Beginner Guide to Agave (Century Plants)

Beginner Guide to Agave (Century Plants)

By Published May 22, 2014 Updated November 29, 2022

What are agaves and why are they called century plants? 

When people who have never been to the Southwest US first see an agave, they either fall in love, are frightened to death, or don’t know what to think. Agaves are actually very common North American native plants that range from Utah to southern Mexico. They are members of the Asparagaceae family and are most closely related to another popular garden plant - Hosta. The common name, century plant, is often used for agaves because in the wild many species require 100 years to grow large enough to produce a flower stalk. In cultivation they may take as little as 10 -15 years to flower, so you won't need an elixir of immortality to see yours bloom. Unfortunately, some gardeners are frightened of Agave plants because of the presence of spines. These same folks often have gardens full of equally spiny roses but can rationalize that one spine is better than another. For us, the beautiful looks make the pain of handling them worth it. If you get poked particularly badly, we recommend a quick treatment with rubbing alcohol followed by an antibiotic cream. 

How to grow agave plants the easy way

The easiest way to grow agave is in a plain terracotta pot set out on a sunny patio or balcony. Unlike some plants, agaves will grow to their container size and remain there, albeit somewhat grudgingly. If you have room to let your precious spine dispensers grow larger, keep in mind that they love moisture and nutrition in the growing season, but only if they are kept in bright sun with good air circulation. Surprisingly, container agaves are quite tolerant of waterlogged soils in the summer when growth is fastest, but they are not fond of sprinklers, which keep their dry-loving foliage too wet. If you’re heading out on vacation, fill a pot saucer with water and your well-armed desert friend will be fine for 2-4 weeks with no attention. Just remember that potted agaves must be brought indoors when winter temperatures get too cold. Zone 9/10 agaves should be brought indoors before the temperature drops into the mid-30s F (2 C). Zone 8 plants are fine down to the mid-20s F (-4 C). Zone 7 and colder plants should be fine until the temperature hits 20 F (-6 C), but no colder.  

Growing agave in your garden

If you do have some garden space to play with, we recommend making a raised bed with a well-drained soil mix. We use 50% PermaTill, 25% native sandy loam, and 25% compost, but you can be somewhat creative with it as long as the drainage remains excellent. In the summer months these herbaceous porcupines respond amazingly to water and organic fertilizer but in the winter, good drainage on a sloped site is essential for their survival. In cold zones, we recommend establishing agave early in the growing season (by midsummer at the latest) for the best results. We also recommend planting a shrub on the north side of your prickly gem to remove excess moisture from the soil, without providing shade. Agaves are also salt tolerant plants, good for coastal gardens. Select carefully when planting your new spiny showstopper, because some can get quite large...i.e., Agave salmiana and Agave protoamericana, which can grow to be 8-12 feet (2.4-3.6 meters) wide.

Agave varieties

Agave plants come in array of shapes, sizes, and colors. Plants with leaves that are anything but solid green are called variegated. Green varieties often ahave a waxy layer similar to hostas that causes the leaves to appear blue, such as the famous Agave tequilana. In general, the variegated forms tend to be less hardy than the solid green/blue ones and are best grown in containers, unless you live south of zone 9. Some species are offsetting, meaning they produce baby versions of themselves that grow from the base and share the mother's root system untill ready to grow on their own. Some nevr make an offset unless brought to the brink of death. There are some varieties that will saw your hand clean off and others that are smooth edged, with only a terminal spike to defend them. Below is a list of different agaves we have for sale.

Large green/blue agaves (36 inches or more in width)

Agave x amourifolia 'Twisted Tongue' is a seed strain we created that promises to be truly amazing. The architecturally arched leaves range in color from green to bluish green, mostly with a muted central yellow stripe. Zones: 7b to 10b.

Agave asperrima has 3' long, thick, silver-blue leaves are sandpapery on both the front and back. Each 3' tall x 5' wide rosette makes a lovely, fast offsetting clump. Zones: 7b to 10b.

