The Agave plant belongs to the over 200 Agave species and hails from the Central, South, North American, and the Caribbean region. These are succulents and have large leaves with spiny tips. The stiff and large specimen grows to 10 feet in height and width. The small Agaves are dish-sized with no spines and bear soft leaves.
What is Agave plant?
Agave is the botanical name of the Agave plant and is a monocyte genus that is native to the arid and hot American region. The word Agave comes from the Greek word Agavos which means Illustrious. Studies on human remains show that Agave was used more than 10000 yearsback for fiber and food. It was in 1500 that Agave plants started finding use in manufacturing tequila.
|Common Name||Agave, century plant|
|Plant Type||Perennial succulent|
|Plant Size & Spread||Different varieties that average 1 to 10 feet wide and from 1 to 20 feet tall|
|Bloom Time||Most plants will bloom only once in their entire lifetime|
|Flower Color||White, Yellow Green|
Types of Agave plant
There are many kinds of Agave plant species that differ in their appearance and size. Here we are going to discuss about 4 types of Agave Plants.
1. Agave attenuate
It is a spineless Agave species also known by the names dragon tree Agave and foxtail Agave. It grows to a height of 4 or 5 feet and is a bit wide.
2. Agave parviflora
The leaves of this Agave plant species have white marks and a curled filament that give it its hairy look. The plant grows only 6 inches in length. It takes 6 to 8 years to bloom and produce green flowers.
3. Agave tequilana azul
The Weber blue Agave finds use in making tequila. It is also a great plant to add to your garden. The plant reaches a height of 6 feet and flowers in 6 to 8 years. Its blooms are yellow
4. Agave victoria-reginae
The plant species when gets mature, its leaves turn broad and cup on the inside. It thus forms a dome-shaped structure. The plant reaches a 1-foot height and produces cream-colored flowers. It takes the plant around 20 to 30 years to produce flowers.
If you are interested to know more about the types of agave, read our article for 17 Types of Agave Plants With Pictures.
Things to Consider about Evergreen Trees
The Ideal Conditions for Agave plant
- When to Plant Agave plant?
The best season to plant the Agave plants variety is in the spring season or early fall. When the Agave plant matures, which usually takes many years, then it produces a tall flower stalk that grows from the center of the plant.
The flowers are shaped like a bell and last for long. These are usually in the shades of green, yellow or white. Most of the Agave species will die once the flower produces the berry seed pods.
- How Long Does Agave plant Take to Grow?
The Agave plant usually grows in 6 or 10 years which depends on the weather, soil, and environmental factors. Some plants take even longer to completely mature.
Before you plant the Agave plant you need to first prepare the substrate. For this, mix an equal amount of garden soil, broken brick or granite, and sand. The prepared substrate should be sterilized well which can be done by placing it in a microwave for 3 minutes.
The container needs to be filled with the substrate but leave at least 0.5 inches of space on the top. Add a lot of water and let the container stand to give time for the water to decant.
Then plant the Agave seed leaving at least 0.4 inches of space between each seed. Use a thin substrate layer to cover the seed again and then finish off the process by covering the seed with a fine and thin gravel layer. The grain of the gravel should not be bigger than 0.12 inches. Then water it again.
Benefits of Agave Plant
Here are some benefits of why you may want to grow Agave plants in your home garden.
- These add to the aesthetic beauty of your garden being a focal point of your outdoor landscape.
- The plants are very low maintenance.
- The plant has medicinal properties and is known to be good for the bones.
- The Agave plant extract is used topically to heal wounds.
- Agave plant contains saponins that lower the level of cholesterol in the body.
- The Agave flowers and stalks are edible and can be roasted or eaten raw.
- Agave syrup is a healthy substitute for sugar.
- Agave nectar is applied on hair to strengthen it.
- Many traditional alcoholic drinks like mescal and tequila use the sweet juice from the Agave flower stalk.
- The leaves of the plant are used to make weaving mats and paper.
Are Agave Plants Toxic?
Agave is mildly toxic as it contains oxalate crystals that are present on its leaves. This irritates the throat, skin, and mouth. These are also toxic to cats and dogs
How to Grow Agave plant?
- The key to growing a healthy Agave plant is to ensure that the soil is well-drained and that the plant receives ample sunlight.
- Agave is a succulent plant and produces shallow roots so you can grow them in a shallow container that does not need a lot of soil. The container should be able to take the plant’s weight.
- Use a potting mix of succulents ensuring that it is well-drained. Water the container once a week during the summer months and once monthly during the winter months. Always check if the surface is dry and only then water the plant.
- Agave plant needs moisture for seed germination so always cover the container with a plastic bag or glass to keep the moisture inside.
- The container that contains the seed should not be exposed to direct sunlight but should be kept in a warm area.
- The germination should start in 4 days or a maximum of 2 weeks. If it does not germinate by then the plant is never going to germinate.
- Remove the glass and let the container stay moisturized for 2 weeks after you plant it.
- The Agaves that breed from seed will first start with one leaf.
- It is important to not change the light regime especially when the plant is in its sensitive years.
- The plant will usually start to form new leaves four weeks after the germination process is over. It takes three leaves after which the Agave plant starts looking like a mature plant
Care for Agave Plant
The plant prefers full sun but can tolerate a bit of shade. If the climate is hot then it can handle more shade.
The mature plants are tolerant to drought, but when the plant is first established, water it every four or five days in the first month.
Most of the Agave plant species cannot tolerate frost. These usually like warm climate while in the winter months when they rest these need cool temperature. The night temperature of over 55 degrees Fahrenheit and a day temperature of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for the plant.
The Agave plants like climate with low humidity since high humidity cause the crown to rot.
The plant needs well-drained soil that is rocky or sandy with a pH level of 6.6 to 6.8. Poorly drained soil causes the root to rot.
It is important to shelter the plant from cold wind else the plant will get damaged.
The main idea of pruning the Agave plant is to remove any dead leaves and eradicate the diseased areas. Seasonal pruning may also be carried out.
The Agave plant does not need a lot of care though these do benefit from occasional trims. The plant does not like heavy pruning that can cause the plant to die if you remove the healthy leaves. Care should be taken to remove only the dead and damaged leaves.
Agave plant does not need fertilizing but if you wish to do so then use a well-balanced and soluble fertilizer and ensure that you sprinkle it with care. It should be sprayed at the plant’s base in the early growing season. The fertilizer should contain phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium.
Feeding is not necessary since it will encourage flowering and if the plant starts to flower then it will die soon.
To propagate the Agave plant all that you need to do is to separate the pup from the parent plant using a trowel or a sharp knife. You may also twist them with your hand with less exertion.
Pests & Diseases
Pests and diseases do not generally cause harm to the Agave plant. The Agave snout weevil though at times burrows into the center of the plant and lays its egg which collapses the plant.
The Agave plant is an architectural plant, ideal to be planted in your home garden. These are sturdy, low maintenance, and visually stimulating. The plant needs very less water, comes in varied sizes and shapes, and has an array of colors from silvery blue to dark green. Learning how to grow and care for them makes it easy to incorporate the Agave plant into your garden.