Picture of the Day 04/04
2021 — This photo was recently taken in LaPlace of a century plant. It is approximately 15 years old. “It’s beauty is a reminder that life is all a rewarding time of perfect blessings and we just need to keep that faith,” said it’s owner Nickie Ayme.
A little bit about the century plant
The plant’s common name is a bit misleading; while many people think it means these plants live for—or bloom after—100 years, it actually matures much faster. Century plants generally take between 8 and 30 years to flower.
Once the plant has reached maturity, a central stem grows up to 20 feet tall. Pale yellow or white blossoms appear atop this branched flower spire during summertime. Most century plants will die after they flower.
Century plant is quite striking, with large succulent leaves that are greenish-blue color and boldly textured. The leaves are very large, reaching up to 6 feet long and 10 inches wide. The spread of the mature plant is quite an impressive sight for any landscape—up to 12 feet.
Thanks to the sharp spines at the end of each toothed leaf, these plants need to be planted well away from where anyone may brush up against them. Century plant should be planted at least 6 feet away from areas where people and pets are walking or playing.
Variegated century plant (A. americana ‘Marginata’) has striking twisted green leaves with bright yellow marginal bands. The variegated leaves look like ribbons folded and twisted across each other. Like those of the single-colored century plant, leaves can grow as long as 6 feet and 10 inches wide.
While century plant can be a dramatic addition to your landscape, its considerable mature size and sharp foliage may not be right for every yard. If you are looking for similar aesthetics, just scaled down and less pointy, check out spineless century plant (A. attenuata).
Spineless century plant is great for smaller landscapes as it doesn’t get quite as big; it reaches between 2 and 3 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet across. Individual evergreen leaves are light blueish-green and are between 1.5 and 3 feet long. These leaves don’t end in the same sharp point as those of A. americana, making it a less-hazardous choice for yards enjoyed by kids and/or pets. Pale yellow to white flowers bloom periodically throughout the year about 10 years after planting.
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