Agave chrysantha 'Pinal Giants' is a seed strain of giant Agave chrysantha discovered by Arizona agave guru Ron Parker in the Pinal Mountains. In this secret location, these amazing plants ranged from 6' - 8' in width, with an extreme of 13' other words, the size of a typical Agave americana. Zones: 8b to 10a.

Agave x loferox 'A Step Above' is our 2023 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction that builds on the genetics of Agave 'Stairway to Heaven'. Each seed grown plant is different and will vary in size, but the average rosette is 3' tall x 4-5' wide with 3" wide x 3' long, dark green leaves. Zones: 7b to 10b, at least.

Agave ovatifolia forms a 3' tall x 6' wide symmetrical, non-offsetting rosette of smooth silver-blue leaves. This species seems particularly tolerant of cold moist climates compared to many other century plants we've grown. Zones: 7a to 9b, at least. We have several cultivars available:

Agave ovatifolia 'Cameo'

Agave ovatifolia 'Frosted Flecks'

Agave ovatifolia 'Kraken'

Agave ovatifolia 'Sierra Lampazos'

Agave ovatifolia 'Vanzie'

Agave x protifolia 'Emerald Giants' is our 2020 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction of an amazing hybrid created by our former agave specialist Mike Papay. We expect these could easily reach 5' tall x 10' wide or larger. The leaves are very wide, glossy green, with large marginal teeth and upturned leaf tips. Zones: 7b to 10b.

Agave x pseudoferox 'Green Goblet' forms a massive 5' tall x 9' wide clump at maturity and has performed extremely well in our climate to the single digits. Zones: 7b to 9b, at least.

Agave x pseudoferox 'Logan Calhoun' forms a 5' tall x 10' wide specimen of shiny, thick green leaves. This is a freely offsetting variety that you can share with all your friends...those of your friends that you like enough to risk your life for by removing the offsetting pups. Zones: 7a to 10b.

Medium sized blue agaves (8-36 inches, great for containers)

Agave x yavapaiensis 'Verde Valley' matures into 2' tall x 3' wide, glaucous blue, rarely-offsetting clumps. Zones: 8b to 10b.

Agave parryi 'J.C. Raulston' is a special slow offsetting clone of Agave parryi that forms large symmetrical 2' tall x 3' wide rosettes that seem particularly well-adapted to winters in wet, humid climates. Zones: 7a to 9b, possibly colder.

Agave parryi ssp. truncata, considered one of the most beautiful of all the agaves, has a very limited native distribution. Found only in Durango, Mexico, it can best be described as short, fat, blue, and producing lots of offspring. Zones: 8a to 9b, at least.

Agave x parryspina is an exciting cross of two North American century plant species, Agave parryi and Agave flexispina. We haven't seen mature plants but expect them to form 2' tall x 3' wide blue-leaved rosettes. Zones: 7b to 9b, at least.

Agave 'Desert Love' is a hybrid seed batch of Agave ovatifolia from the high desert mountains of Northern Mexico. The foliage ranges from wide to narrow with an assortment of recurved leaf tips, spine patterns, but almost consistently blue foliage. We anticipate most plants will mature in the 2' tall x 6' wide range. Zones: 7a to 9b, at least.

Agave flexispina has powder blue leaves with long red spines. It forms rosettes that are often solitary but will offset occasionally once established. In cultivation, expect the clumps to reach 18" tall x 3' wide. Zones: 7b to 9b, at least.

Agave parryi ssp. couesii Yavapai Co., Arizona forms a 1.5' tall x 2.5' wide rosette of fairly narrow (for Agave parryi) blue-green foliage. The clumps are usually good off-setters, but that trait varies from seedling to seedling. Zones: 6b to 8b, possibly colder.

