How to Grow and Care for Agave

  • jack Officer
  • Jun 03, 2023

Agave spp.

Succulents exist in an unlimited array, their kind and colour starting from tiny inexperienced bulbous leaves on a string-like stem to rosy-toned stumps that look like dwelling rocks.

It may be arduous to imagine that agaves belong to this class as properly.

At maturity, some might look like extra intently associated to a big number of cacti somewhat than one thing like hens and chicks. However each of those are forms of succulents, in any case.

Due to their vary in measurement and the means by which they self-propagate, Agave could also be probably the most enthralling succulent genera on the planet.

A close up vertical image of a large agave plant growing in the landscape pictured on a blue sky background. To the top and bottom of the frame is green and white printed text.

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So, with out additional ado, let’s discuss agaves, and plant, propagate, and look after them in your panorama for many years of enjoyment.

Right here’s what we’ll cowl:

Agave is a type of crops that makes you pull the automotive over whenever you spot it in somebody’s yard.

Not solely is it beautiful in kind and measurement, however should you occur to catch it in bloom, chances are you’ll really feel that you simply’ve stumbled throughout a real thriller.

What Is Agave?

There are roughly 270 identified species within the Agave genus. A few of these are used to provide meals merchandise, corresponding to agave syrup, or alcohol, corresponding to mezcal and tequila.

A horizontal image of a farmer riding a buckskin horse through rows of agave plantings with a dog following behind.

Others, such because the sisal plant, A. sisalana, are grown primarily for fiber, used to make rope and quite a lot of different merchandise.

These crops belong to the Asparagaceae household. If that sounds acquainted, it might be as a result of it’s the identical household that widespread backyard selection asparagus belongs to.

There are greater than 2,500 completely different species on this household, starting from bluebells to snake crops.

Should you’re lucky sufficient to witness an agave in bloom, you’ll discover the connection to asparagus, because the flowering stalk bears a robust resemblance.

Most species are appropriate for cultivation in USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 11, and customarily thrive in dry climates.

A close up horizontal image of a garden border planted with a variety of different agaves and other drought-tolerant plants.

These herbaceous, rosette-forming succulents might be compact at simply 12 to 18 inches, or attain 10 to 12 ft in peak, with an identical unfold.

They’re cactus-like in construction, with sharp, hook-like spines alongside the perimeter of the leaves on all however just a few species.

There are roughly 40 species which are native to america, most of which develop within the western and southwestern desert areas.

Some species, such because the foxtail agave, A. attenuata, develop on stalk-shaped, semi-woody stems like one thing from a Dr. Seuss ebook.

A close up horizontal image of fox tail Agave attenuata growing in the garden with trees in soft focus in the background.

Many of those, corresponding to A. deserti, which was discovered and named by botanist George Engelmann who found it in southern California within the mid 1830s, have develop into widespread additions in xeriscape plantings. This species is steadily chosen due to its tendency to provide offsets that fill in large areas.

The American agave, A. americana, thrives in areas with excessive warmth all through a lot of the yr the place there may be little annual rainfall, corresponding to in elements of Arizona, California, and southern Florida.

A close up horizontal image of a backyard with trees and shrubs and a large century plant growing beside a brick pathway.

This species can be identified to tolerate subtropical and tropical climates, offered that it’s rising in soil that doesn’t maintain water. Many different species can thrive in the sort of local weather as properly.

Among the most typical agave species grown within the residence panorama embrace foxtail (A. attenuata), which is one among few with out marginal tooth; Caribbean (A. angustifolia), which has slender leaves tipped in silver-white; blue (A. tequilana) from which tequila is made; and whale’s tongue agave (A. ovatifolia), which has a distinctly rounded leaf form.

Different species generally grown as panorama crops embrace A. macroacantha, the black-spined agave; A. parryi var. truncata, the artichoke agave; A. potatorum, aka butterfly agave; A. lopantha, the middle stripe or thorn-crested agave; and A. victoriae-reginae, or Queen Victoria agave.

A close up horizontal image of Queen Victoria agave growing in a rocky landscape.
Queen Victoria agave.

One of the vital distinct oddities of this genus is the octopus agave, A. vilmoriniana. This species is commonly chosen as a focal piece, with leaves that spiral and twist like some kind of land-mired sea creature.

A close up horizontal image of an octopus agave growing in a garden border with other succulents and cacti in the background.
Octopus agave.

