Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hello ginormous Aloe plant. Nice to meet you. (Or should I say Agave Americana.)

The other day I mentioned seeing a crazy big plant in my neighborhood. I think I told you the big flower thing in the middle was about six feet tall. Ha. Six feet. That's funny.

I drove by with the "good" camera yesterday so I could show you this plant. I've lived in our neighborhood for 3 years. I've driven by this house dozens if not a hundred times and never noticed this plant in the front yard until last week.

Here it is. Pretty, right? Well let me show you how it looks in a wide shot!

"Mommy, that's the bigget asparagus I've ever seen." says Elli.
"That's not an Asparagus plant Elli. I don't know what that is!!" I say.

Lucky for me a neighbor was walking by so I asked her. She said it's an Aloe plant. She doesn't remember ever seeing the bloom in the middle either. I think it's the rain. All the plants and flowers are so huge this year.

This one is unique though. You can't get rid of it. Who else has a giant plant straight out of "Little Shop of Horrors" growing in their front yard?

Good news! I have an update. My mom lives in Phoenix and sees this plant all over the place there. I have no idea what it's doing in someone's front yard in Mill Valley. Our climate is not similar at all.

Anyway it's called Agave Americana. The nickname is the Century Plant. I found a conservatory that is growing one. The stalk grew so tall it had to poke out the glass ceiling. The top will bloom into what looks like a tree with branches. You can see it here. Listen to this. The stalk grows 5-6" per day and will grow as high as 30-35 feet. So now I know I'm not crazy. This plant probably was 6' tall when I saw it the other day. I seriously was beginning to question my eyes.

Here's the sad part. According to the article above, legend has it that it takes 100 years to bloom. Which is how it got its nickname. It's a once in a lifetime occurrence. And the plant will die when the bloom dies. How sad is that?

I wonder if the homeowner knows?

Well, guess what? I drove by the house this am to drop off a little note letting them know I was writing about their plant. The homeowner was getting in her car so we chatted for a few minutes. She does know about her plant and is quite curious to see how tall it will grow. She calls it their Dr. Seuss plant. I think she's right. I believe this plant is in the book Go, Dog. Go! Or maybe it was Green Eggs and Ham. I'll keep you posted. In case you're curious - about the plant, that is. I know I am!


  1. Hi Kris.........That plant sure looks like a Century Plant to me....we have them in it and see if it's the same plant.

  2. Hi Mom! Thanks for the tip. I found all the info I was looking for. I have to tell these neighbors about their plant!

  3. My grandchildren and I have been watching "a giant asparagus" for some weeks now and it seems to have reached its peak as a branching yellow flower which is now browning off progressively from the bottom blooms up the stem. Really pleased to have found a name for it. Since first noticing it I've seen several more blooming in our district. We are in Albury, New South Wales, Australia, where it is currently mid summer. They all seem to be runaway garden plants, often where an old house has been and are certainly not native to the area.


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