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How to Prune Agave

By Meg Butler ; Updated September 21, 2017

Agave is an attractive rosette-shaped succulent that is closely related to the lily and indigenous to Mexico and the southern United States. More than for its beauty, agave is known for the tequila and agave nectar that it produces. Aside from its commercial uses, agave makes a pleasant houseplant. When grown in a container like any other houseplant, an agave should periodically be transplanted to a larger container and have its roots pruned. Unlike other houseplants, the flesh of the agave should not be pruned. Pruning does not encourage growth and will leave the agave vulnerable to infection.

Remove the agave from its current container. The best way to do this is to lay the container on its side and tap it until the soil loosens and begins to spill out. Then right the container, grab the agave near its base, and gently pull the root ball out of the soil.

Shake the excess soil from the agave's roots or gently brush it away with your hand. Take special care not to damage the roots.

Prune any roots that have become overgrown and wrapped around the inside of the container and any that have poked out of the drainage holes.

Untangle the root ball by carefully separating and loosening the roots with a chopstick or other similarly shaped tool.

Prune any diseased, withered or broken roots from the root ball. Take care not to cut any roots that are white- or yellow-tipped. These roots are actively drawing in water.

To repot the agave, fill the pot halfway with a mound of fresh succulent soil mixture. Carefully nestle the agave plant on top of the mound, taking care not to break any of the roots. Then refill the pot so that the soil covers the agave plant to the same level as before.

Water the soil lightly, giving the agave no more water than normal.


Things You Will Need

  • Succulent potting soil
  • Pot
  • Pruning shears
  • Chopstick


  • The best time to transplant an agave is between March and May.
  • An agave can take up to one year to establish itself in a new pot and produce new growth.

About the Author


Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.