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

Wednesday - May 02, 2007

From: Ooltewah, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: General Botany, Cacti and Succulents
Title: 20 years to bloom
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

My girlfriend and i have come up with an interesting question, we were wondering if there is a plant in existance that takes over 20 years to bloom, and how many different kinds (if any) there are? We have bien pondering this for quite some time now and we can't figure out what to search for, any help would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:

There are a large number of plants that take over twenty years to bloom. For example, many Agaves typically bloom every 8 to 20 years. The plant produces a single flower stalk 10 feet tall during the spring or summer and then dies. Colonies are maintained by "pups" or offsets that grow from the base of parent plants. Many species of bamboo can take even longer to bloom. Bamboo goes from 20 to over 100 years between flowering. Try searching the web for "Century Plant" or "Bamboo" to learn more about these species.

 

From the Image Gallery


Parry's agave
Agave parryi

Havard's century plant
Agave havardiana

Maguey mezortillo
Agave univittata

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

How to remove plume from Yucca elephantipes in NJ?
August 02, 2011 - In Manahawkin, NJ, how do we cut plume (2" diameter) off 10' Yucca elephantipes?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on bio-security
June 11, 2005 - Hello, My friend and I are summer interns at the Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve Site in Freeport, Texas. Our jobs as the interns is to find a plant that is friendly to the animals around our...
view the full question and answer

Will a cut back yucca grow back in Lockbourne OH?
October 28, 2009 - I live in Ohio and recently I cut back all my plants to prepare for winter. I am wondering if my Yuccas will grow back. I cut them to ground level so only a little bit of the leaf is showing. I was...
view the full question and answer

Need advice about an agave that didn't survive the winter in Myrtle Beach, NC.
March 09, 2011 - I live in Myrtle Beach, S.C. bought an agave big last summer and it died in the winter. Some green is showing on the bottom should I cut it all down because the whole top is dead. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Is a Texas Mountain Laurel too messy for swimming pool area?
November 24, 2008 - Our landscaper has recommended a Texas Mountain Laurel to plant beside our swimming pool. We recently removed Cherry Laurels from the same location because of the mess they made in the pool (especiall...
view the full question and answer

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