Agave funkiana 'Tug Boat II' is a painfully slow-growing, ploidy mutant of the Northern Mexico native Agave funkiana, which is similar to Agave x pumila. Our seven-year-old, rarely-offsetting parent plant is 10" tall x 1' wide, composed of thickened, triangular glaucous blue foliage. Zones: 9a to 11, possibly colder.

Agave nickelsiae forms a tight, slow-growing clump that should reach 10" tall x 18" wide when mature. The thick glaucous leaves are accented by an elegant pattern of white veins. Zones: 7b to 10b, guessing.

Agave victoriae-reginae 'Porcupine' is a painfully slow growing, non-offsetting selection of the compact form of Agave victoriae-reginae, that was selected for its perfectly symmetrical form and nice white leaf markings. Zones: 7b to 10b.

Small green agaves (less than 8 inches)

Agave parryi ssp. truncata 'Bed of Nails' is a severely mutated form of Agave parryi ssp. truncata that we discovered in a batch of tissue cultured plants. Each rosette has been miniaturized, and instead of offsetting underground, each rosette simply splits, forming a dense clump like Agave isthmensis. Zones: 8a to 9b, guessing.


Variegated Agave

Variegated agaves can be divided into two groups: edge variegated, and center variegated. Variegation color is either pale green, yellow, or white, except for Agave lophanta ‘Quadricolor.’ Below is a list of available agaves grouped by variegation color and location.

But first, I know you are curious about this one...

Agave lophantha 'Quadricolor' forms 18" tall x 2' wide offsetting rosettes composed of 1' long x 2.5" wide leaves, each with a chartreuse-yellow center, edged in green and surrounded by a pale green margin, which is then surrounded by a dramatic creamy white border. Zones: 8a to 10b, guessing.


Pale green variegated agaves have become more popular lately for their subtle elegant looks paired with undiminished winter hardiness.

Edge variegated cultivars

Agave parryi 'Border Guard' is a 2021 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction of a muted lime green-edged sport of Agave parryi 'J.C. Raulston' that we discovered. Agave parryi 'Border Guard' should mature at 2' tall x 3' wide, but that will take many years. Zones: 7b to 9b, possibly colder.

Agave parryi 'J.C.'s Shadow' is a 2023 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction of our new variegated sport of Agave parryi 'J.C. Raulston'. Each 1' tall x 2' wide, slowly-offsetting specimen forms lovely blue rosettes with each leaf edged in a wide light green border, and stunning black terminal spines. Zones: 7b to 9b, possibly colder.

Agave parryi ssp. huachucensis 'Desert Delight' is a 2023 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction of an edged sport of Agave parryi ssp. huachucensis. The edge of each blue leaf is bordered with a muted chartreuse band. Unlike brighter variegated century plants, Agave 'Desert Delight' is as winter hardy as the non-variegated species. Zones: 7b to 9b, possibly colder.

Agave obscura 'Red Skyline' forms a 15" tall x 2' wide rosette of very dark, forest green leaves, absent any spines other than the leaf tip. The leaf margins are bordered with a wide contrasting stripe of light green, which is then edged with a narrow dark red purple stripe. Zones: 8b to 10b, guessing.

Agave 'Lasting Impressions' is a 2023 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction of what is, to our knowledge, the first variegated selection of the non-offsetting Mexican Agave chazaroi. The wide green, spineless foliage is highlighted by a muted chartreuse border and dramatic white leaf line markings. Zones: 9b to 11.

Agave bracteosa 'Daddy Longlegs' is a 2020 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction of a sport of Agave bracteosa 'Calamar' that forms a rarely-offsetting, 18" tall x 2' wide, rosette of arching, scabrous, but spineless leaves, each edged with a wide lighter green border. Zones: 7b to 10b.

Agave x nickelima 'Mustard Shark' is a 2019 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction that has a wider golden edge than our earlier introduction, Agave 'Shark Bite', and because of the reduced chlorophyll, is a slower grower. Our oldest clumps are now 18" tall x 30" wide and quite elegant. Zones: 8b to 11, guessing.

