One of the iconic plants of the Southwest flowers only once and produces the most unusual flowers you will probably ever see.
What is even more interesting, is that each one of these plants produces a different type of flower depending on the species.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that the plant dies after flowering.
So, by now you may have guessed that I am talking about Agave, sometimes referred to as Century Plant, although they do not take that long to flower.
As I was preparing this post, I was going through my photos of flowering agave and I was struck again at how unusual they are and how different they look from species to species. Some form a single stalk and others branch out from the single stalk.
I would like to share with you some of my favorites….
When an agave flowers is largely dependent on the species. Some only take 8 years, while others can wait up to 25 years before they flower.
Some people inadvertently hasten the flowering process by over watering and fertilizing their agave.
Not all agave flower at the same time. Some start in the spring while others begin in the fall.
Contrary to popular opinion, removing the flowering stalk, will not keep your agave alive.
In fact, you are interfering with the agave’s crowning glory – their life’s work by removing their flower.
It is fascinating to see how the stalk begins to rapidly grow and then transforms as you can see from the following photos of an Octopus Agave (Agave vilmoriniana).
The stalk begins to appear.
It is so interesting to view up close.
The flowering stalk has reached its full height.
Small Octopus Agave that are just waiting to fall and root. Or you can pull them off and plant them yourself.
The entire flowering process can take months and in many cases, the flowering stalk is quite beautiful and is highly prized.
You can even keep it after it has dried out. Believe it or not, people pay money for dried agave stalks.
In my own landscape, I have 4 different types of agave and I am always thrilled when I see the flower stalk appear and can witness the strange and beautiful flowering process.
The flower of Agave desmettiana
So, how about you? Have you witnessed an agave flowering?