One other species that stands out is A. geminiflora, the twin-flowered agave, which grows as a rounded mass of slender leaves.

Nearly all of agave species are very drought tolerant, though some are native to grasslands or mountainous areas the place they thrive in common precipitation, and even considerably cooler temperatures.

In addition they are inclined to thrive even in poor soil, and may tolerate some salt as properly, making them appropriate for coastal plantings.

All agave species are monocarpic which suggests the crops ship up one large flower stalk of their lifetime, which then blossoms for a number of weeks to some months, after which the plant dies.

One other widespread attribute that they share is the presence of crystals often called oxalates of their leaves and stems, that are poisonous to cats and canine – generally fatally so if sufficient are ingested.

Regulate your pets should you plant these in your panorama.

Cultivation and Historical past

Most agaves are native to Central and South America. Some have been first documented as being utilized by the Olmec individuals, who processed and fermented the juice and pulp of the plant to make an alcoholic beverage often called pulque.

The indigenous individuals of Central and South America continued to domesticate the crops for this function, and in addition used some species to create quite a lot of medicinal therapies.

The Aztecs revered the blue agave to such a level that they regarded their goddess Mayahuel because the personification of the plant.

A horizontal image of farmers working on cutting down the agave plants to make tequila.
Harvesting agave to make tequila.

In Mexico, they’re nonetheless extensively cultivated in Jalisco, the place mature crops are pruned right down to the central stem and processed to extract their sap, which is then fermented into alcohol.

Agaves, significantly A. americana, are generally known as “century crops” resulting from an apocryphal perception that they bloomed solely as soon as each hundred years.

In actuality, the crops can survive for as much as 25 years in ideally suited circumstances, with some uncommon specimens dwelling significantly longer, and most bloom when they’re between 10 and 20 years of age.


Most varieties self-propagate in two methods, by producing pups and seed.

Mature crops ship out runners underground that produce sprouts often called pups. These might be discovered near the mother or father plant generally, and can kind a root system of their very own. The pups make wonderful transplants.

As talked about, agave crops ship up only one blooming stalk of their lifetime.

A horizontal image of blooming agave plants growing on a hillside with the Mediterranean sea in the background.

This stalk might be modest at eight to 12 ft in peak, or it might tower over the panorama, reaching heights of 30 ft, with a thick, woody stem that resembles an enormous asparagus.

This stalk produces clusters of blooms that department out and open over a interval of some weeks to a number of months, relying on the species.

The blooms will ultimately kind seed pods and the stalk will die off because the mother or father plant can not assist it. When the stalk dies, the mother or father plant usually begins to say no quickly as properly.

Some species may self-propagate by producing bulbils, or tiny plantlets that kind on the flower stalk.

After they’re mature, they’ll fall off and take root on the bottom. They will also be collected and propagated at residence.

Should you’re fortunate sufficient to witness the bloom of an agave, take plenty of footage, and be ready to gather the ensuing seeds or bulbils!

Maybe you’ve bought a plant that hasn’t determined it’s time to bloom but. If that’s the case, there are just a few different strategies to propagate it – however should you ask me, they’re not practically as cool!

From Seed

Agave seeds are triangular and flat, resembling these of a lily or yucca. Sometimes, should you’ve collected them from a pod that has opened by itself, they’ll be mature and deep black in colour.

The scale of the seed usually correlates to the dimensions of the plant, with smaller crops producing smaller seeds.

In early spring, fill pots or a seed-starting flat with one half perlite or sand to 1 half compost or coconut coir. Keep away from utilizing soil that incorporates manure as it might forestall germination.

Any potting medium you utilize needs to be sterilized by spreading it on a baking sheet and baking it within the oven at 350°F for 10 to fifteen minutes.

Ensure that any containers you select are clear and that they’ve good drainage. Flat, shallow trays or pots are most popular over deep pots.

It’s possible you’ll determine to buy a mix particularly for rising succulents as an alternative of formulating your personal, corresponding to The Valley Backyard’s Natural Potting Soil for Cactus and Succulents, obtainable from Amazon in a two-quart bundle.

Natural Potting Soil for Cactus and Succulents

I strongly advocate sterilizing bought potting mediums as properly, simply to err on the aspect of warning, as fungi, different forms of pathogens, and bug eggs and larvae are generally current in bagged soil, until it’s particularly labelled as sterile.

