Ready-to-bloom century plant draws visitors to Kure Beach

KURE BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - People are flocking to Kure Beach -- but not for the ocean views like you might expect. In fact, the attraction people are hoping to see is a couple of blocks off the oceanfront.

“It’s amazing how many people are stopping by,” said David Hall, who helped plant the agave 20 years ago. “Wish I could charge a nickel for each one of them!”

Whether you call it agave, century plant or “giant asparagus,” it’s drawing crowds to this corner of Kure Beach on 3rd and I Avenues.

“Well my dear friend and next-door neighbor Max [Cockman] planted this 20 years ago and it has grown,” said neighbor Tim Holbrook. “Much to our surprise in the last two to three weeks, she has grown three or four feet a day.”

Holbrook posted the plant to Facebook where it quickly took off. Since then, the plant gets visitors every day. Holbrook suggested giving it a name. That’s when Cockman suggested “Beulah,” after his grandmother.

Beulah is about to bloom for the first and last time. Agave plants live for about 25 years and only bloom once. After that, it dies to make room for its offspring growing underneath.

“People drive by every day, stop and park and take their pictures with it,” said Holbrook. “I’m so grateful that this little plant that Max named after his grandmother Beulah has brought the community together.”

Beulah is expected to blossom in late June or early July. When it does, the neighborhood plans to celebrate.

“The plan is to have a street party, grill asparagus and maybe someone will bring tequila,” said Holbrook.

In the meantime, these neighbors will continue enjoying the view of this 20-foot spectacle.

“I think it’s special and I can see why other people think it’s special and I’m glad they’re coming to look at it,” said Hall.

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Kassie Simmons

Kassie Simmons

Kassie Simmons joined the WECT team in January 2021 as an anchor and multimedia journalist. After graduating from Virginia Tech, Kassie worked at WOAY in southern West Virginia as an anchor and reporter. Kassie has a passion for local news and loves talking to community members about the good going on in their hometown.