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How to Grow a Century Plant

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How to Grow a Century Plant

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Overview

Agave americana, also known as century plant, is a member of the family Agavaceae. These succulent plants thrive in the warmer regions of the U.S. where freezes are not a problem. Century plants are quite drought tolerant and easy to grow, which makes them perfect additions to a garden where the gardener wishes to xeriscape. Despite the tale that they bloom once every century, the century plant will produce its bloom in approximately ten years. Growing to a height of 12 feet or more, century plants make good specimen plants in rock gardens.

Step 1

Grow century plants outside, planted into the ground, in zones 8b, 9 and 10. Grow century plants in containers in cooler zones.

Step 2

Select an area in your landscape large enough to house the century plant and where it will not interfere with structures or walkways. Century plants can grow taller than 12 feet and can have a width of 6 feet. Plant century plants in an area with little to no people traffic, due to their sharp spines.

Step 3

Grow century plants in areas that receive full sunlight. Tolerant to some shade, century plants will grow best in high light conditions.

Step 4

Plant century plants in soils that are sandy, sandy loam, rocky, or clay loam. Grow century plants in soil that will not retain moisture, as the plant will not tolerate flooded conditions. Amend heavy, non-draining soils with sand.

Step 5

Plant container grown century plants in a container that is several times larger than the plant. Make sure the container has drain holes. Use a well-draining, lightweight potting mix.

Step 6

Dig a hole that is large enough to hold the plant's root ball, but no deeper than the plant was originally planted. Place the century plant into the hole and cover with soil.

Step 7

Water the century plant after planting. Continue watering once every one to two weeks.

Step 8

Fertilize in the spring with an all-purpose, granular fertilizer such as a 10-10-10. Fertilize container-grown plants with a water-soluble fertilizer, every other month.

Step 9

Prune off the bottom leaves as they begin to turn brown and die. Use a pruning saw to remove the leaves. Wear gloves, because the spines are sharp and can cut your hands and arms.

Things You'll Need

  • Sand
  • Potting mix
  • Shovel
  • Container
  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning saw
  • Gloves

References

  • University of Texas Austin: Agave americana (American century plant)
  • Ornamental Outlook: Growing Century Plant
  • USDA Hardiness Zone Maps
Keywords: growing century plants, planting century plants, century plant care

About this Author

Joyce Starr is a freelance writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawncare, gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.