Scatter the seeds about one-half to 1 inch aside on high of the soil, and canopy them frivolously with sand to carry them in place.

They don’t have to be lined, however they’re very light-weight and may shift when water is poured over them. They shouldn’t be buried greater than about one-eighth of an inch deep, as they want gentle to germinate.

It’s greatest to keep away from wetting the seeds as they’re much less more likely to sprout in the event that they’re soggy. Backside-watering is the best way to go.

Place the pots or tray in a bigger container or in your sink with the drain stopped. Fill the bigger container or sink with water to a depth that covers half of the peak of the potting container. Permit the soil to soak up water simply till the floor feels barely damp.

It’s possible you’ll select to water historically, however keep away from pouring water instantly over the seeds. As soon as the soil has been moistened, cowl the pots or tray with plastic wrap or a humidity dome, and place it in a location the place in a single day temperatures are persistently between 65 and 75°F.

A warmth mat set between 70 and 75°F will also be used to maintain the soil heat, as heat will support in germination.

Should you’re searching for a mat that works properly with a number of pots or a seed flat, do this one, that’s obtainable from the Vivosun retailer by way of Amazon.

Vivosun Warmth Mat

Should you’re in a position to place the seeds outdoor in a sheltered location with partial shade as an alternative, it will alleviate the necessity for finishing the added step of hardening off later.

Droplets of moisture that gather on the plastic can drip again into the soil with out inhibiting germination, but when the plastic collects plenty of water, you may open one nook to vent it.

In about three to 4 weeks when the seeds sprout, transfer them to a location that’s sunny, however not in harsh direct daylight. Should you haven’t already vented the plastic, make certain to take action as soon as they’ve sprouted.

Backside water or mist the crops and soil properly a few times per week, relying on how rapidly the soil dries out. Should you’re gardening in an arid atmosphere, chances are you’ll must mist extra usually. Preserve the soil watered so it’s barely moist to the contact for the primary few months.

Seedlings profit from a diluted software of half-strength 20-20-20 (NPK) common plant fertilizer between their first and third month.

Permit the seedlings to develop till each has at the least three true leaves. It may take 4 to 6 months or extra for them to achieve this stage. After they do, you may start to maneuver them into direct daylight.

Begin by bringing them outdoor for just a few hours in partial shade, and step by step improve the time and solar publicity.

A close up horizontal image of a small variegated agave plant growing in a terra cotta pot.

After the seedlings have been acclimated to the outside, you may transfer them to their everlasting location. Select a spot with good drainage, and at the least eight hours of daylight per day.

Partial shade for a part of the day is appropriate in case your area experiences excessive warmth, with temperatures above 80°F for a lot of the day.

Put together a gap that’s as large and deep as the foundation system of the seedling; normally, a finger-poke measurement is ample.

Ensure that the opening is at the least the space of the mature plant’s unfold away from buildings or different crops until you’re keen to relocate them because the agave grows to its mature measurement.

Observe that agaves don’t usually transplant properly, as they develop a big root system with a taproot. It’s greatest to plant them in a everlasting location.

Place the seedling within the gap, press the soil across the base of the plant, and water properly to settle it in.

From Pups

Most agaves readily self-propagate by sending runners out underground. These runners will develop new crops, generally instantly underneath the mother or father plant or only a brief distance away.

A close up vertical image of a large century plant growing by the side of a road with a hedge in the background.
Picture by Kelly Spicer.

The crops that sprout from the runners are often called pups, and after they kind three to 4 leaves, they are often lifted and transplanted.

Any time whenever you plan to deal with the leaves of the plant, remember to put on thick gloves or use tongs to keep away from being punctured by the extraordinarily sharp tooth-like spikes alongside the margins of the leaves.

Observe that there could also be spikes alongside the central margin on the underside as properly, until you will have a spread that’s spineless.

Grasp the pup gently together with your gloved hand, or with tongs, and use warning to not apply an excessive amount of stress – you don’t need to injury the plant or be injured. Agave leaves are surprisingly robust, however they are often punctured or bruised.

A close up vertical image of a bare root agave plant ready to be set out in the garden.
Picture by Kelly Spicer.

Gently pull the pup upward. If there may be resistance, use a rocking movement forwards and backwards, or a trowel to pry the soil up till the roots are uncovered. If the pup continues to be hooked up to a runner, use a set of sharp backyard shears to snip it free.

