Local woman shocked when century plant sprouts a 20-foot bloom

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — You might have seen the century plant here locally or in similar climates here and there. Odds are if you have seen one, you remember it. 

The plant caught one local woman, Linda, by surprise when it sprouted an unforgettable and unique bloom in her yard. Linda says it started blooming in April and is now more than 20 feet tall. 

“Well first of all, the bottom of the plant, the leaves are so thick and menacing and yet a little whimsical. Then when the blooms came up, it was like, ‘Oh! It’s putting on a huge show,’” Linda said. 

Linda got the plant in 1994, and it came in an 8-inch pot. She and her husband planted it then, not knowing what it would grow into more than 25 years later. 

The plant is native to Mexico and is called a century plant because it takes so long to bloom. Chuck Owens, the director of Horticulture at Bellingrath Gardens, said someone at one time thought it took 100 years to bloom, but that is a myth. In reality, the plant blooms every 10 to 25 years, and no one really knows what kickstarts the blooming process. 

“What makes the plant so dramatic is when it does flower, it  shoots up its large flower spike which can be from 25 to 30 feet tall,” Owens said. 

Once the plant blooms, the base will start to die, but it will leave behind little ‘pups’ or seeds that can be translated. Those will then bloom in another 10 to 25 years.

Linda says that her neighbors are thrilled to have it in their community. 

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