Sacramento Bee readers share their gardening adventures.
This pretty pink cactus blooms every spring in reader Jean Sadler's garden in Elk Grove, but she had no idea what it was.
"It blooms once per year and this is the prettiest it's ever been with 55 buds on it," Sadler said. "I've given it very little care."
The answer? "This beautiful plant is an Echinopsis," said cactus expert Pat Allen of the Carmichael Cactus and Succulent Society. "They bloom profusely at this time of year."
Speaking of cactuses and succulents, Bill Keye's gigantic agave sparked more century plant watchers to chime in. Jim Morgan shared a YouTube video of his agave that seemed to grow taller before his eyes.
"It's quite a sight to see!" Morgan said. "This plant has been growing in our yard for more than 25 years. It is often called a century plant, but it is actually a blue agave. These plants grow 25 to 35 years before they bloom.
"At least a year before blooming, the plant develops many small plants called pups," he added. "When the plant starts the blooming process, it sends up a stalk that looks like a giant asparagus spear. Branches grow out of the stalk and flowers emerge."
One theory suggests that a blooming century plant may prompt others to send up stalks, too, Morgan said.
"Even some of the pups are putting out flowering stalks," he added. "Once the large plant blooms, it dies back. The pups continue to grow and the cycle continues."
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