The pup might be transplanted to a pot or to a everlasting location within the floor. Should you plan to pot it, use a container that has good drainage and that’s simply barely deeper than the present root system.

From Bulbils

Bulbils might be transplanted in a lot the identical manner as pups. They generally develop aerial roots, however they could fall off the blooming stalk with out roots as properly.

Use a potting combine that’s specifically formulated for cacti and succulents, or combine one half perlite or sand with one half coconut coir or compost.

Fill the container and make a gap massive sufficient to accommodate the foundation system, or seat the bulbil into the opening slightly below the soil floor.

Set the plant within the gap and press the soil round it, after which water it to settle. Place it in a location the place it is going to obtain at the least eight hours of daylight per day.

Observe that it might take anyplace from a number of weeks to a number of months earlier than the foundation system develops. Crops needs to be three to 4 inches in peak previous to transplanting.

Should you’re unsure whether or not the bulbil has taken root, you can provide it a delicate pull – there needs to be some resistance, which signifies that roots have developed.

Bulbils which have developed aerial roots whereas nonetheless hooked up to the flower stalk, or ones which have indifferent and fallen to the bottom, might be planted instantly in-ground. They generally root on their very own as soon as they drop to the bottom as properly.

In the event that they’ve already rooted within the floor and also you need to relocate them, you may fastidiously dig them up in the identical manner you’d when eradicating pups.

Once more, making a gap that’s about the identical measurement as the foundation system is ample. Seat the plant and press the soil round it, then water to settle it in.

Transplanting Nursery Crops

I like to recommend shopping for naked root crops each time doable. There are a number of benefits to this versus shopping for potted crops.

First, you’ll have the ability to examine the foundation system to ensure it’s wholesome and freed from fungi or root rot.

You’ll keep away from transplanting pathogens, insect larvae, and eggs, if there isn’t any soil current to fret about.

You can too give the crops a right away increase by planting them in recent, wholesome soil, the place they’ll develop into established with out struggling within the poor circumstances they could expertise in a grower’s pot.

To transplant a naked root or store-bought plant in a nursery pot, select a website with good drainage the place your plant will obtain eight hours of daylight per day, until you reside in a area the place the sunshine is coupled with persistently excessive temperatures all through the day and evening.

In excessive warmth and harsh solar, present partial shade.

Make a gap the identical width and depth as the foundation system with a small mound of soil on the backside for naked root crops. After inspecting roots and soil to make certain they’re wholesome, fastidiously take away the plant from its pot, and set it within the gap.

Unfold the roots of a naked root plant over the mound and backfill round them with unfastened soil. Place the plant upright and maintain it there as you backfill across the roots.

Press the soil across the base of the plant together with your arms to safe it in place, and water it properly to settle in. Make sure you present one inch of water per week till the plant has develop into properly established.

Methods to Develop

Like most succulents, agaves are tremendous easy to develop.

They solely have just a few particular wants, and should you’re planting in an space the place local weather and climate circumstances are perfect for your chosen selection, you may fairly simply simply allow them to do their very own factor.

Spiny crops all the time remind me that they like to be left alone.

A close up horizontal image of the spiny leaves of the agave plant pictured on a soft focus background.

Be careful to your pets if these crops are a part of your landscaping. It’s greatest to not let the canine assist to water the spikey varieties, because the spikes on the leaf ideas might be harmful.

Agave supplies wonderful pure habitat for lizards, frogs, and snakes in some areas as properly, so should you’re averse to internet hosting animals corresponding to these close to your own home, chances are you’ll need to take into account planting one thing else.

In any other case, they’ll make an exquisite addition for supporting native wildlife!

In areas which are semi-arid to arid the place temperatures are usually excessive, corresponding to in Zones 8 to 11, agave species which are warmth and drought tolerant might be planted within the floor and left there yr spherical.

A close up horizontal image of whale's tongue agave growing in a xeriscape surrounded by pea gravel.

Whereas they might be planted in containers, I don’t advocate it for big varieties such because the American or blue agave (A. tequilana), as over time they’ll outgrow virtually any container and have to be repotted steadily – which might be somewhat troublesome with a plant this huge and pokey!

Container planting works properly for smaller species and cultivars. Use a container that’s three to 4 inches bigger than the foundation system of the plant, and ensure the pot has good drainage. Fill it with a mixture of one half perlite or sand to 1 half coconut coir or compost.

