Century Plant

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Lucille and James Webster have watched over this Agave Americana, AKA Century Plant, in their front yard since they moved in three decades ago.

They estimate it had been about 4 feet tall for quite a while, so they were surprised three weeks ago when they went outside and saw it was approximately 20 feet tall! After blooming, the century plant dies back, but offsets around its base usually leave gardeners with a supply of plants.

They can become enormous — 6 to 8 or more feet tall with a rosette of 20 to 40 leaves that can be a dozen feet across. The succulent foliage stores water, and the waxy coating helps prevent water loss. The huge leaves can be nearly a foot wide. Photo by Hannah Richardson