Friends of the Port St Lucie Botanical Gardens

Caribbean Agave

Agave angustifolia

  • Common Name: Caribbean Agave (other common names: Agave, Century Plant, Mescal Agave, and Narrowleaf Agave ‘Marginata’).
  • Scientific Name: Agave angustifolia
  • Family Name: Agavaceae
  • Origin: Mexico and Central America
  • Height: 3’ – 4’
  • Width: 3’ – 4’
  • Growth: slow growing   
  • Zone: 10 - 11
  • Light Needs: Likes Full sun but can take some shade.
  • Salt Tolerance:  Moderate.
  • Soil/PH/Texture: Can grow in a variety of soils, clay, loam, or sand, mildly acidic – mildly alkaline (pH 6.1 – 7.8).
  • Soil Moisture: Once established – little or no irrigation is needed for this plant.
  • Drought Tolerance: High
  • Pests/Diseases: No serious pests are normally seen on this plant.
  • Growing Conditions: Very low maintenance and easy to grow, can even thrive with a little neglect.
  • Characteristics: The sword shaped leaves of this evergreen’s rosette are arranged alternately, are simple, spiny, and can get up to 3’ in length and 2” wide. The tip of its toothed leaves is often removed to protect people and pets, and it is recommended to plant at least 6’ away from sidewalks. The Variegated Caribbean Agave has green leaves with marginal bands of bright white. Around 10 years (though not a century), a once in its lifetime flower spike is produced, a panicle with tubular pale yellow to white blooms. It produces an oval fruit that is 1” -3” and brown. This plant is monocarpic which means it dies after it blooms.
  • Propagation: Detach the well-rooted suckers that are produced at the base of the plant and dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets). If planting from seed germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium. Let the seeds dry on the plant and then crack open the pods for seeds.
  • Wildlife: Attractive to bees, birds and butterflies when it blooms.
  • Facts:  This plant just like most any agaves, is used to make an alcoholic beverage called “Mezcal”, which is considered the national spirit of Mexico. But be aware when handling, the sap can cause skin irritations.
  • Designer Considerations: Use as a border, accent, specimen, but because of its size usually only one plant is needed in a residential landscape, unless you have a large landscape, then mass plantings can make a dramatic effect. Looks great in rock gardens and is suitable for xeriscaping.

Caribbean Agave

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