Center variegated cultivars

 Agave titanota 'Mean Streak' in a 2018 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction that forms an 18" tall x 2' wide, chunky rosette of dusty green leaves, each with a highway stripe-sized yellow band down the center of each leaf. Zones: 9a to 10b, at least.


Yellow variegated agaves are quite eye catching and seem to be sunlit even on a rainy day. Most are not hardy north of zone 9 but make excellent container plants.

Edge variegated cultivars

Agave applanata 'Butter Cream' is a miniature 2023 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction of a wide-edged sport of Agave 'Cream Spike', that boasts a rich green center, surrounded by a narrow light grey green stripe, just inside the wide border that emerges creamy yellow before aging to white. We expect mature size to be around 3" tall x 6" wide. Zones: 9a to 10b

Agave applanata 'Cream Spike' makes a very symmetrical, compact 10" tall x 1' wide clump of blue leaves, each surrounded by a wide creamy border. Zones: 9a to 10b.

Agave 'Grand Duke' is an amazing creamy yellow edged selection of the rough leaf century plant, Agave asperrima (scabra). This slow growing gem, composed of deeply channeled leaves, will eventually mature into an 18" tall x 3' wide, sparsely offsetting specimen. Zones: 9a to 10b, possibly colder.

Agave bovicornuta 'Divine Bovine' is a slow growing selection of the rarely cultivated cow horn century plant, which is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The 2' tall x 4' wide solitary clump of green leaves are edged with a wide, dramatic golden border and stunning cinnamon spines. Zones: 9a to 11.

Agave bracteosa 'Stingray' is a stunning 2020 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction that forms an octopus-like rosette of narrow, elegantly arching, scabrous, spine-free leaves, each banded with a luscious, wide creamy-yellow stripe. Our ten-year-old clumps are now 18" tall x 3' wide. Zones: 7b to 10b, possibly colder.

Agave 'Desert Diamond' is a slow growing wide-edged sport of Agave 'Kissho Kan' that eventually makes a 15" tall x 18" wide, sparsely offsetting variegated rosette. Zones: 9a to 10b.

Agave 'Kabuto Gani' is a superb, compact form of the Mexican Agave isthmensis that matures at 8" tall x 10" wide. The thick, deeply scalloped leaves are blue with a wide creamy border. Zones: Tropical.

Agave 'Great White Shark' is a 2023 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction that started as a tiny streak on a single leaf of Agave x nikelima 'Sharkskin Shoes' that we were able to eventually isolate into a wide edge. Mature, slowly-offsetting plants reach 18" tall x 30" wide. Zones: 9b to 11.

Agave x leopoldii 'Painted Nails' is a 2021 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction of our sport of Agave 'Hammer Time' that is 20% more compact and the pencil-thin leaves emerge solid green and age to a narrow yellow edge, compared to the ivory edge of its parent. Each rosette matures at 1' tall x 16" wide. Zones: 8a to 10b, guessing.

Agave parryi 'Lucky Stripe' is a 2023 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction of a slow growing, slowly offsetting form of US native Agave parryi ssp. parryi with a wide creamy yellow border will eventually reach 10" tall x 18" in time for your grandkids to enjoy in their retirement years. Zones: 8b to 10b, probably colder.

Agave 'Ripple Effect' is 2018 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction that forms 2' tall x 4' wide, sparsely-offsetting clumps composed of wide grey-blue leaves, each tipped with long, dark purple spines and bordered with a 2"+ wide two-tone golden border that ages to creamy gold. Zones: 9a to 11.

Agave schidigera 'Royal Flush' forms neat rosettes of smooth-edged, stiff leaves highlighted by a chartreuse central streak, a wide creamy yellow border, random white chalk-like marks, all topped with short curly white hairs. Eventually, Agave 'Royal Flush' will reach 1' tall x 20" wide, but you'll have grey hair when it does, since it grows slower than rush hour traffic in Atlanta. Zones: 9a to 10b.

