Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Great Agave - but - what is that?

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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Dec 13, 2013 4:48 AM CST
Thumb of 2013-12-13/Dutchlady1/169bbe
We have this beautiful variegated Agave sisalana at the Botanical Garden where I work, and it is currently forming this magnificent bloom spike. It stands at around 10 ft tall today and is still growing.
I know mature Agave plants will do this, but when I looked closer I noticed something very odd: one of the pups is also growing a bloom spike! Has anyone else ever seen this?
The pup is growing under this rock and the spike is coming up behind it. About ten inches tall right now.
Thumb of 2013-12-13/Dutchlady1/08d29c

Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
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Swayback
Dec 13, 2013 8:43 AM CST
That's bizarre!
It looks like a tiny little pup too!

I've recently learned that atleast one agave is not monocarpic, any chance that the case here?
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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Dec 13, 2013 9:04 AM CST
That's cool looking, so I'll blurt probably totally useless stuff since I have nothing else... Maybe it can sense there's no more space to enlarge under the rock?

I see these things once in a while in this area (no idea if they are the exact same species or not, but similar looking) and they are quite striking! Is this the thing they call century plant?
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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
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Dutchlady1
Dec 13, 2013 9:59 AM CST
Yes, I was thinking in the same direction - that it's in survival mode. Yes,the pup is about 7-8 inches at most.
Most Agaves get referred to as Century Plants, that is correct.

As to whether it is or isn't monocarpic - I guess we'll find out.....
Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
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Swayback
Dec 13, 2013 12:30 PM CST
That actually makes perfect sense!

It may be a survival strategy, agaves are certainly masters of surviving adverse conditions, and it's not at all unheard of for their relative to bloom early I'd stressed enough.
I'd be stressed growin under that rock!
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Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
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sheryl
Dec 20, 2013 10:46 PM CST
To my knowledge (although someone tried to tell me I was wrong once) all Agaves are monocarpic. There's a great argument about A. geminiflora among some uber-geeks, if you're really interested... Rolling my eyes.

And, although they're called Century plants, they average about 35 years before blooming.

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Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
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Swayback
Dec 21, 2013 1:56 AM CST
Well, I wasn't that person, before, but I am now!

In all honesty, I've seen one agave bloom in person my entire life! It had already died and was making air pups, so don't take my word for it, but these 2 links are rather convincing!

Indepth reading might reveal that many agave have the potential to rejuvenate after a bloom, albeit rare, and in most species, entirely unheard of.

These plants inhabit areas that few dare to go, much less memorize the flora, who's to say how often they die vs regrow after flower!

If an agave blooms and no one is around, does it die...no no that not the cliche...it's a tree falling in the woods...that's right...

http://dangergarden.blogspot.com/2012/11/an-agave-story-chap...

http://www.smgrowers.com/products/plants/plantdisplay.asp?pl...
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!
[Last edited by Swayback - Dec 21, 2013 2:59 PM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Dec 21, 2013 11:45 AM CST
Fascinating! I have nothing to add except an anecdote. When I first moved here there was a little blurb in the paper how a lady had appealed to the city to not cut the flower stalk off of her 'century plant.' It was about to bump into the electric lines but she told them what it was and they left it alone & put a pic in the paper of it. I think the mayor here now would just say "too bad old bag" and cut it off, nobody likes that guy, he's being investigated for rigging the election.

I've seen a few of them in the 7 years I've lived down here. Always striking when blooming!!! Just not my style though. Look like they belong out west to me, a novel but jarring sight in the AL landscape. (People probably think that about my whole yard in the summer though, how natural is hundreds of plants with anything BUT green leaves?) Maybe jarring is the wrong word, because I always enjoy seeing them, or anything unusual!
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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jan 9, 2014 3:13 PM CST
Updated pictures, just taken today. The little baby bloom stalk is about 18" tall now. The big one reaches up to the sky! I would guess 12-13 ft.
Thumb of 2014-01-09/Dutchlady1/746769


Thumb of 2014-01-09/Dutchlady1/d8e02b

Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
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Swayback
Jan 10, 2014 1:08 PM CST
Holy moley!
The sun stole all the vivid color outta your first pic...

That bad boy is GORGEOUS!

Do you know if it will produce kikis?

I would love to have a few, I'm sure they would be a hot ticket item to the right buyers!
I hope at the least that someone will gather and plant them up, even if I don't get one, it would be a shame to let them wither away in the sun!

I'm really interested to see what that little guy does, if they do air pup, I'm sure it will have dramatically less than the big momma...

Really cool, thanks for sharing and especially the update!

Man that color is great!
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jan 10, 2014 1:42 PM CST
There are pups, yes. I am sure I can secure you one when the time comes. And yes, it's beautiful.

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