Agave (uh-GAH-vey) are spiny rosettes of fibrous leaves that can grow into large focal points in a landscape. They come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes and make dramatic statement plants in pots and rock gardens.
- Form: These slow growers reach a range of sizes, from under 3.0" to over 4.0ʹ in diameter. Some varieties grow as solitary plants while others can produce offsets and form expansive clusters.
- Colors: Most show blue and green tones and can have dark, contrasting spines or a frosty, powdery finish.
- Foliage: Leaves are lined with sharp teeth and terminate in a formidable spine. Many also show intricate patterns of "leaf imprints" left by the jagged edges of outer leaves.
- Flowers: Agave are monocarpic, meaning they bloom just once in their lifetime. After decades of growth, they send up a massive bloom stalk, go to seed, and eventually die, leaving behind any offsets produced.
- Light: Select spots with bright sunlight. Full outdoor sun is ideal, but they can also survive on sunny sills or under a grow light.
- Soil: Use well-draining soil like a gritty cactus/succulent mix from a garden center. You can also make your own by mixing 1 part potting soil, 1 part coarse sand, and 1 part perlite or lava rocks. Fertilizer is not necessary, but 2-3 applications of diluted fertilizer in the summer growing season can encourage foliar growth.
- Water: Agave are exceptionally drought tolerant and should never be in standing water. Water the soil deeply then allow plenty of time to fully dry out before repeating. Err on the side of under-watering and use pots with drainage holes.
- Hardiness: Minimum temperature tolerance varies greatly, as some species arose in the sub-tropics, others in desert or alpine climates. Some are even frost hardy down to -20F. Refer to each variety’s product description for its specific cold hardiness.
- Propagation: Some species are solitary while others produce offsets or "pups". Pupping varieties can be quite prolific and should be planted in a pots or areas where more agaves are welcome.
NOTES FROM THE NURSERY
There are more than 300 Agave species native to North America and many more hybridized varieties. They are well-loved by many for their captivating forms and ease of cultivation. For more information, explore these succulent resources: