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American Blue Agave


Cactus & Succulent Garden

American Blue Agave

​Agave americana

  • ​​​Common Name: American Blue Agave (other common names: Century Plant)
  • Scientific Name: Agave americana
  • Family Name: Asparagaceae
  • Origin: United States – Arizona, Texas, and Mexico
  • Height: 5’ (4-6’) (6 to 8’ tall at mature flowering size, inflorescence up to 25-30 feet tall.)
  • Width: 5’ (10-12 feet circumference, offsets prolifically so will take up more space with pups.)
  • Growth: slow to moderate growth, typically needing little or no irrigation, pruning, fertilizer, or spraying. Furthermore, many agaves withstand drought, heat, cold weather, and strong winds. They are tolerant of poor soils and therefore rarely develop nutrient deficiencies.
  • Zone: 8B-11
  • Light Needs: Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Salt Tolerance:  unknown
  • Soil/PH/Texture: Agave are found in environments that typically are sunny, dry, hot, and windy with low rainfall and poor soil. mildly acidic – alkaline (6.1 – 8.5)
  • Soil Moisture: Dry, needs excellent drainage in pots, adapt well to home and commercial landscapes, can thrive in harsh conditions associated with urban environments. Much of Florida has very sandy soils that drain well, which agave can thrive despite of the humidity and the rain.
  • Drought Tolerance: moderate to good
  • Pests/Diseases: few pests and diseases, the most serious pest is Agave Snout Weevil (Scyphophorus acupunctatus), Plant bugs (Caulotops and other species), or sometimes Eriophyid mites. Most disease problems are various root rots usually associated with wet soils along with cool temperatures.
  • Growing Conditions: easy to grow and low maintenance, they are tolerant of poor soils, rarely develop nutrient deficiencies, withstand drought, strong winds, heat, and cold weather.
  • Characteristics: this evergreen is grown for its foliage of blue-green leaves that can get up to 6’ feet long and 10 “wide. Use extreme caution when handling because the leaves have a large sharp terminal spine and tiny teeth when young. often have that go away as the plant ages or only extent about halfway up the leaves, and they can be hazardous to small children. They flower of pale-yellow blooms usually in midsummer but may also bloom in the late spring to late summer with. After blooming they usually die but have pups that will take its place.
  • Propagation: is done by dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms, or bulbs (including offsets/pups), also may be propagated by cuttings stem, stolons and runners, or by seed.
  • Wildlife: unknown
  • Facts: Although agave has many uses in food, it can contain toxic compounds from the juice or sap. These needlelike oxalate crystals can irritate the skin, tongue, mouth, and throat and the juice from the sap and thorns may cause irritation or rashes to the skin. Swelling of the throat, breathing difficulties, and burning can result.
  • Designer Considerations: Can grow in a pot but needs to have excellent drainage. Use in the landscape as shrubs, groundcover, container plants, bedding plants, and especially as a dramatic specimen plant.