The century plant, aka Agave Americana, blooms only rarely. My Mam-ma had one at her home in Midway, which is just east of Gulf Breeze, Florida. The plant grew by the front door of the cabin – the original cinder block house my grandparents, Hoyt and Willie Cook, built as a vacation home before they moved out to the beach permanently. Growing up, when I stepped out the front door of their brick clad home, the cabin was to my left. Sometimes when I would visit, I’d get the project of making flowers for the century plant.
To make blooms for a century plant, you need a Styrofoam egg carton or two. (Next time I get one, I’ll have to make some and take photos to illustrate this post.) Using scissors, separate the egg cups. Cut small triangles out of the sides of the cup, and you’ll see it starts to look like a flower.
The leaves of the century plant are long and sharp, sharp pointed. I don’t remember if we made little starter holes or slots in the flowers or if we just jabbed them on the ends. Either way, once they’re on, shove them down firmly. Spread the flowers around the leaves, and voila! Your century plant has flowers.
The color depends on the egg carton, of course. I think we’d usually work with three or four egg cartons. They came in pink, blue, yellow. The plant often ended up with multi-color blooms.
Maybe someday I’ll come across a photo with that century plant and our homemade flowers on it. It’s one of those things that’s so everyday, I don’t think I ever thought to snap a picture. Here’s a photo of an unadorned century plant. Can you picture it with egg carton flowers?