Agave 'Sun Glow' matures as a solitary 2' tall x 3' wide symmetrical sphere of rigid glaucous leaves with a wide chartreuse golden border outlined by a dark, slightly toothy edge. Have you seen the cartoon cake trend? Yes, it looks like a drawing of itself. Zones: 9a to 11.

Agave titanota 'Banana Peel' forms a rugged 1' tall x 18" wide rosette, with each wide green leaf edged with a wide muted gold border that eventually ages to green. All titanotas have jagged leaf spines that resemble cats’ claws. Zones: 9a to 10b.

Agave titanota 'Snaggle Tooth' is a Mountain States Nursery introduction of a very wide creamy-white edged form of the medium sized Agave titanota. This stunning agave is very slow growing due to the reduction in the amount of chlorophyll but will eventually reach 15" tall x 2' wide. Zones: 9a to 11.

Agave victoriae-reginae 'Lemonade' forms a slow growing 1' tall x 18" wide solitary (non-offsetting) rosette composed of short, rigid, green, toothless leaves, each bordered with an ultra-wide margin of bright yellow, extending all the way to the leaf tip. Zones: 8a to 10b, guessing.

Agave vilmoriniana 'Stained Glass' forms a 4' tall x 7' wide solitary specimen with long, recurved, deeply channeled, spineless leaves. Each leaf is glaucous blue green, edged in creamy yellow. Zones: 9a to 11.

Agave xylonacantha 'Frostbite' forms an 18” x 30” wide symmetrical clump of long and narrow leaves highlighted by a medium green central stripe and bordered by a wide creamy yellow edge that ages to white. The unusual, dark snaggle-tooth spine pattern on the leaf edge is truly fascinating. Zones: 9a to 10b, guessing.


Center variegated cultivars

Agave 'Desert Lightning' is 2023 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction that forms a 16" tall x 2' wide, non-offsetting clump of 2" wide x 9" long, non-spiny foliage. Each leaf is creamy yellow, fused with green undertones and edged with a nice green border. Zones: Tropical.

Agave funkiana 'Olympic Gold' is a stunning, yellow-centered selection of the Northern Mexican native Agave funkiana. Each 1' tall x 20" wide rosette of narrow, well-spined leaves each have a dramatically wide central band of gold. Zones: 9a to Tropical.

Agave 'Kissho Kan Nishiki' is a sparse offset producer that forms a 15" tall x 18" wide rosette of chartreuse golden leaves with a wide green border and adorned with very ornamental spines that emerge butterscotch-yellow before aging to dark mahogany. Zones: Tropical.

Agave lophantha 'La Bufa Baby' forms neat rosettes of green leaves with a wide yellow central stripe, and the entire foliage is frosted with an overlay of dusty blue. The 1' tall x 18" rosettes offset well to eventually form a 5' wide patch in 10 years. Zones: 7b to 10b, at least.

Agave lophantha 'Splendida' forms quickly offsetting 11" tall x 18" wide variegated rosette composed of fat, 7" long x 2" wide, succulent leaves. The dark green, heavily armed leaves are highlighted by a wide central yellow stripe that is even wider on the leaf’s back. Zones: 7b to 10b, at least.

Agave multifilifera 'Silly String' is a 2022 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction of a special seedling that forms a 18" tall x 2' wide, non-offsetting clump of very narrow dark green leaves adorned with a central chartreuse stripe and abundant prematurely white hair that's common with Agave multifilifera. Zones: 8a to 10b, at least.


White variegated agave are brighter cousins of the yellow variegated forms.

Edge variegated cultivars

Agave gypsophila ssp. gypsophila 'Zingara' is the only variegated form of Agave gypsophila ssp. gypsophila...all the others are Agave gypsophila ssp. pablocarrilloi. The nice white-edged, 3.25" wide leaves have the most recurved tips of any Agave gypsophila we've grown. Our oldest specimen is 20" tall x 3' wide. Zones: Tropical.

