Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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 - January 14, 2011

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Lesions on Agave Leaves in Spring Branch, Texas
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

I have a giant Agave americana that was beautiful until recently. Several of the leaves have lesions, some of them quite drastic, on the last third of the leaf. What is causing this?

ANSWER:

Boy, am I glad you only asked what the problem is rather than what to do about it, because that would have been a really hard question.

Agave americana (American century plant) is normally resistant to most diseases, but this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer gives some information on the anthracnose fungus which seems to be the most likely culprit in your situation. This fungus thrives in wet conditions which, I suspect, has been the situation where you live over the last year. Shade can also contribute to the problem.

Ok, what to do about it (hard questions don't scare Mr. Smarty Plants). Here is an article from the University of Arizona that (briefly) discusses the issue on page 7. This article, which was also cited in the previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer mentioned above, recommends removal of the affected foliage and also mentions a fungicide that can be used if that is your preference.

 

 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Protecting agave pups in San Antonio
April 23, 2013 - I would like to share the soon to happen bloom of two century plants on my property; they are sisters planted at the same time. I am sad to know they will die but will do all that I can to protect the...
view the full question and answer

Can a prickly pear cutting from Harker Heights, TX find happiness in Long Island, NY.
November 03, 2012 - Took a cutting of a prickly pear cactus from my daughters garden in Harker Heights, Tx. Her plants are 5'ht.& wt. Set it into a 10" pot with garden mix soil. Early July 2012, brought it home to Long...
view the full question and answer

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

Cleaning up Adams Needle yucca in Vancouver Island BC
May 19, 2009 - We have Adam's needle yucca's in our the flower bed of our newly purchased home here on Vancouver Island BC. They thrive and produce impressive flowers. How do I clean them up in the spring time ...
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

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