How to Grow Agave in the U.S.


Agave, also known as century plant, is a perennial succulent grown in the U.S. for its attractive leaves, appealing growth habit and bright, ornamental flowers. The name "century plant" originates from the belief that agave only blooms once every 100 years. This is a myth, and the plant typically flowers after only 8 to 12 years with proper care. The flower forms during summer or occasionally winter in shades of yellow, gold, white or red, depending on the variety. Agave plants thrive in most regions of the United States with only minimal care.

Step 1

Plant agave during fall in warm regions or during spring in cooler areas. Choose a location that receives bright sunlight for at least six to eight hours a day and consists of well-drained, sandy soil for optimal growth.

Step 2

Use a shovel to dig a hole of equal depth and three times as wide as the agave root ball. Insert the roots directly into the hole and gently cover with soil. Water immediately after planting to compact the soil around the roots.

Step 3

Water agave thoroughly once every seven to 10 days, allowing the soil to dry between applications. Reduce watering frequency to once every two weeks during winter, when the plant is growing less actively and requires less moisture.

Step 4

Feed once every two months using an all-purpose 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer to provide adequate nutrition. Do not fertilize during winter, when the plant is dormant. Apply according to the manufacturer's instructions for the best results.

Step 5

Remove faded, discolored, old and damaged agave leaves whenever possible to increase the aesthetic appeal and overall health of the plant. Remove entire leaves to reduce the risk of disease, and never leave a damaged leaf attached to the plant.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear gloves when handling agave--the leaves are lined with sharp spines.

Things You'll Need

  • Agave plant
  • Shovel
  • Fertilizer


  • North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension: Century Plants--Agaves
  • Texas A&M University Department of Horticulture: Agavaceae Agave Family
  • "Arizona Gardener's Guide"; Mary Irish; 2001
Keywords: agave in the U.S., grow agave, grow century plant

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including