Being a gardening enthusiast, you might be familiar with Agaves. Unique and popular, Agave succulent makes for a perfect houseplant and can become the center of attraction. Besides looking pleasing to the eyes, these robust plants have several uses such as making sweeteners or ropes. Read on to find out more about Agave succulents and their types, with a complete care guide.
Agave Succulent Overview
Agave is a genus of succulents native to Mexico, South America, and the Western United States. These plants are slow-growing and are noted for large eye-catching leaves. Growing up to 20 feet in height, this variety of succulents is planted in the spring or early fall. It is interesting to note that Agave has a large variety of diverse species. There are plants in this family that are small in size as well and have soft spineless leaves. In addition, this species is not very demanding and can be grown on both grounds as well as in pot.
Agave plants bloom in attractive yellow, green, and white colors throughout their growing season. The flowers are bell-shaped and have subtle shades to complement any home décor. Not many people know that most Agave varieties die once the blooms produce berry seed pods. These succulents are drought-tolerant and can easily survive in colder regions including Pacific Northwest and Canada.
- Light Requirements - Agave plants are sun-lovers. They prefer to stay in bright direct sun for a few hours every day. Having said that, they can survive in partial shade as well. When planted indoors, it is best to keep your succulent near a west or south-facing window.
- Water - As this species is native to dry and arid regions, it needs less watering to stay healthy. Water these plants frequently when they grow actively from spring to fall. However, reduce the watering to once a month in winters. It is important to note that plants grown in containers need more water than the ones planted in the ground.
- Soil – Agave succulents grow well in regular potting soil or a rich fast-draining soil mix. A well-drained soil helps to remove excess moisture and minimizes the chances of root rot and other soil-borne diseases.
- Fertilizer & Humidity - Fertilize your Agave plant during the spring season. Fertilization is usually required for the first two years of your succulent and once the plant is matured, it can survive on its own. Moreover, Agaves are adaptive to low humid conditions.
- Temperature Tolerance - Agave plant is hardy in zones 7 to 10. The ideal temperature for them ranges from 65 to 80° F. As these succulents prefer warm growing conditions, it is advised to avoid keeping them in areas with lower temperatures as it can cause freeze damage.
Types of Agave plants
Just like other succulents, Agave houseplants are low-maintenance and easy to care for. They can be grown indoors and make a good option for beginners. Interestingly, Agave has more than 200 species in the family and this gives a wide variety to choose from!
- Agave Kavandivi – This species of Agave is drought-tolerant and originates from the Mexican state of Oaxaca. It is a small rosette-forming succulent, having pale blue leaves and an overall pleasing look.
- Agave Victoria-Reginae – Also known as Royal agave or Queen victoria agave, this succulent is unusual as it does not bloom for about two to three decades. These plants are small in size and have leaves with black tips.
- Agave Tequilana – This species is widely known by its common name Blue agave. Growing up to 7 feet in height, these plants have blue-green leaves and bear yellow flowers.
- Agave Filifera Schidiger- These plants give rise to white thread-like filaments around their bright-green colored leaves. Additionally, they bloom in a decade in white-green colors.
- Agave Stricta – It has a common name Hedgehog agave. The plant produces red flowers and has dark green leaves which give it a porcupine-like appearance.
- Agave Americana Azul – With its origin in Mexico, this species of flowering plant is grown globally. Also known as the Century plant, it is said to attract hummingbirds. Apart from this, the succulent has long gray-green leaves.
- Agave Isthmensis Rum Runner – Growing up to 25 cm in diameter, this Agave variety blooms in pink-orange colors during spring. This rosette-forming succulent has eye-catching leaves with golden-yellow stripes on them.
- Agave Truncata – Commonly known as Mescal agave or Artichoke agave, this plant is frost-hardy and usually planted in outdoor settings. It forms rosettes of broader leaves and has a compact size.
- Agave Blue Glow – These ornamental succulents are slow-growing. They reach up to 2 feet in height and are known to form solitary rosettes of blue-green leaves. You can grow this species in decorative pots to give your room a makeover.
- Agave Bracteosa – Commonly known as Squid agave or Spider agave, this evergreen succulent grows slowly from 2 to 3 feet in height. Besides, the rosette-forming plant is native to Mexico.
- Agave Leopoldi – As a small and slow-growing variety of Agave, it has narrow light-green leaves. These plants are great to be grown as houseplants and thrive easily with little care.
- Agave Toumeyana Bella – These Agaves are cold-hardy and form small yet dense rosettes. They usually bloom during the spring-summer season. The common names include Miniature century plant, Toumey agave, and Silver dollar agave.
How to Propagate Agaves?
You can propagate Agave plants by the following methods:
- Propagation from cuttings
- Seed propagation
- Propagation by cloning
- Propagation by bulbils
How to grow an Agave plant from cuttings?
- With the help of a clean sharp knife, remove pups or baby plants from the mother Agave plant. Make a straight & even cut that is around 3 cm below the starting of the lowest leaf between the plant and the pup.
- Leave the cutting to callous over for some time. Now, fill your planter with fast-draining soil and plant the pups gently.
- In two weeks, root formation will start to take place.
- To begin with, fill the container with a well-drained soil mix. Ensure the container has drainage holes.
- Sow the seeds at a distance of 0.5 to 1 cm.
- Now, add a layer of perlite, sand, or fine grit. Water lightly to keep it moist.
- Germination occurs shortly within 1 to 2 weeks. After germination, place the container in sunlight for a few hours each day. However, make sure to not overexpose it as it can cause sunburn.
- Remember to water frequently during one month of the process. After five months, you can reduce as mature Agaves need less watering as compared to young ones.
Propagation by cloning
Also known as Micropropagation or Tissue culture, this method of propagation is widely used by professional gardeners. Most Agave species are multiplied by using this technique, especially when there are no cuttings or seeds available.
Propagation by bulbils
This procedure is quite easy. Bulbils grow on the stems of Agaves after flowering. New Agave plants are produced by planting bulbils. Once planted, they will begin to produce tiny roots. Keep in mind to water infrequently as they are prone to root rot.
Are Agave succulents or cacti?
Most often Agave is confused with a cactus. However, Agave is a kind of succulent. The key difference between the two is that cacti do not have leaves, whereas Agaves have large leaves that have spiny tips. All cactus plants are succulents, on the contrary, all succulents are not cacti.
Can Agave grow in Zone 6?
Most Agave species do not perform very well in frosty conditions. But Agave Parryi is one such variety that is frost-tolerant and is hardy in zones 6 to 10. This rosette-forming perennial succulent blooms in attractive yellow colors in the summer months. It needs full sun and well-dried soil. A native to Northern & Central America, Agave Parryi is used commonly by Americans in making soaps, fibers, and even medicines.
What are Variegated Agaves?
Variegation occurs due to a genetic variation involving the lack of chlorophyll in a particular part of leaves that has a white or yellow band. When the variegation streaks down from the center of leaves, it is called Medio-variegation. On the other hand, when it is streaking down the sides, it is Margin-variegation. There are many variegated Agave succulents, namely Agave victoria reginae variegata, Agave desmettiana variegata, Agave americana variegata, and Agave kissho kan variegated. The care & maintenance of these plants is not challenging. They prefer full sun, well-drained soil, and infrequent watering.
Agave succulent is beginner-friendly, easy to grow, and tolerates negligence. With a wide range of species, these plants are great for exploring purposes and add a refreshing vibe to any space. Suitable for both indoors and outdoors, they are a must-have. Get an Agave plant for yourself and share your experience with us!