Agave (Agave americana) in the Agaves Database

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Agave
Give a thumbs up American Aloe
Give a thumbs up Maguey
Give a thumbs up American Century Plant
Give a thumbs up Century Plant

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Dry
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 8a -12.2 °C (10 °F) to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
Plant Height: 4-6 feet
Plant Spread: 8-10 feet
Leaves: Evergreen
Fruit: Dehiscent
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Underground structures: Rhizome
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Will Naturalize
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Provide light
Can handle transplanting
Other info: Sow in shallow pots with a well draining, sterile mix; 50/50 organic/inorganic of coarse perlite, pumice; sphagnum peat or good compost. Avoid manures. Irrigate from below by submerging in water to 1/2 height of pot. Provide bright, indirect light.
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Division
Offsets
Pollinators: Moths and Butterflies
Bats
Containers: Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth
Monocarpic
Awards and Recognitions: RHS AGM

Bud imprints and crossbanding

Garden Tours: AlohaHoya, Carol NoelGarden Tours: AlohaHoya, Carol Noel
November 5, 2011

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Comments:
Posted by Baja_Costero (Baja California - Zone 11b) on Jun 19, 2019 2:43 PM

Very common and weedy domesticated agave. May reach up to 12 feet wide at maturity, somewhat smaller if grown hard and dry. By far the most common large agave in cultivation. Blue, green, and multiple variegated varieties exist, with a range of forms, suckering incessantly by rhizomes which usually emerge relatively close to the mother plant. Remove offsets regularly to avoid the development of a dangerously spiny, impenetrable thicket.

Very drought and sun tolerant. Naturalizes in many arid and desert locations, but does not tend to go feral and leave the area where it was planted, perhaps because of fertility problems. Susceptible to the agave snout weevil, which tends to kill off mature plants about to flower.

Do not plant one of these without being prepared for its massive final size and tree-like inflorescence. Baby americanas may look cute planted close to buildings, structures or walkways, but they will turn into large or extra-large plants over the course of just a few years. The spines make americanas a real threat to passing traffic, which may work great if your goal is to exclude pedestrians. Otherwise, set them back a fair distance or pay the price later. Where size may be an issue, cut way back on watering (zero irrigation works in many arid locations) and do not enrich poor soil. This also helps reduce the number of offsets to a degree.

While pruning is always an option to relieve safety concerns when an agave is close to traffic, think carefully about what you're doing because it's not reversible, and the results tend to look really ugly because they spoil the symmetry of the plant. Consider clipping the terminal spines (only) instead of leaves. The pineapple cut (all lower leaves trimmed close to the stem, with only the upward-pointing leaves left on the plant) works well for large, older plants but it looks pretty terrible on younger ones.

This plant has been in cultivation for a really long time and its wild relatives in the Sierra Madre Oriental of northeastern Mexico are not close to many domesticated forms. Some forms of this plant may have some A. asperrima in them (asperrima is also popular in cultivation in Mexico).

There are many other agaves with desirable traits and more manageable sizes, so consider your other options before planting an americana. The variegated Agave (Agave americana 'Mediopicta Alba') and the monstrose, variegated Dwarf Variegated Century Plant (Agave americana 'Cornelius') reach a smaller final size than other americanas and may be good choices if space is limiting.

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Posted by sheryl (Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ - Zone 9b) on Nov 6, 2013 9:50 PM

This is one of the most widely planted Agave species in the Southwest of the United States There are at least three different cultivars; A. americana 'Marginata', A. americana var. medio-picta, and A. americana var. striata - all three having various stripes of different colors (green, yellow and creamy white) than the glaucous blue of the species.

Unfortunately, this impressive plant is also very susceptible to the Agave Snout Weevil, as are many of the looser-leaved blue Agaves.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Butchered Agave by hardwarechick Oct 5, 2019 3:26 PM 17
plant id, tropical? by keithp2012 Sep 11, 2019 12:20 AM 24
Aloe Vera by Valk Jul 17, 2019 8:04 AM 1
June 2019 Bromeliads by ScotTi Jul 6, 2019 7:06 AM 137
Euphorbia trigona by _Bleu_ Apr 4, 2019 4:43 PM 12
And these are? by piksihk Mar 8, 2019 10:54 PM 2
Jack's beanstalk growing next door... by jessicat2124 Mar 5, 2019 8:41 PM 8
Agave Americana in winter by marketa Jan 6, 2019 3:14 PM 2
Century Cactus by cuzzx Dec 18, 2018 9:43 AM 3
'Show Your Aloes Here' by Stush2019 Dec 7, 2019 11:01 PM 281

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