We cowl this in additional element in our information to rising agave in containers. (coming quickly!)

The basis system of a few of the bigger sorts might be expansive, reaching a number of ft deep and simply as large, as these crops are properly tailored to hunt water in areas the place rainfall is scarce.

They will additionally develop a big taproot as I discussed earlier than, and this implies they don’t transplant properly.

Select a website the place the plant could have room to develop, and keep in mind that some varieties can attain heights of six ft at a minimal, and generally as a lot as 12 ft, with an identical unfold.

If a plant of that measurement ultimately blooms, you’ll primarily be coping with a tree-like, 15-foot (or taller!) blooming asparagus a la Jack and the Beanstalk, so be ready.

The soil on the planting website ought to have good drainage with a mildly acidic pH of 6.0 to six.8. These crops completely won’t tolerate moist soil, and can protest by rapidly changing into unhealthy or dying off.

Elements of the panorama which are on a slight incline make good potential planting websites, as do rock gardens – simply make certain that the bottom across the planting space has a flat basin to soak up water.

A horizontal image of agave plants growing on a hillside in Mexico with mountains and clouds in soft focus in the background.

Throughout the spring and summer season, for immature crops that aren’t but established, you need to provide about one inch of water per week within the absence of rainfall, or if the soil is bone dry past the highest 4 to 6 inches.

In late fall by winter, scale back the quantity of water that you simply present to 1 inch each two to a few weeks.

Indicators that crops are overwatered embrace yellow discoloration, wilting or shriveling, weakening of the central stem that causes the central portion of leaves to interrupt off, and rotting close to the bottom or within the roots of the plant.

Overwatering may also invite illness and pest infestation, so remember to keep away from it as a lot as doable.

Conversely, in case your area persistently experiences extreme drought, corresponding to dry spells with out rain for greater than 4 months, you need to plan to water younger crops each week.

As soon as crops are one to 2 years previous, they’re able to tolerating longer intervals with out water – generally for a number of months.

You may also add a one- to two-inch-deep layer of pulverized stone or pea gravel over the realm of the foundation system to assist retain some moisture between watering.

It’s greatest to keep away from utilizing shredded bark mulch to retain moisture round these crops, as it might maintain the underlying soil too moist.

In locations the place the water desk could be very near the floor, corresponding to in Florida, you’ll need to mound the soil as much as present more room for the plant to root with low-impact from the obtainable groundwater.

These succulents want at the least eight hours of daylight per day, but when your area experiences constant daytime temperatures of 80°F or larger, and above 60°F in a single day, you’ll need to present some shade for younger crops.

Planting close to a tree with sparse foliage, corresponding to a palm, will present dappled daylight and ample shade.

As agaves mature, they’ll usually tolerate extra direct solar, however they’re nonetheless prone to sunscald when harsh solar is mixed with excessive temperatures.

Should you discover that your plant is producing runners and pups, you may collect and relocate them to keep away from crowding, or give them away to family and friends. One wholesome mother or father can produce dozens of pups in its lifetime.

Most outside agave crops don’t want fertilizer until they’re of their early progress phases, or if the soil they’re rising in is generally sand or very rocky.

Of their native atmosphere, agaves obtain minerals from the soil corresponding to iron, manganese, and zinc, that are essential for plant progress.

In case your soil is mineral-deficient – which might be ascertained by soil testing – you may add liquid fertilizer, corresponding to Natural Succulent & Cactus Plant Meals by The Develop Co, obtainable by way of Amazon, as soon as a month within the spring and summer season.

Natural Succulent and Cactus Meals

Comply with the directions on the bundle for the dimensions and age of your plant to keep away from over-application.

And keep away from utilizing fertilizer on mature crops that’s excessive in nitrogen, as it will encourage quick progress that may result in earlier blooming – a mistake since these crops die after they bloom.

Rising Suggestions

  • Most agaves develop greatest in semi-arid to arid areas the place they won’t obtain an excessive amount of water from rainfall.
  • At all times enable ample spacing and maintain the mature dimensions of your chosen species or cultivar in thoughts.
  • Present crops underneath 1 yr previous with 1 inch of water per week and partial shade in case your area experiences persistently excessive warmth and low rainfall.
  • Look ahead to the event of pups, and transplant them as wanted to stop overcrowding across the mother or father.

Pruning and Upkeep

In zones that have excessive warmth and harsh daylight, corresponding to within the southernmost third of america, or the deserts of Nevada and California, you may even see some leaves turning grey or silver from solar injury.

