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Century Plant

Agave americana Century Plant
Characteristics
Category Accent
Size 6' x 10'
Flower Color Golden Yellow
Flower Season Spring
Exposure Full Sun
Water Low
Growth Rate Slow to Moderate
Hardiness 20°F
Notes: Sharp tips and curved teeth

Description

The Century Plant is the granddaddy of all agaves. It grows slowly to about 6 feet tall by 8-10 feet wide. The wide, grey-green leaves have stiff terminal spines and curved teeth along the margins. After about ten years, a tall stalk of spectacular flowers signals the end of Century plant's life cycle. The flower stalk grows vigorously and is present for months. Flowers are yellow, about 3" to 4" long. Century plant “pups” freely and forms multiple basal offshoots. It also comes in variegated forms with alternate leaf colors and patterns. This large agave should be planted in open, low-traffic areas. Use Century plant with discretion in small spaces. Leaf tips are dangerously sharp.

Maintenance

Century plant prefers full sun exposures and well drained soils, but it is adaptable to a wide range of conditions, including coastal climates. Water established Century plant sparingly once a month in summer with little or no supplemental irrigation in the winter. If Century plant crowds a path or walkway, prune only the terminal spine for greater safety. Resist pruning living leaves— it invites infection. Unfortunately, Century plant is susceptible to agave snout weevil infestation. Once the telltale wilting and death of leaves appear, it is too late to save the plant. Removal of the dead plant can be difficult due to its large size.

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