Longwood Gardens Celebrates Rare Bloom of Century Plant

Agave americana, Century-plant from exterior ConservatoryPhoto courtesy of Longwood Gardens - Amy Simon Berg

KENNETT SQUARE, PALongwood Gardens is currently celebrating the remarkable bloom of an Agave americana, commonly known as the Century Plant. This event is particularly special since the plant blooms only once before it dies, making it a rare and memorable spectacle.

The Century Plant, a perennial succulent, began signaling its readiness to bloom in February by sprouting a towering stalk from its center. This stalk grew at an impressive rate of five to six inches per day. Now standing over 20 feet high, the stalk has produced greenish-yellow flowers in clusters, offering a striking visual akin to broccoli florets.

To accommodate the plant’s extraordinary growth, Longwood Gardens removed a glass panel from the roof of their Silver Garden in March. This adjustment ensured the plant had the optimal conditions needed for its flowers to fully develop.

This is only the third time a Century Plant has bloomed at Longwood Gardens, with previous blooms occurring in 1997 and 2007. After its flowering period, expected to last through mid-July, the main plant will be removed. A new Agave americana will then take its place in the Silver Garden, continuing the tradition.

Beyond its ornamental appeal, Agave americana has practical uses. While it is not the source of true tequila, its nectar can be used to produce a similar liquor. Its nectar is also marketed as a natural sweetener.

Visitors are encouraged to witness this once-in-a-lifetime bloom and celebrate the marvels of nature at Longwood Gardens.

For the latest news on everything happening in Chester County and the surrounding area, be sure to follow MyChesCo on Google News and Microsoft Start.