Agave gypsophila ssp. pablocarrilloi 'Surfer Dude' is a 2023 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction that makes a 10" tall x 26" wide rosette of long blue-green wavy leaves with streaky white edges. Zones: Tropical.

Agave gypsophila ssp. pablocarrilloi 'Blue Ivory' is a 2023 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction that forms a compact 7" tall x 20" wide rosette of long blue-green wavy leaves edged in white. Zones: Tropical.

Agave schidigera 'Shiraito no Ōhi' is a slowly offsetting, painfully slow growing century plant, 15" tall x 22" wide rosette is composed of dark green leaves, each highlighted by a dramatic creamy white border, curly white hairs, and converging pointed white bands on the reverse. Zones: 9a to 10b.

Agave multifilifera 'Starshine' is almost a doppelganger of the better-known Agave schidigera 'Shiraito no Ōhi'. The leaves are 1/2" narrower (3/4" compared to 1.25") than Agave 'Shiraito no Ōhi', each surrounded by a very bright cream border and adorned with an abundance of small white curled hairs. Zones: 8a to 10b.

Agave potatorum 'Bluewinds’ forms a stunning 8" tall x 18" wide symmetrical clump of 6" long x 3" wide blue leaves, each edged with a wide border of silvery white. Zones: Tropical.

Agave titanota 'Genryu Kifukurin' makes 1' tall x 18" wide rosettes of leaves edged with large papery teeth as well as a wide white border that is brightest when the new growth emerges and fades somewhat during the high heat of summer. Zones: 9a to 10b, at least.


Center variegated cultivars

Agave 'Witte Zeeëgel' (White Sea Urchin) forms a miniature 1' tall x 2' wide specimen with creamy white leaves, edged with a wide green border and adorned with greyish brown papery spines. Very rare and special. Zones: Tropical. 

Agave 'South Pole' is 2023 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction of an exquisite sport of Agave potatorum. The small 6" tall x 9" wide clump is composed of blue leaves with a dramatic clear creamy white center. This is a fairly slow growing selection, although it does offset reasonably well. Zones: Tropical.

Agave isthmensis 'Ohi Raijin Shiro Nakafu' (white centered-thunder queen) is a very rare, variegated selection of the dwarf butterfly century plant that makes a tight clump to 4" tall x 4" wide and produces pups from the leaf axils instead of via underground runners. Zones: Tropical.

Agave parviflora 'Pinpoint' forms a small 6" tall x 1' wide, mostly solitary rosette of pencil-sized, terminal-spined leaves, each with a wide central silver white band. When mature, this charming dwarf produces a 5' tall spike of very small bright golden yellow flowers. Zones: 9a to 11.

Agave parviflora 'Pin Up Girl' is a fascinating sport of Agave parviflora 'Pinpoint'. In our new 2021 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction, one layer of color has been stripped from the leaf, causing the white central pattern to brighten to a clean white instead of the silvery white of its parent. Zones: 9a to 11.


Other cultivars

Inevitably, there are some plants that don’t fit into the pretty spreadsheet due to their unique appearance and personality. If you like the odd and unusual, this corner of the store is for you.

Agave albopilosa, the Hair-Tipped Century Plant is a very rare, recently discovered (2007) species that grows on a remote, nearly vertical, 3,500'-5,000' cliff in the mountains southwest of Monterrey in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. At agave puberty (around 3 years old) the tips of the narrow, green, upturned leaves develop little white tufts of hair, giving the plant a unique look. This slow growing species matures at 1' tall x 20" wide. Zones: 8a to 10b, guessing.

Agave desmettiana 'Joe Hoak' is one of the most unique agaves we sell with its wide, pliable, glaucous grey leaves, each bordered in cream and surrounded by a dark green edge. Pick a generously sized pot for this one, as it matures at 3 feet tall. Zones: Tropical.

