During a backyard graduation party last summer, the main attraction was our century plant in full bloom. It grew to about 14 feet tall! Will we be able to witness this show again?
—Gloria Rymer, Centreville, Mississippi
Melinda: The century plant (Agave Americana) is quite impressive when in bloom. I was lucky enough to see one blooming at the Chicago Botanic Gardens' Conservatory. It grew so tall that they had to remove a pane of glass from the ceiling to allow the flower to reach its full height. Once the plant flowers, the main rosette of leaves usually dies. The offsets, called pups, will take over, then grow and eventually flower. That means you should be able to admire its blooms again. However, it may take 10 to 15 years for the offsets to flower. So be patient—the spectacular floral display is worth the wait.