But sometimes, after our succulents produce the most stunning flowers, they wither and die. Has this ever happened to your plants? If yes, there's no need to worry because it's completely normal. Succulents that die right after their flowers bloom are called monocarpic succulents.
All monocarpic succulents flower then die, but there are things you can do to delay its bloom. In this article, you will learn about monocarpic succulents and how you can keep them healthy for as long as possible.
What Does Monocarpic Mean?
“Mono” is a Greek word that means single, while “Karpos” or “Caprice” means fruit. Monocarpic plants, as mentioned above, are those that bloom or produce fruits once then dies. Because of this, many people call the flowering moment the “bloom of death.” Plants that repeatedly produces flowers throughout their life cycles are called polycarpic plants, which means “many fruits” in Greek.
Monocarpic succulents die because they spend all their nutrients and energy on producing flowers. They use up all their resources for flowering because their flowers contain seeds that will help them propagate. Like most living things, the goal of a succulent is to reproduce, so it uses up all its energy for the production of flowers and seeds.
After producing flowers and seeds, monocarpic succulents are too depleted to sustain themselves, so they turn black and die.
But don't worry, several types of monocarpic succulents live for years before they flower, like the Hen and Chicks. Some, like the Century Plant, may even take decades before they start producing flowers.
What Succulents are Monocarpic?
The three main types of monocarpic succulents are Agave, Sempervivum, and Kalanchoe. Not all Agave and Kalanchoe succulents are monocarpic, but all Sempervivum are.
Agave plants can live for 25 years before they bloom. When they are ready to produce flowers, it uses all its energy to produce thick stems that will be the last. These stems can grow up to 8 feet high. The dying process of monocarpic Agave succulents are slower compared to most of its kind. It can take a month to years before it withers and dies.
As mentioned above, all varieties of Sempervivum succulents, commonly known as Hen and Chicks, are monocarpic. But fortunately, they take around 3-4 years to bloom, so you can still enjoy them for a long while before they die. When they bloom, they also produce several offshoots to make up for their death.
There are certain types of succulents, like some varieties of Aeoniums and Yucca, that don't die immediately after producing flowers, but they are still considered monocarpic.
It can get confusing at this point since we have already made it clear that monocarpic succulents die after flowering. But these special varieties of monocarpic succulents also die in a sense, when their branches that flowered fall out. Their branches produce flowers one at a time, so the plant remains alive because as long as it still has branches that thrive.
How Do You Know if Your Succulent is Monocarpic?
One easy way to find out whether your succulent is monocarpic is to look at its flowers. If the flowers are emerging from the center of the plant, then it is likely the bloom of death. If the flowers are blooming from the side of the plant, then your succulent is not monocarpic. If so, you can clip off the flower when it withers.
Can You Prevent a Monocarpic Succulent from Dying?
As mentioned above, there are monocarpic succulents that don't die. But what do you do with those varieties that immediately die after flowering?
It is uncertain whether you can prevent monocarpic succulents from dying. Some gardeners have been successful in keeping their monocarpic plants alive after flowering, but those are rare cases. Taking good care of your succulents can delay their flowering. Succulents that are under stress are likely to bloom early in hopes that their seeds will grow in better condition, so give your plants enough sunlight and water.
You can try to extend the life of your monocarpic succulent by cutting off the flower stalks once you see them coming out.
What Should You Do After the Bloom of Death?
Once you see your monocarpic succulent start to bloom, the best option is to harvest the offshoots and plant them as is. But you can also save the seeds from the flowers and grow them in different containers.
When your succulent is blooming, make sure to give it your usual care so it won't get stressed. It would also be great if you'd let your succulent take its natural course. Enjoy its flowers as they bloom, and take care of its offshoots, so they grow as charming as their parent plant.
We hope this post was helpful to you. If you know of any other types of monocarpic succulents, please let us know in the comment section below. Enjoy planting!