Agave Plant Care

Overview

Agave, also known as the century plant, makes a dramatic focal point in the southern garden. It is a large, rosette-forming succulent with thick, pointed, bluish leaves. The leaves are edged with sharp, downward-facing teeth. Agaves can grow as large as 7 feet tall and 12 feet wide and, because of its dangerous spines, should be planted in a location away from foot traffic and play areas. Agave is, however, easy to care for and is a good choice for hot, dry climates.

Step 1

Grow Agave in a sunny spot in zones 9 through 11. For the best color, grow Agave in a location where it will get at least 5 hours of full sun. Agave tolerates shade better than many succulents, but it will not grow well in full shade.

Step 2

Use a well-drained soil. Agave is a succulent and prefers to be dry. True to its adaptable nature, Agave tolerates poor, shallow soil, clay soil, alkaline conditions and salt spray.

Step 3

Skip the sprinkler. Agave is extremely drought tolerant and requires no supplemental water in most cases. Natural rainfall is all this tough, indestructible plant requires.

Step 4

Do not fertilize Agave. Fertilizers may encourage flowering---and Agaves die after flowering.

Step 5

Use extreme caution when trimming. Agaves grow from the center of the plant, and the exterior, bottom leaves may brown and die. Cut these off with a sharp, long-bladed saw. Whenever you work around an Agave plant, use caution---heavy gloves and protective clothing are needed to prevent injury.

Tips and Warnings

  • Agaves die after flowering. It takes at least 10 years for the plant to flower, by which time sucker plants have established around the plant. To remove a dead Agave, wear thick gloves and protective clothing. Cut back all dead leaves to expose new plantlets.

Things You'll Need

  • Saw
  • Heavy gloves
  • Protective clothing

References

  • University of Arizona: Agave
  • University of Florida: Agave
Keywords: Agave, century plant, drought tolerant

About this Author

Moira Clune is a freelance writer who since 1991 has been writing sales and promotional materials for her own and other small businesses. In addition, she has published articles on eHow.com, GardenGuides.com and VetInfo.com.