Southwest Plant of the Month – Century plant – Agave spp

Jun 14, 2021 | Plant of the Month

General Information

Plant Form Shrub Plant Size 1′ to15′ (in bloom)
x 1′ to 5′
Plant Type Evergreen Water Usage Low
Sunlight Sun    

Physical Description: 
Bold gray-green sword-like leaves in symmetrical rosette. Rapid growth of flower stalk (to 15′ in some species). Thick semi-succulent stem and leaves.

Care and Maintenance:  Agave borers. Dies upon flowering. Freeze damage in very severe winters to tropical Mexican species. Stout, sharp pointed thorns at leaf tips, recurved thorns along margins. Difficult to prune and dispose of leaves.

Gardener’s Notes:  Long (8 to 20 years) life span before blooming. Sets new transplantable “pups” at base from root suckers. A. americana is the largest species and can be found in variegated forms. Numerous agaves available in the nursery trade, including smaller Chihuahuan desert native species A. harvardiana, A. palmeri, A. parryi and A. neomexicana. The small dark green El Paso native, A. lecheguilla, is an indicator plant for the Chihuahuan Desert.

Plant information from Southwest Yard & Garden Plant Advisor.