WU member since Oct. 2005. I enjoy reading, crafts, crosswords, puttering in the yard, old movies and hanging out with my friends on WU.
By: palmettobug53, 10:51 PM GMT on May 22, 2013
I discovered a few weeks ago that my century plant ( Agave Americana ) was starting to send up a flower spike.
Despite the name, these plants generally bloom around 20-30 years or so, depending on their growing conditions. I've had mine about 20 years, I suppose. I got a 'pup' from my (then) neighbor across the street.
Frankly, if I'd known more about this plant, I probably wouldn't have done that. It gets BIG. It has needle sharp 2-3 inch spikes at the end of each leaf and rows of shark-like teeth down the leave edges. I have sliced myself open more than once on that thing.
It is not a good plant to have around children and pets. Someone could put an eye out, not to mention cutting themselves. I was a bundle of nerves when the girls next door were toddlers!
You really need a very large yard to plant a century plant. Preferably, you should have a back 40, where you can put it safely away from everyone. Our yard is just too small for this monster.
I've also recently discovered that, when you cut this plant, the fresh sap can give you a rash that is reportedly worse than poison ivy. When I think of the times I've sawed off lower leaves wearing nothing but shorts, tank top and flip flops.... I guess I've just been lucky that I never touched the raw edges.
I always handled everything very gingerly, anyway, so that I wouldn't get cut on the spikes and teeth. Thank God I didn't take a chain saw to it, like one fellow that posted in the forum at Dave's Garden. Sheesh.......
Anyhoo, today when I got home, I spotted the first knob of a branch starting to peep out from behind one of the top 'leaves' on the stalk.
It's starting! It's really starting!
I am not adept with digital cameras, so I am not posting daily or weekly pics. I have been taking some shots about once a week with a little Kodak disposable but I can't post anything until the roll is developed and I get the disk. The blooming process is a loooooong one.
Once the plant blooms, the parent plant dies. It is perpetuated by all the pups that come up around the base. Mine has a TON of pups, all armed to the teeth. The end will be messy and it is going to be a lot of work cutting it all down and grubbing up the pups.
I'm getting rid of it all.
It's been an experience having one. It will be fun watching it bloom. But I don't care to go through it again! Once is enough.
Since it will be a while before I can post any photos of mine, you can peruse the photo journal that Anders Tomlinson posted last year, when his century plant bloomed: Century Spire.
Mine will progress exactly like his did, so you can get the picture. The only difference will be the types of birds. We only have rubythroats here and no orioles. I expect to see plenty of bees.
Updated: 4:52 PM GMT on June 18, 2013
By: palmettobug53, 9:55 PM GMT on May 01, 2013
If I can't come up with a serious blog entry, it's time to do something silly!
Nothing To Do?
Nothing to do? Nothing to do?
Put some mustard in your shoe,
Fill your pockets full of soot,
Drive a nail into your foot,
Put some sugar in your hair,
Place your toys upon the stair,
Smear some jelly on the latch,
Eat some mud and strike a match,
Draw a picture on the wall,
Roll some marbles down the hall,
Pour some ink in Daddy's cap---
Now go upstairs and take a nap.
Develops the jaw,
But celery, stewed,
Is more quietly chewed.
Willie in his roguish way
Tipped Grandpa on the fire one day.
Mother said “My dear that’s cruel!
But of course it does save on fuel.”
He proposed out of doors, suitor Ed
With a poem he'd written, which said:
"Love, I've no Diamond ring
But the Heart - that's the thing"
Then the Club from her Spade knocked him dead
Updated: 9:56 PM GMT on May 01, 2013