Contact Us Host an Event 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 - June 13, 2007

From: Pascagoula, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Crown rot in Agave americana
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My Century Plant's leaves get soft toward the base and eventually fall over and I have to cut them off. What causes this?

ANSWER:

It sounds as if your Agave americana (American century plant) has crown rot, probably from overwatering and/or inadequate drainage. The rot itself is caused by bacteria or fungus that enter the plants through wounds. In the desert bacteria may be introduced by weevils but that may or may not be the case for your plant in Mississippi. You should check the plant carefully for the agave weevil (it looks a lot like a boll weevil). If you find them, you should remove them and you might consider treating the plant with an environmentally-friendly pesticide. Most likely, yours is a fungal infection from overwatering and poor drainage. In that case, reduce your watering significantly and treat with an environmentally-friendly fungicide and hope for the best. You can read more about care for Agave.

 

From the Image Gallery


American century plant
Agave americana

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Plants that are deer resistant for high desert climate in Utah
January 23, 2008 - We are building in a high desert climate in Dammeron Valley, Utah. We want plants that are both deer resistant and require little watering. Can you advise which plants (shrubs, flowers, cacti) that ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for full sun in Austin
April 03, 2009 - I am looking for a tough, native TX plant to put in full sun location between the sidewalk and street. I would love for it to flower all summer. There is some irrigation but not much. I don't want ...
view the full question and answer

Possibly non-native succulent identification
March 27, 2008 - My mother has a plant that grows on a stalk, 2.5' tall, leaves are about 4-5" on the mature plant. The leaves are scalloped on the edges and seeds grown in the scallops & fall off and make new plan...
view the full question and answer

Reasons to leave a century plant in place in Florida
November 01, 2010 - Can you please list ALL the reasons to leave a century plant (as opposed to cutting it way back or removing it) in the wilds of the sand dunes on the coast of Florida, other than its prominent beauty?
view the full question and answer

Selenicereus anthonyanus, Rickrack or Fishbone Cactus
February 28, 2007 - A friend of mine gave me a plant he said was a rick rack plant. I have tried to research it on line with no luck and I don't know the scientific name...any help?
view the full question and answer

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