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Types of Agave

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Types of Agave

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Agave plants have thick, fleshy leaves that are fringed and end in a sharp, spiny point. The leaves range in colors from silvery-green to deep green and spring up form the root of the plant; this is also called a rosette form. During their flowering season, a tall stem shoots up from the center of the rosette to produce multiple flowers. Today, agave nectar is used to produce agave syrup, a type of sweetener that can be used to sweeten tea or replace sugar in recipes.

Parry's Agave

Parry's agave has a course texture and grows in clumps that are 3 feet tall and wide. It's grayish-green leaves are formed in a basal rosette that is arranged around the central stem of the agave. The leaves are semi-succulent and grow up to 2 feet in height and are fringed with small teeth that come to one larger terminal spine. The fruit on the Parry's agave is yellowish-green, and the flowers are tall, creamy white and fringed with red and pink. The flowers emerge in the summer and last through the fall. Parry's agave requires full sun and well-drained soil to thrive. It is also drought-tolerant, making it ideal in arid climates where rainfall is limited. The USDA hardiness zone is 9 to 11.

Pulque Agave

This evergreen plant has tall leaves that range up to 6 feet in height and 1 foot wide. Pulque agave has toothed leaves that are light green in color. The upright form is layered or rosette shaped. When flowering, the pulque agave has a 15-to-40 foot flower stalk that shoots out of the plant for a striking addition to the landscape. The hardiness zone is 7b to 10.

Sharkskin Agave

The sharkskin agave has grayish-green leaves that grow up to 3 feet tall and are tipped with sharp spines. The upright clumping form looks striking along a rock garden for muted color and texture. The sharkskin agave requires full sun and well-drained, dry soils. This low-maintenance, unfussy plants is also deer and drought tolerant. The USDA hardiness zone is 11.

American Agave

Also called American aloe, this succulent has broad, sword-like leaves that are greenish gray in color with a creamy white stripe running down the middle. The American agave grows in clumps up to 6 feet tall and 10 feet wide, making for a wide-spreading agave variety. The low-maintenance plant requires full sun and dry soils. The leaves are fringed and tipped with dark, needle-like spines. Beginning in the summer, the white blooms emerge to create contrast with the green leaves. The USDA hardiness zone is 9 to 11.

Keywords: types of agave, Parry's agave, pulque agave, sharkskin agave, American agave

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer and photographer in North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Forbes and Automotive News magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.