American Agave ( Agava Americana )
Scientific name: Agave americana
Origin: native to North America and Mexico.
Greenhouse location: Room D
Plant type: shrub
USDA 9 – 11
Flower color: white
Flower characteristic: summer-flowering
Fruit shape: oval
Fruit length: 1 to 3 inches
Fruit cover: dry or hard
Fruit color: brown
Fruit characteristic: persists on the plant
It is also a bush plant with a trunk height of 25-30 cm. It has a rosette with long lanceolate leaves. The leaves of the American “guest” are extremely prickly. The height of the leaves can reach 2 meters in height, and the rosette in diameter reaches 3 meters!
Therefore, an adult plant requires a special stand. It must be handled very carefully – sharp teeth can leave scratches that do not heal for a long time.
The century plant, Agave americana, is monocarpic, meaning it will bloom once in its lifetime. In the case of Agave americana, the century plant, this will be anywhere from 10 to 30 years old. Most species in the genus Agave are monocarpic with a very low rate of repeat flowering (less than 1%).
These types of succulents that die after blooming are known as monocarpic succulents. Fortunately, some plants of this type produce offspring and can reproduce vegetatively.
Monocarpic succulents can go years before they flower, however, when they flower, what causes death is the energy and resources spent by the plant to produce fruits and seeds and not the flower itself.
What Succulents Are Monocarpic?
You may have heard the word “monocarpic” before, but you might not know what it means. “Mono” means single, and “carpic” means fruit. Monocarpic plants flower once in their lifetime and then die—which is why they are called monocarpic.
Their life cycle goes like this: First, they grow leaves, then they produce a flower stalk (this can take up to six years), and then they bear fruit after flowering. After the fruit has been fertilized by the pollinators (bees, birds, etc.), the plant dies and will turn into a hard seed case.
Some species of Agave and Sempervivum are monocarpic plants. Not all species of these genera are monocarpic, as in the case of Agave. Some of the agaves are and some are not.
Monocarpic succulents could live a while longer. Once you see the flower appear, the amount of care you give the original plant is up to you. Some prefer to replant the offspring and continue the life cycle of the original plant. Others prefer to leave the children next to the mother plant until it dries completely so that they can continue taking advantage of all its energy.
Flowers & fruits: After about 10 years, plant produces a thick, green, arborescent, paniculate, flower stalk after which the flowering plant dies, flower stalk grows vigorously and is striking, persistent for months, flowers are yellow, 3 to 4 inches long, stalk will occasionally produce bulbils, an alternative reproductive strategy instead of setting fruit after flowering.
How Old Is Agave in Bloom?
No, agave does not flower after 100 years of growth. Often, an agave produces flowers after 10 to 20 years of life.
Agave is one of the plants which usually blooms one time in its life. It dies soon after the seed’s formation. It takes several years for the plant to photosynthesize and store energy through starch.
The sugar is stored at the plant’s base before being released by the plant, resulting in an impressive flower.
After the plant is at its peak and reached maturity, it produces its inflorescence. It emerges from the middle of the plant during late spring. The flowers begin to bloom during the hottest time during the summer.
The development of this inflorescence is extremely rapid. A large amount of sap that is very sugar-rich will flow through it, providing it with energy and creating nectar that is appealing to pollinators, including bats, birds, and even insects. The man cut the inflorescence to extract the sap, and it is referred to as the agave syrup.
What Is the Size of the Inflorescence?
Certain species belonging to the genus Agave produce inflorescences that are more than 6 meters tall. This is the case with Agave americana and Agave salmiana . However, many species with smaller dimensions produce flowers that are less than 2 meters in the height.
The inflorescences are branches or not. They are dependent on the pollination method for the specific species. In their natural habitats, they have pollination by insects while other species by bats.
What to Do After an Agave Blooms?
The inflorescence of the agave developed over a period of only a few months, and the flowers appear when the development is finished.
During this growth phase, it is when all the elements from the plants will be absorbed into the flower stem to aid in the blooms as well as the fruit and seeds that are contained.
In this stage, the leaves of agaves have softened and become discolored. In the months to come the leaves and stems become dry and the seeds are all that remain.
After the show has ended and for safety and aesthetic reasons, the stem of the flowers must be cut. This is a task that requires a chainsaw or saw. It is necessary to have an item, particularly when the flower’s stalk is still green, and consequently very heavy.
The plant’s remnants will also remain and it is best to eliminate the plant. Lesser plants can be sucked out with pickaxes and shovels.
For huge agaves, it’s better to employ a machine for construction. The landscape garden is usually equipped and will be able to take away the plant, and then dispose of the remainder in the recycling center.
Be cautious, the flowers’ stalks are said to be extremely resilient to winds. However, when they are weighed down by the flower’s sips of nectar, it’s possible that they will break.
There is a chance that people could traverse under. Therefore, it is important to consider the risk and plant the agave in proper locations.
Does Agave Always Die After Flowering?
Unlike aloes, many species of agave are monocarpic, meaning that after a certain number of years the plant will die, having produced no offspring. Other agaves, however, send up suckers from their roots and can reproduce. If you preserve a plant that is monocarpic and removes it from its natural habitat without replanting it elsewhere, then once it dies the whole species will be gone forever.
There are also agaves that flower several times without the plant dying. The rosette always remains alive and often divides following the production of flowers. This is the case of Agave striata . These plants form clumps with many rosettes over the years. And every year beautiful inflorescences are produced.
Why Do Agaves Die After Flowering?
Agave is preparing for flowering the entire period of its life. Its inevitable withering is due to the fact that this plant gives all its strength to the release of its only inflorescence. For a day, the agave peduncle grows by about twenty-five centimeters.
After such a powerful and spectacular flowering, to which all the forces of this plant are directed, the faded rosette dies off.
Agave gives fruits and seeds only once, but leaves offspring every year – these are the basal processes.
By the way, if the agave does not bloom, then it can live up to a hundred years!