How to Transplant Agave Plants


The agave makes a pretty, if prickly, addition to your garden. Their low water needs and tendency to thrive in nutrient-poor soil makes the agave a perfect addition for your rock garden. Agaves are desert-dwelling plants that will grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 to 11. Transplanting a large agave may require heavy equipment and extra hands, but a small agave is easy to move as long as you are careful not to poke your self on the sharp and painful spines.

Step 1

Loosen the soil around the root ball using a garden fork. Drive the fork into the soil and lift up, loosening the roots in the soil on all sides of the plant.

Step 2

Loosen the soil in the new planting site by turning it over with a garden fork. If the soil is heavy and claylike, add coarse sand and peat moss to create soil that will drain well. Agaves need well-draining soil to prevent root rot.

Step 3

Remove the root ball from the soil using a shovel or garden fork. It is OK to cut off some of the roots but leave at least two-thirds of the root ball intact.

Step 4

Move your agave to the new prepared location; for larger plants, a wheelbarrow might be necessary.

Step 5

Dig a hole that is slightly larger then the root ball at the new planting site.

Step 6

Place the agave plant in the hole so that the base of the plant is level with the ground. Fill in or remove dirt if necessary.

Step 7

Fill in the soil around the root ball, add a few handfuls and then pat down the soil to avoid air pockets around the roots. Air pockets can cause the roots to oxidize and rot.

Step 8

Water your newly transplanted agave so that the soil is damp down to a depth of at least 5 inches.

Tips and Warnings

  • Agave plants have sharp spines that can cause serious damage if handled improperly. Protective eyewear, gloves and clothing is recommended, particularly for large plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden fork
  • Shovel
  • Sand
  • Peat moss
  • Wheelbarrow


  • University of Arizona: Cactus, Agave, Yucca and Ocotillo

Who Can Help

  • National Arboretum-USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: succulent, desert tropicals, rock garden plants

About this Author

Olivia Parker has been a freelance writer with Demand Studios for the past year, writing for Garden Guides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Parker is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts from Boston University Online.