A rare plant that flowers once every 25 to 30 years has finally bloomed in Oadby.
The Agave succulent plant, otherwise known as the Century plant, is over 15 feet and even had to be cut back at one point for safety reasons as it was pushing on the roof of the greenhouse. It’s believed it would have been at least another metre high if it had been allowed to grow to full height.
The magnificent plant stands proudly in the Botanical Gardens at the University of Leicester in Oadby’s Glebe Road. It is expected to flower every three decades, however, this succulent decided to bloom that little bit earlier, appearing 25 years since its last flowering in 1998.
“Now its flower buds have finally opened into large yellow pom-poms,” said gardener Rachel Benskin.
“It really is a wonderful sight to behold.”
Generally, Agaves grow, flower, then die. It is originally thought that it took 100 years to flower, hence its common name (the century plant). However, this particular plant self-planted after the previous Agave flowered and died in 1998. It has been kept frost free throughout the winter, and generally dry with some light watering during sunny spells and weekly soaks over the past few weeks.
Rachel said: “The Agave is native to Mexico and southern North America and naturalised through much of the Mediterranean range. Its fantastic flower spike can grow between five and eight metres tall so it’s exciting to see this one bloom after so long, despite us cutting it back a little. It will die by the end of the year so visitors should make the most of this wonderful plant while they can.”