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Utah Agave, Utah Century Plant
The unusually hardy Agave utahensis is a largely high desert perennial with dramatic, structurally interesting foliage. It is naturally found in scrubby rocky spots of the Mojave and Upper Sonoran deserts, from California to Utah. Its sharp spiny rosettes are formidable with grayish brown terminal spines at the tips of the dagger-like leaves. It can withstand periods of freezing as long as growing conditions remain dry.
The gray-green fleshy leaves of this century plant are straight with white barbed margins ending in sharp brownish tips. The leaves of mature rosettes reach a substantial knee-high height. Flowering only occurs when plants are mature, after many years. The ivory flowers are bell-shaped and appear in branched clusters atop very 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 in hot full sun and nutrient-poor soil with sharp drainage. It will not tolerate sustained moisture at the root zone, so be cautious not to overwater container-grown specimens. This perennial makes a great accent plant and looks nice planted among other 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.
10 - 1
5 - 10
2b, 3a, 3b, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Cactus or Succulent
2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m
3'-5' / 0.9m - 1.5m
Southwestern United States, California
Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Light Yellow, Ivory
Container, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall
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