Agave potatorum ‘Lonkie’ forms 1' tall x 18" wide rosettes comprised of small blue green leaves emerge with a wide grey central pattern that quickly changes to a fascinating grey striped pattern. Zones: Tropical.

Agave x romanii 'Shadow Dancer' makes a 1' tall x 2' wide clump of deeply channeled, parchment-colored leaves, bordered by pale green edges and aging to entirely parchment. Zones: 8b to 10b, guessing.

Agave x romanii 'Mostly Ghostly' is a 2023 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction of a sport of Agave 'Shadow Dancer'. Mature 1' tall x 2' wide clumps have foliage that is pure cream white instead of green edged, but with surprisingly good vigor and sun tolerance. Zones: 8b to 10b, guessing.

Agave lophantha 'Goldfinger' is a 2023 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction of our 2010 seed selection. Agave 'Goldfinger' resembles typical Agave lophantha (long narrow foliage with a pale green center stripe) until cold weather, when the top half of each leaf turns brilliant gold. Each rosette in the offsetting patch reaches 18" tall x 3' wide. Zones: 7b to 10b, at least.

Agave 'Bleached Blonde' is a 2017 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction that produces 12" tall x 18" wide, tightly offsetting golden rosettes. The color is brightest in early spring, when the clump actually seems to glow. As summer arrives, the color shifts to chartreuse, which helps maintain vigor. Zones: 9a to 10b.

Agave victoriae-reginae 'Golden Surprise' is a 2018 Plant Delights/JLBG introduction of a gold-leaved century plant that's brightest in spring, but still retains a good chartreuse gold even during the summer months. The 15" tall x 18" wide compact rosette has surprising vigor, even producing pups at a young age. Zones: 8b to 11, guessing.

Agave titanota 'Sunburst' forms 18" tall x 30" wide, creamy gold centered rosettes. The color is brightest in early spring and holds well until late summer, when it eventually fades to all green. Zones: 9a to 11.

 Helpful Tips

I hope you feel brave enough to give the world of agave a try! They are quite easy to grow if you adhere to these simple rules.

For containers:

  • Grow in terracotta pot filled with a well-draining potting mix.
  • Water when dry, bottom water preferably.
  • Avoid watering in winter, as they go into a dormant state and the roots are more likely to rot. Bring outdoor containers inside to keep dry.
  • Fertilize appropriately during the growing season.
  • Give plenty of light, ideally 6+ hours a day during the growing season.

For growing in the ground:

  • Plant in a raised bed made of well-draining soil that gets 6+ hours of light during the growing season.
  • Do not mulch agave plants as it encourages soggy roots and fungal diseases.
  • Use only organic fertilizer if desired.
  • Protect young agave plants from excess winter rainfall. Mature plants can wick away moisture from their crowns, but young plants often struggle.


Trouble shooting your agave


Oh no! I left my potted agaves outside during the cold season and the roots have rotted.

Do not despair. Most agaves readily produce new roots if the basal plate (the solid part from which the leaves and roots grow) is intact. Clean off the rotten roots and repot your agave in fresh, slightly moist soil. Place the pot in a saucer and add a little water, then walk away. Do not top water your agave again until it stays firmly in the pot when tugged. You may use a rooting hormone if desired, to speed up the rooting process.

If some of the leaves turned ugly during the winter, is it ok to remove them?

Yes, you may remove the bottom dead leaves to improve the plants’ appearance. 

Help! My agave is offsetting so much it is busting out of its pot!

Great, now you have plenty to share with your friends. Remove the plant from the pot and tease the soil away from the roots. Mature offsets will have their own roots and easily snap off from the main stem. Remove any runners if you see them, they look like thick white roots but have a leaf rosette at the end. Pot the trimmed agave in fresh soil, water in only if the plant is in active growth.


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