Advanced Search Filters

Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
Sunset Zone
Function
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Water Requirement

AGAVE havardiana

Image of Agave havardiana

Family

Agavaceae

Botanical Name

AGAVE havardiana

Plant Common Name

Harvard Agave, Harvard's Century Plant

General Description

The dense blue-green rosettes of Harvard's century plant are dramatic and structurally interesting in the landscape. This all-American native naturally exists in the David Mountains located in western Texas. It is an unusually hardy species that can withstand periods of freezing as long as growing conditions remain dry, particularly at the root zone.

The blue-green fleshy leaves of this century plant are large, cupped and heavily spined along the margins. The sharp black leaf tips are particularly fierce. Flowering only occurs when plants are mature and this takes 20 to 40 years. The yellowish flowers are bell-shaped and appear in branched clusters atop tall stems in summer. They are fragrant and attract lots of desert pollinators. The fruits are capsules that age to dark brown and split at maturity to reveal, flat, black, shiny seeds. Once a rosette flowers it dies, though many Agave leave behind suckering colonies of living rosettes, or “pups”, at the base of the parent plant. Lots of species also produce small plantlets on the flower stalk, called bulbils, which can fall to the ground, root and become new plants.

Plant Harvard's century plant in hot, full sun and nutrient-poor soil with sharp drainage. It will not tolerate any sustained moisture at the root zone, so be cautious not to overwater container-grown specimens. This perennial makes a great accent plant and looks impressive in large plantings with other mixed succulents. It is lovely in containers and makes a fine houseplant for sunny windows or conservatories. Wickedly sharp Agave like this should not be planted where children play because it can be quite dangerous.

Characteristics

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 10

  • Sunset Zone

    2b, 3a, 3b, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Width

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Texas

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Light Yellow, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Blue Green, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No