Please help in identifying this plant

clementine_2007(8)May 7, 2010

In my garden this green plant at least 5 years old suddenly grew this now 13 feet stalk within a four-weeks time. I am searching for its name and how I can maintain it. Will I lose this plant after the stalk stops growing?

Thank you very much for your help.

Greetings, Clementine

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Sounds like an agave or desert spoon (Dasylirion).

The agave has wide and thick straplike leaves all coming from a central base. Some agaves are small, but the common landscape varieties are usually about 3 or 4 feet tall and wide. When agaves bloom they send up a tall stalk from the center that grows rapidly. When first emerging the stalk looks like giant asparagus.

Some agaves have a bloom stalk that looks like a giant Q-Tip while others have a candelabra shaped stalk. It's common for some agaves to produce bulbils (baby plants) on the stalk. Some will form offsets or 'pups' on the ground near the base of the plant.

Nearly all agaves die after they flower. Enjoy them in your landscape while you can. You can easily root the bulbils in a cactus potting mix in containers and keep them on your patio until they are strong enough to be planted in your landscape.

If you have Desert Spoon (one of the Dasylirions) there is no need to be concerned about it dying. These plants are related to yuccas and will bloom year after year.

Please don't prune the lower leaves on Desert Spoons, Agaves or Yuccas. Removing the green leaves reduces the production of sugars that the plant uses to grow and can stress them beyond recovery. They also need the protection that the lower leaves give them for our hot temperatures and reflected light and heat.

Here's a link to an on-line CD where you can find more information on the plants mentioned above. Just click on the 'Plants' tab and you can search by common or botanical name.

Here is a link that might be useful: Water Wise Landscaping Plants

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 11:50AM
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