Century Plant

By: Larry Hodgson

The spiky leaves of the century plant can grow up tofive feet across. See more pictures of house plants.

The century plant is remarkable for its large (up to five feet across) rosette of fleshy, gray-green, sharply toothed leaves, each ending in a needlelike spine. Many cultivars are attractively striped in white or yellow.

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Although the century plant dies after blooming, it can take thirty years or more to reach blooming size. Legend says it blooms only once a century, giving it its common name. Its size can be kept somewhat restricted by underpotting. Beware of its sharp spines when caring for this plant.

Scientific Name:Agave americana

Common Names: Century Plant, Agave

Light Requirement for Century Plant: Full Sun to Bright Light

Water Requirementfor Century Plant: Drench, Let Dry

Humidityfor Century Plant: Average Home

Temperaturefor Century Plant: Cool to House

Fertilizerfor Century Plant: Balanced

Potting Mixfor Century Plant: Cactus

Propagation ofCentury Plant: Division, Seed

Decorative Usefor Century Plant: Floor, Table

Care Ratingfor Century Plant: Very Easy


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Larry Hodgson is a full time garden writer working out of Quebec City in the heart of French Canada where he grows well over 3,000 species and varieties. His book credits include Making the Most of Shade, The Garden Lovers Guide to Canada, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, Houseplants for Dummies, and Ortho’s Complete Guide to Houseplants, as well as other titles in English and French. He’s the winner of the Perennial Plant Association’s 2006 Garden Media Award.