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AGAVE angustifolia 'Marginata'

Image of Agave angustifolia 'Marginata'

Holly Chichester

Family

Agavaceae

Botanical Name

AGAVE angustifolia 'Marginata'

Plant Common Name

Narrowleaf Agave, Narrowleaf Century Plant, Variegated Caribbean Agave, Variegated Narrowleaf Century Plant

General Description

This is one of the most beautiful variegated agaves. Its striking rosettes of narrow leaves are soft seagreen edged in cream.

Narrowleaf agave is a long-lived evergreen perennial native from Sonora, Mexico southward to Costa Rica. In the wild it is found in a wide range of arid environments, so it is widely adapted to varying soils and exposures. Like other cenury plants, it only blooms at the end of its life span, so it is grown as a foliage plant. The species came into cultivation very early in pre-Columbian times and was used as a source of leaf fiber.

Variegated narrowleaf agave readily grows offsets, or pups, around the base of the mother rosette as it matures. These may be severed and rooted into new plants. In its tenth year the central mother plant will produce a very tall branched flower stalk. This is covered with dense flowers, as well as hundreds of small plantlets called bulbils. The bulbils fall to the ground and root into new plants.

This tough agave can withstand the direct sun of the low desert. It is also among the few species resistant to agave snout weevil. While it can survive long periods without water, its leaves will curl up during dry periods to avoid moisture loss. If well irrigated in well-draining soil, this is a very fast grower that develops pups at a very young age.

Strong symmetry and adaptation to container cultivation have made this one of the most popular candidates for urban and spare modern gardens. It is also exceptional in tropical settings, for visual relief on dry banks and cut slopes that challenge more thirsty plants. The fierce spines on the leaves, especially the tip spine can pose problems if too closely situated near walkways or patios.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 12

  • Sunset Zone

    10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 21, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    3'-5' / 0.9m - 1.5m (4)

  • Width

    3'-5' / 0.9m - 1.5m (4)

  • Bloom Time

    Late Fall, Early Winter, Winter, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • 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

    White, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Sea Green, Gray Green, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Variegated, Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Sea Green, Gray Green, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Variegated, Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Sea Green, Gray Green, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Fall) Modifier

    Variegated, Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Sea Green, Gray Green, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Winter) Modifier

    Variegated, Striped/Striated

  • 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, Foundation, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    No