Local News

20-foot agave plant stuns Manning residents


A botanical marvel has captured the attention of Manning locals and passersby alike. Daniel Thames, a 79-year-old resident, has been nurturing a remarkable agave plant in his yard, which has now grown to an impressive 20 feet tall.

Thames, originally from the Rambay area, lived and worked in Massachusetts for over 40 years before returning to Manning in 2005. He received the agave plant from a young lady in Eutawville in 2014, when it was just a foot and a half tall. Over the years, he has watched it grow, never imagining it would reach such heights.

The agave, often referred to as a century plant, is known for its dramatic growth spurt as it reaches maturity. Typically, these plants take between 8 and 30 years to flower, with a central stem that can grow up to 20 feet tall. Thames’ plant, which started blooming about a month and a half ago, is now a towering presence in his yard, adorned with pale yellow blossoms.

Thames has a simple yet effective method for caring for his agave. “I dig a hole, take a bucket, fill it up with water, cover it up, and it did what it did on its own,” he explained. Despite his modest approach, the plant has thrived, becoming a local attraction.

“Within two months, it shot up like that. It’s incredible,” Thames said.

Century plants, or Agave americana, are low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, and can spread up to 12 feet. Their large, succulent leaves can grow up to 6 feet long and are often greenish-blue in color. Thames’ plant, with its striking appearance and impressive size, has drawn many visitors to his yard.

“It’s so big,” Thames marveled. “People stop by all the time to see it.”

The plant’s flowering signifies the end of its life cycle. Once it has bloomed, it will die, but not before producing “pups” around its base. These offshoots can be transplanted, allowing the cycle to begin anew.

Thames’ wife, Gloria, who suffers from depression, finds joy in their garden. “She loved working with plants,” Thames said. “Now I try to keep the yard the way she left it.”

As the agave continues to bloom, Thames and his neighbors remain in awe of this natural wonder. “It’s just a plant,” a passing neighbor remarked, “but it’s very, very cool.”

For now, the towering agave stands as a testament to Thames’ care and the wonders of nature, drawing admiration from all who see it.