If you’re looking to add a new plant to your home, we’ve got just the one for you: Agave americana!
It’s easy to care for, needs very little water, and thrives under neglect. Learn how to care for this beautiful Agave today!
in this article:
About Agave americana
Agave americana, commonly known as American Aloe or Century Plant, is a very popular evergreen succulent native to Mexico and the southwestern USA.
It forms a large rosette of rigid, sturdy, succulent leaves that can get as much as 6 feet tall individually. The blue-green leaves are edged with a row of sharp spines.
It has earned the prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.
Related Article: Agave common types and varieties
|Botanical Name||Agave americana|
|Common Name||Century Plant, American Aloe, Maguey|
|Origin||Mexico, Southwestern United States|
|Light||Full sun, Partial shade|
|Bloom color||Yellow, Green|
|Soil||Well-Drained, Loamy, Sandy|
|Tolerant||Deer, Drought, Salt|
Agave americana Care
Agave americana requires little care beyond regular watering during its active growth period from late winter through early summer.
It’s easy to grow and can be used as an indoor plant or outdoor landscaping. However, it serves best as the central feature in a desert garden.
The century plant is a sun-loving succulent that tolerates partial shade more than some other varieties of Agave.
The best location for your century plant is in an area with full sun exposure during the day—ideally on an east-facing window sill where it will receive morning sunlight throughout most of the day.
Shade from nearby trees is fine as long as they don’t block out all direct sunlight during much of each day. However, too much shade will cause leggy growth and prevent flowering and fruiting efforts.
You should select well-draining soil. The best soil for Agave americana is sandy loam, which is easy to maintain and provides the plant with plenty of nutrients.
Be sure that your potting medium has excellent drainage so that you don’t damage the roots or root system by overwatering it.
The soil should also be well-aerated, i.e., loose and porous, which helps prevent diseases from developing in your Agave americana’s roots.
Water your Agave in the morning when it’s not too hot. If you water deeply and ensure the water drains out quickly, your plant should last several days without needing more water.
Agaves are well-adapted to dry conditions and can withstand seasonal drought; however, they require occasional irrigation to keep their leaves healthy and vibrant.
Temperature and Humidity
The Century Plant thrives in temperatures from 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and is extremely drought tolerant. It does well with lower humidity but can also tolerate as much as 60% humidity if your climate has this amount of moisture.
Using a slow-release balanced fertilizer, it would be best if you only fertilized your Agave once or twice during the summer months.
Pruning allows you to exert some control over the size of the plant, remove dead or damaged leaves, and maintain its shape.
You should have a pair of good loppers (sharp hand tools used for cutting branches) when pruning agave plants because these plants have a hard outer coating that makes them difficult to cut with scissors or nail clippers.
Potting and Repotting Agave americana
You can grow your Agave americana in a container or on the ground. The most important step when growing Agave americana is to choose the right location and care for it properly.
How to Repot (Step-by-Step)
- Remove the plant from its original container and set it aside. Use garden shears to cut away any dead roots and fill in around them with fresh soil before putting them into their new home.
- Place your Agave into its new pot and fill in around its roots with more fresh soil until they’re completely covered but not too tightly packed together.
- Water the plant thoroughly to help settle it into its new home, and then stand back and admire your work!
Propagating Agave americana via Offsets (step-by-step)
Propagating Agave americana via offsets is a great way to increase your number of plants. It’s not difficult to do, but you must be patient and wait for offsets to appear as the plant matures.
- Remove the selected offset from the parent plant with a sharp knife or shears.
- Allow the freshly cut offsets to dry and callus over.
- Plant the dry fully healed offsets in a pot filled with fresh soil.
- Keep the plant well-watered and allow it to grow for several months until you see the new growths appear.
You can also propagate this Agave from seeds, but the process is much slower with fewer chances of success.
An Agave americana plant blooms appear after 20-25 years, well after a plant has matured. However, it was once believed that this Agave blooms after a hundred years, hence the name Century Plant.
Additionally, Agave americana is monocarpic, which means the plant dies after it blooms.
The green and yellow flowers are large and appear on a tall stalk that rises from the center of the rosette.
Offsets also appear beneath the main rosette after it blooms; these baby plants can be removed from their mother plant and used to continue the culture.
Related: Agave Attenuata ‘Nova’ (Boutin Blue): Growing and Care Guide
Agave americana is mildly toxic to cats, dogs, and humans. Its sap can irritate the skin if it comes into contact.
NOTE: This page is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. The toxicity of an ingested substance varies depending on the amount ingested, the animal’s weight, and its sensitivity to specific allergens. Contact your veterinarian or local animal poison control center immediately if you think your pet may have ingested a toxic substance.
- Placing under harsh sunlight
- Using poorly drained potting mediums
- Fertilizing during dormancy
Overwatering can cause root rot, leading to your Agave’s death. If you see that the plant is losing its leaves and has brown spots on them, then it’s likely that it has been overwatered. The leaves will droop below the soil level and become soft and mushy.
Remove the affected roots and repot to treat the damage.
Sunburn happens when agaves are exposed to direct sunlight for too long without shade. Agave americana has a better tolerance for extreme heat than some other succulents, but it can still get sunburnt.
Move your Agave to a shadier location if this happens.
Frost burn occurs when temperatures get too low at night, causing the leaves to freeze from the inside out.
Agave americana is frost hardy to below freezing temperatures if kept dry. Wet soil is the primary cause of frost burn.