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 - September 06, 2013

From: Huachuca City, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Do flowers on century plants grow century plants from Huachuca City AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

The flowers on century plants: can they "grow" century plants?

ANSWER:

There are 10 plants with the common name "Century" plant native to North America, of which 5 are native to Arizona. Three of those are native to Cochise County, in southeastern Arizona. All are members of the Agave genus and your plant may not only be not native to your area, it may even be a hybrid or native to Mexico, which means it is not in our Native Plant Database at all. However, we will choose one, Agave parryi (Parry's agave), native to Cochise County, as an example to use in answering your question.

Strictly speaking, you are correct. The blooms on the agave are followed by seeds, in big black pods that appear on the bloom stalk. These seeds, if they have been pollinated by the agave moth, can be planted and will produce more agave plants. But there are other ways that the agave reproduces itself. Did you know that the agave only blooms once in its lifetime, when it is anywhere from 8 to 40 years old (not a century)? Once it has bloomed the agave, having used up all its energy making seeds, dies. So, if you want more agaves, it is important that you know how to reproduce your plants. We found an article from SF Gate Home Guide on Propagation, Growing and Planting of Agave, which we feel explains it much better than we could. We hope this answers your question.

 

From the Image Gallery


Parry's agave
Agave parryi

Parry's agave
Agave parryi

Parry's agave
Agave parryi

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Transplanting yucca pups from Dallas
September 01, 2010 - Can I transplant Pup Yucca plants off of the main yucca and how do I cut them off?
view the full question and answer

Replacement for Spanish Dagger from Georgetown TX
June 22, 2011 - I have a Spanish Dagger plant in my garden which appears to be dying. Where can I purchase a replacement for this plant? The Spanish Dagger I have is close to 10 feet tall. What is the best way t...
view the full question and answer

Source for DNA sequencing of Opuntia species
March 04, 2014 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I am trying to do a Opuntia speciation study, and rather just identifying the species by morphological comparison, I would also like to go a little deeper by comparing the DNA...
view the full question and answer

Yucca filamentosa suffering from damp feet in Houston
February 09, 2012 - Last year, I planted three enormous and gorgeous Yucca Filamentosa in my backyard. Two are thriving but the third started turning yellow then brown from the bottom up after a few weeks of rains. S...
view the full question and answer

What to do about cold damage to spineless prickly pear?
March 05, 2010 - In Austin, Texas our 'spineless' prickly pear cactus is about 6' wide by 4' tall. In the last severe freeze, the top half flattened out and has remained that way. Should I cut the flattened pads o...
view the full question and answer

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