Gardening

After eighty years an agave blooms

I finally had a chance to see the blooming agave plant at University of Michigan’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens Desert House — the one you’ve been hearing everyone talking about.

This is a rare variegated agave with alternating white and green coloring on the leaves.

This is a rare variegated agave with alternating white and green coloring on the leaves.

When I first saw this plant over 30 years ago, it was already 50 years old. Through the years it didn’t appear to change much but of course it has been growing and maturing all that time. Now after 80 years, it is finally blossoming.

The flowering agave dominates the desert greenhouse.

The flowering agave dominates the desert greenhouse.

It has produced a flower stalk so tall that they’ve had to take out some roof glass from the greenhouse in order to give it more room to grow.

The agave flower stalk towers well above the greenhouse glass.

The agave flower stalk towers well above the greenhouse glass.

I encourage you to get out to the Botanical Gardens and see it. This type of agave blooms only once in its lifetime so, when it’s over, it’s over.

The flowers are producing real agave nectar, not the manufactured product sold under that name.

The flowers are producing real agave nectar, not the manufactured product sold under that name.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens is located on Dixboro Road south of Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, directions and hours are available on their website.

Bob Dluzen
As a result of being a gardener for more than 40 years, 30 of those as a professional, Bob's gardening has become an integral part of his life. "It's the ever-changing seasons and the wide variety of plants and gardens that keeps me intrigued," he says. Bob lives and gardens in rural Monroe County.