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AGAVE americana

Image of Agave americana

James H. Schutte

Family

Agavaceae

Botanical Name

AGAVE americana

Plant Common Name

American Agave, American Century Plant

General Description

The American century plant forms enormous rosettes of fleshy, spiky, blue-gray leaves. These desert natives of Mexico and the southwestern United States are highly tolerant of heat and drought.

In summer they produce fragrant, yellow, feathery flowers that emerge from tall erect stems. These attract bats and birds, however plants may take up to 35 years or more before they bloom. Once a rosette blooms, it will die. Though plants produce vegetative offsets, called pups, which can be divided and replanted.

Century plant requires hot, full sun and perfectly drained, nutrient poor soil. Where hardy, these perennials make great accent plants that look dramatic in large plantings with other mixed succulents. In temperate regions they may be grown in containers, though if container grown they require continuous upgrades because they grow quickly and vigorously. Most Agave will not tolerate any sustained moisture at the root zone, so be cautious not to overwater.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    0'-6' / 0.0m - 1.8m

  • Width

    0'-10' / 0.0m - 3.0m

  • Bloom Time

    Summer

  • Native To

    Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow Green

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Blue Green, Gray Green, Slate Gray, Gray

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Blue Green, Gray Green, Slate Gray, Gray

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Blue Green, Gray Green, Slate Gray, Gray

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Blue Green, Gray Green, Slate Gray, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No