A close up vertical image of a large century plant (Agave americana) growing in the garden pictured in light sunshine with shrubs in soft focus in the background.

Leaves which are broken needs to be minimize away, however once more, use warning when dealing with this spiky plant, and all the time keep away from pruning greater than is totally vital.

Extreme pruning could cause stress and result in dieback, and open wounds might present an entryway for illness pathogens.

Use a pointy, sanitized backyard knife to chop broken leaves off on the base the place they connect to the central stem, and permit the minimize to callus over. A broken plant might ship out runners in response to emphasize.

In case your plant has suffered from illness or pest injury, you may additionally want to chop off broken leaves to stop additional unfold.

See the pests and illness part beneath for data on figuring out and mitigating these issues.

Species and Cultivars to Choose

There are such a lot of species and cultivars to select from that it may be a problem to determine, however an excellent place to start out is to slim down the checklist primarily based in your regional local weather and Hardiness Zone.

Some agaves want a sizzling, arid local weather to develop greatest whereas others thrive in additional average climates.

Listed here are just a few strategies to get you began:


American agave, A. americana, options blue-green leaves with sharp spines on their ideas and alongside the outer edges.

A close up square image of a large American agave growing in a garden border outside a residence.

American Agave

Rising to a mature peak of 4 to 6 ft and a width of eight to 10 ft, this century plant makes a dramatic influence within the panorama in Zones 7 to 11.

You will discover crops in three-gallon containers obtainable from Quick Rising Bushes.

Blue Glow

This selection is a hybrid cross between A. ocuhui and A. attenuata. The result’s a compact plant, measuring one to 2 ft in peak with a two- to three-foot unfold.

The flowering stalk it is going to ultimately produce might be eight to 10 ft in peak.

The leaves are chalky blue-green with a red-orange or reddish-purple tipped leaf margin that has brief tooth. This selection matches properly right into a landscaped mattress or as a border planting.

A close up square image of Agave 'Blue Glow' growing in a garden border.

‘Blue Glow’

‘Blue Glow’ can stand up to winter lows down to twenty°F. Whereas it might tolerate full solar in cooler areas, it grows greatest in partial shade.

Gardeners in California can discover crops obtainable in 15-gallon pots from Crops Specific.


Foxtail agave (A. attenuata), aka swan’s neck, gentle tip, or lion’s tail agave, has large, inexperienced leaves that appear to shimmer with an virtually silvery hue.

With no spines, this kind is good for planting in landscapes the place youngsters and pets wish to play.

A close up square image of two fox tail agave plants growing in a rocky garden border with flowers in the background.


This selection grows to a mature peak of 4 to 5 ft, and width of six to eight ft. It’s appropriate for rising in Zones 10 and 11.

You will discover crops in three-gallon containers obtainable from Quick Rising Bushes.


Giant and spectacular, A. americana ‘Variegata’, is one that you simply’ll want plenty of room for.

This kind thrives in arid or semi-arid areas, or in subtropical to tropical climates in well-drained soil.

A close up vertical image of Agave americana 'Variegata' growing in the garden pictured in light sunshine.


You’ll want to permit area for its large six- to 12-foot peak and equal unfold, and maintain the potential peak of the bloom stalk in thoughts – these generally develop as much as 30 ft!

You will discover crops in five-gallon containers obtainable from Quick Rising Bushes.

Managing Pests and Illness

There are happily few animals which are courageous sufficient to munch on these spiky crops, and simply as few maladies that generally afflict agaves. Most are simply avoidable whenever you take the right precautions forward of time.


Whereas deer will usually keep away from most agaves, they could determine that it’s well worth the bother to munch on a leaf or two if there may be nothing else round to eat.

Except for deer, wild burros and goats that reside in desert areas may nibble on agave crops infrequently. Whether or not they’re rising wild or planted in your yard doesn’t actually matter to them, however the crops are sadly poisonous to those animals, and ingestion might result in loss of life.

To keep away from searching, plant your agave in an space the place you may restrict entry, corresponding to behind a fence, in order that they’re out of attain.


There is just one insect of actual concern that targets varied species of agave, nevertheless it’s a nuisance if it does infest your crops.

Generally known as the agave snout weevil or the sisal weevil, Scyphophorus acupunctatus is an insect that’s identified to feed on agave and yucca crops.

