Agave Death Birth Watch

Time for this garden's first Agave death birth watch. Though my three Agave desmettiana variegatas are about to bloom and die, each of them has one or two dozen pups ready to take alpha-agave's place. And then there is the possibility of hundreds of bulbils (plantlets) produced by each flower stalk. And seeds!

Research yielded the clue that when Agaves are about to bloom, the new leaves do not grow large and remain significantly shorter than the older ones. This picture illustrates that pretty well. Look how the leaves at the very center are shorter. They have stopped growing:
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So, where's the flower spike? No sign of one yet. The foliage is starting to die at the tips and is growing yellowish. The plant is sucking all the stored up sugars in the leaves in order to create the flower-spike.
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I might think there is something going on that has nothing to do with an imminent bloom. However, the pups are growing and look very healthy. That's another indication.

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Nearby, several Agave strictas are thriving. So it's not a general soil or cultural issue in the immediate area.
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Hurry up and wait. My guess is towering boat-mast sized blooming structures will soon appear. I won't miss my grand mature Agaves because I'll have dozens upon dozens of pups to replant. And hundreds of bulbils. And seeds. Oh.....yikes!

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Comments

  1. That is very exciting. Can't wait to see them all develop. You will have to do some time lapse photograph taking one photo every day!

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  2. Good idea, Spike. I will do that.

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  3. I don't know whether to be jealous or feel lucky it's not me. I mean I would love to see an agave bloom in my garden someday, but then there is that whole death thing that really sucks.

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  4. But all the pups, danger... It's almost more a celebration than a death. That's the wonder of it.

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