Century Plant v. City Dump

Struggling century plant this week

This is a story of survival. On an empty lot an uprooted, discarded and now completely buried century plant is sending up a shoot to produce young plants before it is covered with more refuse.

People discarded tons of dead cactus, ice plant, agaves, tree branches, and other plants killed in our freak sub-zero weather last winter. The city has been overwhelmed and is piling up the yard waste. This is where Rhonda saw the beginnings of a century plant shoot – the parent plant is not visible. Now the stalk is up to about 15’ high and the bloom has opened wide. We are hoping it matures before more soil and plants are piled on top of it.

Century plants (Agave) don’t really live for 100 years, but they bloom only once in their lives, usually after they are 10-15 years old. The plants are dramatic – thick, long, blue-green spiky leaves about 5’ long. And for reasons still not known, something triggers the blossom – a long awaited event if it’s in your garden. The center spike grows up to about 25 feet tall and then produces small plants called pups that eventually fall to the ground in hopes of finding a place to grow.

The Century Plant Pups

Survival in extreme conditions fascinates me. And I cheer this struggler on. I’ll keep you posted.

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