Rare Century Plant Blooming at The Greenery Garden Center

Thursday, June 13, 2024 | The Greenery, Inc.

Perhaps you have heard of the rare, but beautiful “century plant.” But have you ever had the pleasure of seeing one in person? Now is your chance….

The Greenery Garden Center on Hilton Head Island currently has an American Agave plant (aka “century plant”) that has a stalk over 17 feet tall! This century plant is roughly 20 years old (believed to have been planted in its current location for 15-16 years). Completely captivating to all who have been tracking its progress, it has been growing several inches each day throughout the spring.

In early spring, the Garden Center staff had to get out the Christmas tree measuring stick in an attempt to track the plant’s growth. Eventually, however, it has reached the point where the staff couldn’t even measure the actual stalk anymore – it had grown too tall! 

Customers have been following the progress on the Garden Center’s social media pages. 

“It’s kind of like a local celebrity,” quips Erin Carpenter, Master Gardener at The Greenery Garden Center. “We love when customers stop by just to check the progress of the plant.” 

The Origin Story

The word agave comes from Greek and means “noble” and “marvelous.” The American Agave is native to the hot and dry regions of the Americas, primarily Mexico and parts of the southern United States. 

Perhaps the common name is a bit misleading…it was given the name “century plant” because it was once thought to take 100 years for it to flower. However, it doesn’t typically take that long – usually it’s closer to 10-25 years. 

Life Cycle of the Century Plant

American Agave plants are known for their fatalistic life cycle. Like most plants, they grow, bloom and die. But unlike a typical plant, century plants usually die just shortly after blooming. They leave behind clones of themselves or reproduce via pollination and seeds. 

At maturity, the century plant produces a towering stalk of blossoms – a stunning spectacle to behold. Rising skyward like a torch, the flower stalk can reach staggering heights of 15 to 30 feet tall and approximately 6 inches wide! 

American Agave generally bloom for about 3 to 4 months and individual flowers on the stalk last for about a month. 

Caring for a Century Plant

Century plants are ideal for the casual gardener with the right environment. It thrives in arid conditions and well-drained soil. It would love a nice, sunny spot in your garden and flourishes with minimal intervention. Another bonus – the plant is virtually disease free! 

It does require occasional watering during prolonged droughts and protection from extreme cold. Also, pruning flower stalks help to maintain the plant’s aesthetic appeal and  promote healthy growth for future generations.

The famous century plant at The Greenery’s Garden Center is definitely worth seeing in person. So…make plans TODAY to visit the Garden Center and see it for yourself. And while you are here, you can peruse the Garden Center’s greenhouse and our wide variety of landscape plants for your own garden.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

Today we went to the Greenery and spent a ton of time enjoying their greenhouse! We had the pleasure of talking with Ray who was extremely kind and helpful. He was very knowledgeable and helped us with picking out the perfect plants for our home! I would definitely recommend them to all my friends and family!

Alicia T.

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