How to Plant an Agave

Overview

Agaves (Agave spp.) adapt to home landscaping environments. This low-maintenance plant tolerates drought, heat, poor soil, strong winds and cold weather. Agaves have few insect pests and are not susceptible to most plant diseases. The stiff, tough leaves are edged with spines and tipped with a long, terminal spike. The leaves grow in rosettes and reach 1 foot to more than 12 feet tall. Agaves give a garden or landscape an unusual focal point.

Step 1

Clear grass, weeds and debris from a planting site. Agaves need exposure to at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Remove all sticks and rocks from the area.

Step 2

Loosen the soil to the depth of 2 feet with a shovel. Break the soil clumps up with the side of a garden hoe until they are about the size of pebbles. Spread 3 to 6 inches of sand over the top of the soil. Work this into the 2 feet of disturbed soil.

Step 3

Spread 3 to 4 inches of peat moss over the planting area. Mix this organic material into the top foot of soil. This sandy soil enriched with organic materials promotes root growth.

Step 4

Dig a hole the same size as the agave rootball. Remove the agave plant from its container. Place the plant in the hole and gently spread its roots out. Adjust the height of the agave so it is planted at its original growing depth. Fill the hole with soil and gently firm the soil around the agave.

Step 5

Create a sunshade by laying a see-through, lightweight cloth over the leaves of the agave. This will keep the plant cool and out of direct light, which could damage the leaves. Keep the cloth on until new growth begins.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not apply fertilizer to newly planted agave. This can cause burning to the roots. Wait until the agave is established then fertilize. It can take up to a year before the roots become fully established.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Garden hoe
  • Sand
  • Peat moss
  • Cloth

References

  • Arizona Cooperative Extension: Cactus, Agave, Yucca and Ocotillo
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Agave and Yucca: Tough Plants for Tough Times
Keywords: planting agave plants, growing agave, planting succulents

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.