion on bank of a Florida retention pond
July 21, 2015 - I live on a retention pond, which has had all vegetation killed by the lake doctor. As a result the bank has eroded so there is a drop off directly to the water rather than a sloping bank. What plan...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting roughleaf dogwood in Pflugerville, TX
March 28, 2007 - Hello. My rougleaf dogwood is suckering enthusiastically, and rather than mow off all the root suckers, I'd like to transplant a couple of them to the stream bank in the greenbelt behind my house. ...
view the full question and answer

Starting desert willow from seeds
September 21, 2008 - Is it better to sow or start desert willow seeds in pots? If sowing is effective, is fall or spring the best time to sow in the Canyon Lake area of Central Texas?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of indoor plants for school project
January 28, 2008 - I have an assignment for school that requires that I get two indoor plants. One has to grow in water and one has to grow in soil. Each plant needs to grow at a fast pace, and at about the same pace....
view the full question and answer

Propagation of century plants from "pups"
August 10, 2007 - I have two small century plants...about 10 inches tall...they are "pups" from an older one. one of them has three or four very small roots and the other looks like it was pulled up out of the ground...
view the full question and answer

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