These beetles are half an inch lengthy, with snout-like faces. These snouts incorporates mouthparts that they use to puncture plant leaves and suck out the fluid inside.

They’re usually brownish-black or gray-black, with a boring tone that helps them to mix into their environment.

The feminine of the species will bore a pencil-sized gap into the central stem of a plant on the base, and lay their eggs inside within the springtime.

Small yellow-brown grubs hatch inside just a few weeks, feeding on the inside of the plant, going principally undetected till they pupate.

A close up horizontal image of an agave snout weevil beetle pictured on a soft focus background.

It’s most typical to seek out weevils in crops which are starting the blooming course of, however they’ll generally be unfold by way of the soil within the nursery pots.

Agave crops which are newly or improperly planted or overwatered could also be burdened, and this makes them extra prone to infestation.

Indicators of infestation embrace injury to leaves on the base, close to the central stem; wrinkling or wilting leaves ranging from the underside of the plant and shifting up; and rotten areas alongside the core.

If the injury is extreme, all the plant might develop into unfastened within the floor and fall over, or it might be pulled up simply.

As a result of these beetles breach the floor of crops, illness pathogens may also enter, resulting in potential fungal an infection and fast decay.

When the adults emerge, they have an inclination to enterprise to different surrounding crops, and may colonize a number of in a matter of days.

It may be robust to regulate a snout weevil infestation, however making use of neem oil or insecticidal cleaning soap in early spring and once more originally of summer season can maintain them off of your crops, and kill any which are already current.

Grubs or adults which are seen might be eliminated by hand and dropped right into a bucket of soapy water to dispatch them.

It’s greatest to go away a large berth between crops as a safety measure, as a tightly clustered plantings might be colonized and ravaged rapidly.

That is another excuse why it’s a good suggestion to relocate pups that develop – it might save them from being infested.

Crops that present indicators of a severe infestation needs to be eliminated to keep away from spreading the pests to neighbors.

Whereas there are chemical pesticides obtainable which will support in management, they’ll have an effect on pollinators that may method the blooms. Their use needs to be averted in case your plant is making ready to bloom.


Simply as with pest infestation, agave is comparatively unbothered by illness. There are solely two widespread illnesses which will trigger sufficient injury to notice.


Agaves can endure from anthracnose, a illness attributable to Colletotrichum fungi. It is a widespread illness that may befall many crops, from houseplants to mature bushes.

Often known as black spot, anthracnose presents in agave crops as sunken spots that begin off yellow or brown and ultimately flip black because the fungus causes extreme decay.

It’s extra more likely to present up and may trigger injury extra rapidly on new progress and younger crops than on mature ones.

A close up horizontal image of a diseased section of an agave leaf.

Fungal spores are unfold by water, so overhead watering by spray irrigation or by way of heavy rainfall can distribute them. Soil with poor drainage may also harbor and unfold spores, particularly during times of heavy rain with splashing.

If indicators of an infection are solely current on a few leaves, you may minimize them off utilizing a pointy knife, and destroy or get rid of them away from different crops. Make sure you disinfect the knife between cuts and after pruning.

Should you’ve caught the indicators of an infection early on, it might be value making use of a fungicide to stop the remainder of the plant from falling sufferer.

Whereas copper-based fungicides might be utilized to cease the unfold, they have an inclination to construct up within the soil after a number of functions and may hurt helpful bugs that reside there.

Should you’re seeing indicators of widespread anthracnose in your agave plant, it might be too late for fungicides to work.

In that case, it’s greatest to take away and destroy affected crops to keep away from spreading the illness to the remainder of your backyard or panorama.

Crown and Root Rot

Crown rot and root rot are each attributable to bacterial or fungal pathogens, corresponding to Fusarium oxysporum and F. solani, or Phytophthora cinnamomi, which take up residence and unfold in heat, moist circumstances, .

Fungal spores and micro organism might be unfold by water, contaminated seed, or the introduction of an contaminated plant corresponding to one bought from a nursery.

Pruning contaminated crops throughout wet intervals, and contaminated seeds launched by animals and birds, may also introduce and unfold fungal spores and micro organism.

Indicators of crown and root rot on an agave current as rotten, spongy leaf junctures; decaying central stem or leaf ideas; wilting and shriveling; and fast decomposition.

Root rot might be extra simply handled than crown rot. At first, remember to let the soil dry out between watering as this may kill fungi or micro organism which are current within the soil.

