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Rare chance to see ‘century plant’ bloom at National Trust gardens

Agave mitis takes 20 years to mature and blooms only once in its lifetime.

A plant which takes 20 years to mature and only blooms once in its lifetime before dying has flowered.

The Agave plant is currently blooming at the National Trust’s Overbeck’s house and gardens, near Salcombe in Devon.

It has been eight years since the last Agave is known to have flowered at the National Trust property.

The Agave mitis is also unusually displaying two spires of flowers rather than the typical single spire, both reaching an impressive 5ft in height.

Known as a century plant, because it blooms so rarely, the plants die once they have finished flowering.

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The plant flowers only once in its lifetime (Chris Groves/National Trust/PA)

However, many Agave plants in the UK will never bloom, meaning this is a rare chance for the public to see this species of the plant in full glory.

Normally the Agave has long, fleshy and spiky leaves. However, it can take between 20 and 40 years for the plant to produce a tower-like flower stalk which then blossoms with numerous small flowers.

The Agave mitis at Overbeck’s is from the cool highlands of Mexico and enjoys the microclimate on the South Devon coast, which allows gardeners there to grow a diverse range of plants from around the world.

The subtropical gardens there have a Mediterranean feel and are to home to many exotic plants including palms, ginger lilies and Magnolias.

Chris Groves, head gardener at Overbeck’s, said: “It’s really exciting to see this Agave in flower and for it to put on such a remarkable show.

“It is a great chance for the public to view such a rare display. The flowers will continue to open for another week before the plant begins to die back as we approach autumn.”

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