This spring’s rain brought a plethora of blooms from all kinds of plants in our area and with a quick look around it’s apparent that many of them are still going strong. Now that we’re in late spring…approaching summer some of the more obscure plants are blooming as well. The American Agave or Century plant is one that always catches my eye. There are several of these plants behind a wall close to my home and they are simply majestic in an odd sort of way when they send up their almost neon yellow bloom stalk.

Agave americana typically flowers anywhere from 10 to 25 years of age and then when it does bloom the original plant dies. This doesn’t usually spell bad news for the landscape however because under the older plant there are usually many “pups” or baby plants that will continue to grow and mature.

The agave also called maguey, or American aloe, is a species of flowering plant in the family Agavaceae, native to Mexico, and the United States in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. They are great specimen plants in the landscape because of their size and unusual appearance. They are extremely drought tolerant and make a great addition to any xeriscape that has plenty of space to spare for this plant. One thing to note however it that while the deer don’t like agave as a food source they can really destroy them when it comes time to shed their velvet.

So if you have room and not a big deer population try one but be prepared to wait awhile for the strangely alien but lovely blooms to appear!

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