Century plant blooms in Attapulgus

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Debby Miller’s century plant in Attapulgus is in the process of blooming, after which it will die. — Powell Cobb

What lives only 10 to 30 years, blooms once in its lifetime, then dies? That is the fate of the Century Plant, a member of the agave family.

A home on N. Main Street in Attapulgus has one in the back yard that is blooming this week.

The plant, owned by Debby Miller, is something to see, but you need to look way up to see the 30-foot spike shooting up from the wide, prickly base.

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Miller said the plant has been growing for 24 years, and was shocked when she finally saw the stalk potruding out of it recently.

“Me and my husband figured we were going to be dead before it bloomed,” Miller said, laughing.

The spike is topped with many small branches with large clusters of yellow flowers that are all “abuzz” with bees,  apparently after the rare nectar.

The plant, native to Mexico, Arizona and Texas, is often used as an ornamental plant in residential gardens.

The name Century plant gives the impression it lives 100 years, but that is a misnomer. They typically live 10-30 years.

Miller said she has a second century plant growing in her backyard and looks forward to it blooming as well.