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How to Trim Century Plant:
In-depth Pruning Guide

Updated: April 11, 2022

The century plant, also known as agave Americana, is a succulent that can grow up to 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide. It is known for its striking appearance and long lifespan, with some plants living up to 100 years. However, as with any plant, the century plant requires regular maintenance to keep it healthy and looking its best. This article will provide an in-depth pruning guide for the century plant.

Why Trim a Century Plant?

There are several reasons why you might need to trim your century plant:

  • To remove dead or damaged leaves
  • To promote new growth
  • To maintain a desired shape or size
  • To prevent the plant from becoming too top-heavy and falling over

When to Prune a Century Plant

The best time to prune a century plant is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. This is when the plant is dormant and less likely to be damaged by pruning. However, if you need to remove dead or damaged leaves at any time of year, you can do so without harming the plant.

Tools Needed for Pruning

To prune a century plant, you will need the following tools:

  • Sharp pruners or loppers
  • Heavy-duty gloves
  • Safety glasses

Steps for Pruning a Century Plant

Follow these steps to prune your century plant:

  1. Put on heavy-duty gloves and safety glasses.
  2. Use pruners or loppers to cut off any dead or damaged leaves at the base of the plant.
  3. If you want to maintain a certain size or shape for your plant, cut back any stems that are growing too long or out of place.
  4. Remove any “pups” that are growing around the base of the plant if you don’t want them to grow into new plants.
  5. Dispose of the trimmed leaves and stems in a compost pile or yard waste bin.

Tips for Pruning a Century Plant

  • Always wear heavy-duty gloves and safety glasses when pruning a century plant, as the leaves have sharp spines that can cause injury.
  • Use sharp pruners or loppers to make clean cuts and avoid damaging the plant.
  • Don’t remove more than one-third of the plant at a time, as this can stress the plant and reduce its growth rate.
  • If you’re not sure how much to prune, start with a small amount and observe how the plant responds before doing more.


Can I prune my century plant if it’s flowering?

Yes, you can prune your century plant while it’s flowering. However, keep in mind that cutting off the flower stalk will prevent the plant from producing seeds.

How often should I prune my century plant?

You should prune your century plant as needed to remove dead or damaged leaves or maintain its size and shape. This may be once a year or more often, depending on the plant’s growth rate and your preferences.

Can I propagate my century plant from cuttings?

Yes, you can propagate your century plant from cuttings. Wait a few days after pruning to allow the cut ends to dry out, then plant the cuttings in well-draining soil. Keep them moist but not waterlogged and they should root within a few weeks.

Is it okay to leave “pups” on my century plant?

Yes, it’s okay to leave “pups” on your century plant if you want them to grow into new plants. However, keep in mind that they will eventually take up space and may need to be removed if you don’t want them to overcrowd the parent plant.


Pruning your century plant is an important part of its regular maintenance. By following these steps and tips, you can keep your plant healthy and looking its best for years to come. Remember to always wear protective gear and use sharp tools to avoid injuring yourself or damaging the plant.