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'It looks very promising' : Halifax's agave plant may bloom after all (4 photos)

Horticulture supervisor Heidi Boutilier said the stalk of the plant has grown about 2 feet in the last two-and-a-half weeks
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Warmer weather in the municipality has caused a growth spurt in Halifax's famed agave plant.

Halifax Regional Municipality horticulture supervisor Heidi Boutilier said the stalk has grown about 2 feet in the last two-and-a-half weeks.

"Nobody is promising anything, but it looks very promising," she told HalifaxToday.ca.

After around 25-years, Agave americanas reach the end of their lifecycle. Before dying, a stalk that could reach between 20 to 40 feet (6 to 12 metres) high shoots up before the plant blooms.

Agaves are normally found in arid areas like deserts, which is why this one has spent its winters in a greenhouse.

In April, staff at the Halifax Public Gardens noticed the plant's leaves had started pushing downward, and shortly after a gardener noticed a stalk starting to appear.

Soon after, the mast grew tall enough to hit the pipes of the greenhouse's roof line -- causing a distinctive curve in the stalk -- and staff had to rush it outside where cooler spring temperatures halted its growth.

"There was some doubt as to whether it would actually start growing again or if it would just sort of stunt it at that point," said Boutilier. "But it's growing again so we're very hopeful now that she still might bloom for us. It looks good."

In addition to the growth spurt, she said bulbous nodules have appeared near the top of the stalk.

"The engorged tip does show positive signs that it could branch out."

She said if that happens, branchlets will start to emerge.

"And at the end of those little branches will be these inflorescences of flowers," explained Boutilier. "Those flowers will be a type of yellow in colour, there's very many in this large cluster."

If those flowers mature, they will become a fruiting body with a seed.

The full process could take another couple of months and only time will tell if Halifax's agave will get to that stage before dying.

If not, Boutilier said two more agaves that can be found on either side of this one at the Halifax Public Gardens are around the same age and could start to show signs of blooming at any time. Hopefully they'll do so in the warmer months.




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