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

Friday - June 25, 2010

From: San Diego, CA
Region: California
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Cutting bloom stalk of century plant in San Diego CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My 28 yr old century plant will bloom soon. I understand it will die. Will this 30 ft stalk then likely fall? Will I need to call someone to cut the dead stalk? The base is nearly 7 ft by 6ft - no way for us to reach it with an electric saw.

ANSWER:

Yes, it is more likely that the bloom stalk will fall before the plant itself is dead. Let it bloom and set seed, it has worked all of its 28 years to do that. By then, it won't be too attractive and it could come down in wind and do damage to property or person. Someone who does tree trimming should have the kind of tool that has a long handle and a mechanism so the stalk can be cut from a distance. Knowing which way it is going to fall is going to be a problem, so we feel a professional landscaper or arborist would really be the best way to go.

 

From the Image Gallery


American century plant
Agave americana

American century plant
Agave americana

American century plant
Agave americana

Lechuguilla
Agave lechuguilla

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Thorny shrub for deterring break-ins in southeast Texas
February 05, 2013 - Looking for a very, very, thorny three or four foot tall shrub for in front of windows to deter break-ins. Considering Rosa Rugosa rose but it is not native.
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of red yucca from Lago Vista TX
April 09, 2013 - I am in Lago Vista - trying to find out why I can't get my red yucca to bloom. The first year they were great and now after two or three years - no measurable spikes have shown up. HELP!
view the full question and answer

Saving non-native sempervivum from accidental weed killer application from Nashville TN
June 15, 2012 - How to save a 'Live Forever' plant that had weed killer put on it by mistake.
view the full question and answer

Should an agave bloom stalk be cut as soon as it flowers from Corpus Christi TX
May 18, 2010 - My agave plant is flowering, with a stalk approaching 12 feet tall. Should that stalk be cut once it flowers? I am concerned about wind catching it and pulling the whole plant out of the ground. I ...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Agave americana by seed
July 11, 2007 - Dear Mr Smarty Pants, My Century Plant is fulfilling its one wish and blooming flowers from its massive stalk. Although I am very sad to see it go, it is certainly a sight to behold. This plant, ...
view the full question and answer

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