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 - 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

Worms in non-native snake plant from Hillsborough NC
September 17, 2011 - I purchased a snake plant this summer for my screened in porch. I did not repot it and left it in the plastic pot in came it. I was about to repot the plant to bring it in and noticed there are worm...
view the full question and answer

Growing Variegated Century Plants in Portugal
February 09, 2011 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants, I am contacting you from Portugal, because of century plant(Agave americana). I had one of that plants and I collected the seeds, which I planted, but I am quite disappointed ...
view the full question and answer

Century plant leaves falling over from San Antonio
April 10, 2013 - Have a large century plant about % feet tall. The leaves are falling over. Can you tell me what to do to avoid this.
view the full question and answer

Mulching Spring Bulbs in Upstate NY
October 25, 2010 - Just planted tulip bulbs for Spring. The Parks Department then put 4 inches of mulch on top. Will the tulips be able to get through and bloom come Spring? Is mulch a good winterizer for them? Indoor c...
view the full question and answer

Loss of agaves to freezing weather in Austin
March 04, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I live in Austin and lost all my agaves in the subfreezing weather this winter. Around town, I've noticed some agaves that seemed to tolerate the cold just fine and other tha...
view the full question and answer

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