In case your agave is of a manageable measurement, you may dig it up, let the roots dry out, and trim away the sections that present indicators of rot, corresponding to brown or pink coloration, or a slimy texture.

Spray each the roots and the opening you eliminated the plant from with a organic fungicide, corresponding to Stop, obtainable from Arbico Organics. Permit the roots to dry out once more.

A close up square image of a bottle of CEASE biological fungicide isolated on a white background.

CEASE Organic Fungicide

This product incorporates Bacillus subtilis, a species of micro organism that controls quite a lot of completely different plant pathogens.

You would possibly take into account shifting the plant to a unique location with higher drainage to keep away from reinfection.

Typically, if crown rot is widespread, you’ll need to take away and destroy the plant. It’s unlikely to recuperate from severe injury.

Greatest Makes use of

Agaves are excellent for creating pure, environmentally acceptable planting beds in desert areas.

They mix properly with different crops which are appropriate for xeriscaping, or landscaping in an arid atmosphere by utilizing crops that don’t want supplemental irrigation.

A horizontal image of a rocky garden border planted with a variety of different cacti and succulents.

For extra data on planning a waterwise backyard, see our information to xeriscaping your yard for effectivity and aesthetics.

Should you’ve bought a really sandy yard with plenty of open area, you would possibly take into account planting an agave as the point of interest, or grouping a number of finish to finish close to the property line to kind a barrier that few individuals would try and cross – like a pointy dwelling fence.

In areas the place palm bushes thrive, agaves make the right companion crops, as they develop properly within the mottled shade from the palms.

A shocking mattress might be created with palm bushes, just a few properly positioned agaves, some bougainvillea, lavender, and sage, mixing textures, types, and colours that complement one another.

Group the crops round Adirondack chairs and a chiminea for a serene retreat adjoining to your deck or patio.

Fast Reference Rising Information

Plant Sort: Perennial evergreen succulent Flower/Foliage Coloration: Yellow to yellow-green/Inexperienced to blue-green, variegated
Native to: Central and South America Upkeep: Reasonable
Hardiness (USDA Zone): 7-11, relying on selection Tolerance: Sand, drought, rocky soil, salt
Bloom Time/Season: Decennially or longer Soil Sort: Dry, sandy, rocky
Publicity: Full solar to partial shade Soil pH: 6.0-7.0
Time to Maturity: 10+ years Soil Drainage: Properly-draining
Planting Depth: 1/8 inch (seeds); root ball depth (transplants) Companion Planting: Aloe, bougainvillea, cacti, desert wildflowers, kalanchoe, lavender, decorative grasses, palm bushes, prickly pear cactus, sage, yucca
Spacing: 4-14 ft, relying on selection Makes use of: Border, defensive planting, point of interest, characteristic, xeriscaping
Peak: 2-12 ft Order: Asparagales
Unfold: 2-12 ft Household: Asparagaceae
Water Wants: Low Genus: Agave
Frequent Pests and Illnesses: Snout weevils; Anthracnose, crown rot, root rot Species: Americana, angustifolia, attenuata, bracteosa, colorata, deserti, filifera, geminiflora, macroacantha, mckelveyana, montana, lechuguilla, ovatifolia, parrasana, parryi, parviflora, potatorum, salmiana, shawii, stricta, tequilana, titanota, toumeyana, utahensis, victoriae-reginae, vilmoriniana

Sharp and Sharp-Searching for Not Fairly a Century

When you’ve got a big, dry expanse of yard that that you must break up with some dwelling landscaping, agave is the right selection. It’s a shocking conversational piece because it grows, generally towering overhead like one thing from the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

A close up horizontal image of a large century plant growing in the landscape pictured in light sunshine.

Making a mattress with these crops is simple and enjoyable, providing years of enjoyment with little upkeep required. As a bonus, should you’re a nature lover, you’ll see plenty of small creatures utilizing the massive, flat leaves for shelter and shade.

Should you occur to catch these crops after they’re in bloom, remember to collect the seeds afterwards to start out extra and proceed the cycle, or transplant the bulbils into new places within the backyard.

Have you ever had the chance to see an agave in bloom? Inform us about it within the feedback beneath, and share some footage should you’ve bought them – we’d like to see them!

And should you’re fascinated by extra drought tolerant crops to your waterwise backyard, take a look at these articles subsequent:

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