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Sunday - September 21, 2014

From: Willis, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Transplants, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Need help with century plant in Willis, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Ok so I have two gorgeously monstrous century plants in my yard..I love em BUT I don't know if the have ever bloomed but since I am removing pups as fast as I can during the rainy season I'm assuming it has already.. My question is how to treat the parent plant and pups since parent seems to still be doing pretty well a little die off on the center but that's it and how much so I cut away of a pups root can I split the root to make several separate plants.. I'm a total novice with the gardening this being my first year with a yard and much of what I've learned is from how to gardening books and the internet :) (I realize I've asked about 20 questions sorry:/) Thanks ever so much for any tips hints or advice!

ANSWER:

Ok so there are 9 different Agave species native to the US that have “century plant” as part of their common name; seven of those occur in Texas. The name of the species that you have is not terribly important, because they mostly behave similarly. Three of the more spectacular Texas examples in my view are:

Agave americana (American century plant)

Agave havardiana (Havard's century plant)

Agave parryi ssp. parryi (Century plant)


As to flowering, if your plants had flowered, you would know about it. The plant sends up massive flowering stalk as much as 15 feet tall from the center of the plant. Once flowering is done, the whole plant slowly dies.

The pups are a means of vegetative reproduction, and can be separated from the “parent plant”. This needs to be done carefully while avoiding the sharp-spine tipped leaves. This link to Birds and Blooms tells you how to do this.

Good luck, and be careful.

 

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