Agave as container plant? - Knowledgebase Question

roseville, ca
Question by dcmanwalk
November 22, 2005
On a covered patio (morning sun) in Roseville Ca: would a blue agave plant do OK as container plant? What sizes does the nursery sell?

Answer from NGA
November 22, 2005


When it comes to majestic beauty, nothing beats the century plant. Despite the name, the plants bloom much sooner-within fifteen or twenty years.

The smaller ones are quite suitable for growing in containers. Agave lechuguilla is native to Mexico. Outdoors it is only hardy in areas where the winters are mild. Some sources say it is hardy to 0 degrees Fahrenheit, while others say the minimum temperature shouldn?t fall below 30 to 40 degrees. It features blue-green leaves that are about one and a half feet long. Under good growing conditions, it will produce four to eight foot tall flower spikes containing white blooms that are over an inch across.

Agave bracteosa can be grown in larger containers. Initially the plants will only be about a foot in height and across. As it matures, the rosette can be several feet wide. This plant is exceptional for it lacks spines on the tips of the foliage that is typical for most agaves. As with other agaves, the flower stalk can be quite tall, about five feet. Once the plant blooms, it will eventually die. So be sure to pot up some of the pubs before this happens. It is hardy to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Other species suitable for containers include Agave colorata. This diminutive plant barely reaches a foot in height. Like many of the other agaves, it features grayish-green leaves that are some distance apart.

Leopold agave (Agave leopoldii) is often grown as a houseplant. It is apparently a hybrid between the Agave schidigera and Agave filifera. It is easy to tell what features the Agave filifera contributed to this charming hybrid. Like this parent, Leopold has white stripes on the edges of the foliage and curling threadlike fibers to which the name filifera make reference.

A number of the other agaves will produce pups from which you can grow new plants. In addition, they may actually produce new plants with their own roots right on the flower shoot. These are called bulbils. Once these develop roots, it is safe to remove them from the mother plant and pot them up.

Agave will grow well in your gardening region; the sizes available will depend upon the retailer you visit and the type of Agave you want to grow.

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