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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - June 24, 2012

From: N. Topsail Beach, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Source for Century Plant in Wilmington NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Where can I buy a Century plant in the Wilmington NC area?

ANSWER:

There are 9 different species of the genus Agave that are referred to as "century" plants. This has reference to the fact that this plant lives for anywhere from 8 to 40 years (not a century) before it blooms, after which it dies. None of the agaves are native to North Carolina, not even close. Arbitrarily, we will choose Agave parryi ssp. parryi (Century plant) as an example. It grows natively in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas in desert conditions, which probably explains why you are having trouble locating some place that sells it. Follow the plant link to our webpage on this plant, where you will learn it gets really BIG, spiny and unforgiving.

To locate a plant in your area, you will need to find a merchant specializing in succulents and cacti. Even then, they may mostly stock succulents and miniature cacti for indoor use, which the Agave is not.

However, since you ask, go to our National Suppliers Directory, type your town and state or zip code in the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape consultants in your general area. All have contact information, so you can call before you start shopping.

 

From the Image Gallery


Century plant
Agave parryi ssp. parryi

Century plant
Agave parryi ssp. parryi

Century plant
Agave parryi ssp. parryi

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