by lauren lewis
(vista, ca)

Our cactus or succulent was planted fifteen years ago and has grown to be a massive plant in our back yard. Just recently it started to grow a spike out of the middle. Everyday the spike grows at least a foot or two. I am curious to see why this is happening and what is it going to be ?

Drought Smart Plants reply: Hi Lauren, even without a picture I can tell you that this will be the event of a lifetime!

Your Agave, which this most likely is, is starting its bloom cycle. They are called Century Plant because of this, as they take a long time to reach the size they have to be before they flower.

In some cases the flower spike will reach twenty or thirty feet tall – yes, that’s not a typo!

Depending on the species and how big and healthy it is, the flower spike will soon tower over you.

Sadly, this means the end of the plant, which are known as ‘monocarpic’ or ‘once flowering’. If they follow the usual pattern, they will have produced some pups at the base of the mother rosette to take her place.

Enjoy the show!


See this post by another visitor about their very cool succulent that grows to over 23 feet.

Comments for a huge cactus that has a spike coming out of it.

Mar 13, 2015

century plant
by: Linda

Our leaves on our century plant are turning black and dying back, should we cut them off. Some are only half way back the branch. They do not look healthy at all. Is there something we can do for them. We just moved to South Carolina from Pa. and don’t know anything about taking care of them.

Mar 13, 2015

No Idea…
by: Jacki

I don’t really know what your conditions have been in South Carolina.

If you’ve had cold temperatures, the leaves will certainly take a hit, even if it’s not actually below freezing.

You can cut them off, but some people recommend waiting until you see new growth before doing this.

In your drives around town, maybe check if there are any other similar plants and see if they are doing the same thing. If so, then this is probably typical of what plants in your area do.

Nov 21, 2020

Is my plant dying
by: CJ

Our plant, either an agave or century, has a tall runner, pup or bloom growing up from the base on one side. I haven’t seen one blooming from the side un
usually from the center. We did have one die this summer about 20 feet away. Any ideas?

Nov 22, 2020

Photo – note to CJ
by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

CJ, I would need to see a picture of your plant to be able to tell you what’s going on. Submit your question on the Ask The Horticulturist page.

Jan 02, 2021

Very Long Beautiful Flower
by: Marge

I have taken a picture of the very very long flowering ” out of space ” agave cacti century plant but I am 88 years old and I am electronically challenged so…… I am regret I can not send the picture to this site. I , too, live in Vista I’m just pleased I lived this long to experience this outstanding event. The flower not the Big C19 

May 11, 2021

Centurey catus with multiple flowers?
by: Kellie Allen

My grandparents owned my home from 1946 and I have live here for 30 years. As a child I recall this catcus by the pump house. In the last 10 years it has grown to be a monster size.

This spring it began it’s flower stem. When looking at it today, I noticed about 5 or 6 smaller stems coming out of it. I never saw a century catcus have more than one spike with flower. Is this normal to have 1 big (foot around stem) and 5 or 6 smaller from the same plant? The smaller stems all seem to go around at the same level of the plant. I would love to show you a picture but see nowhere to up load one.

May 12, 2021

Totally normal
by: Jacki

Hi Kellie, it’s absolutely normal to have multiple flowers, especially in a cultivated situation. In addition, there could have been some slight damage to the flower stem while it was forming (nothing anyone did, maybe an insect) and it split into several shoots.

If you want to send me pictures, let’s start a convo! Every page has a link to my contact page, so start there.

Dec 04, 2021

Century Cactus ready to bloom?
by: New to AZ

We recently moved to Phoenix and are enjoying watching this plant stalk grow taller each day! All the branches off of it will bloom as well as the top.

I wish there were an option to insert a photo.

Dec 05, 2021

Note to New to AZ
by: Jacki

You can send me a picture by starting a conversation via the contact link at the bottom of every page.

Jun 12, 2022

What to do with the spikes?
by: Carmen

I saw a neighbors cacti spikes fell. Mine showed up all of a sudden and wanted to know if once the “fall” do you cut them or what do you do? I moved in my house 2 years ago and this cactus was already here. I have no knowledge of what I am supposed to do with it.

Jun 13, 2022

Note To Carmen
by: Jacki

You can cut the stalk off any time after you have enjoyed the flowers. They don’t care. You may need a good pair of loppers or a saw to do it!