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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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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!

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Sunday - December 09, 2012

From: Philadelphia, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Problems with mature Blue Agave in Kenya
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a mature Agave plant and there is a thin black liquid that looks like oil starting to appear on the leaves. The plant plant seems to be dying (from the bottom up). (The plant is a blue Agave and is growing at our house in Kenya)

ANSWER:

That's interesting. How in the world did a Blue Agave get to Kenya? With all of the international restrictions on the movement of plant material, we're just surprised it made it there. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America (excluding Mexico) but to the area in North America in which they are being grown.

This article from In Search of the Blue Agave will give you far more information than we can. When reading that article, scroll down to "Diseases and Pests of the Blue Agave" where several diseases, including fusarium wilt, are described that could be the source of the problem. Also, if your agave has flowered in the last year, it is dying because it consumed a great deal of energy to flower and, like all agaves, then dies. Since it is native to neither North America nor Kenya, but rather to Mexico, we really have no idea what environmental problems there might be.

 

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