Agave spp. is one of the most spectacular show stopping plants for the southern landscape with the most common species of this genus being Agave americana, also known as Century Plant, due to its long lifespan. The Agave species is most recognized as being used in tequila. Agave can grow to a height of 4 to 6 feet tall and wide and thrive in zones 8 to 11 with full sun and little water. It is hardy in South Texas, most of central Texas, and can be used in the Dallas area, but may be damaged with extended temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Agave americana has bold, broad, and thick leaves that range from green, blue-green, silver-blue, and variegated in color. It can live from 10 to 25 years before producing a flower stalk up to 15 feet tall with magnificent yellow blooms in late spring to early summer. As the plant ages the older foliage begins to gracefully arch downward while the younger leaves stay rigid and upright. After it blooms, the Agave dies but soon is replaced by small offshoots that gather around the base. Small offshoots will begin at the base of the plant long before it will bloom, and they should be removed regularly to allow the primary plan to maintain a gorgeous shape.
Agave should be used with caution in some landscapes and should be handled with care due to its sharp spines on the tips and margins of the leaves. Despite its sharp features, Agave is often utilized as a focal point in residential and commercial landscapes, and it is best paired with soft and colorful textures to provide bold contrast to its broad leaves and silver to green color. It also can be quite interesting as a container plant, but one should be considerate of the potential size of the plant when selecting a container.
Agave parryi var. truncate or Artichoke Agave is a dense, blue-gray rosette of wide oval shaped leaves that develop in large clumps. It too has sharp spines on the tips of the leaves in a dark brown to black color. It is a waterwise plant and can serve as an interesting mass planting due to its offshoots. It is 2-4 ft wide with flower spikes 15-20 ft tall appearing after 10-15 years.
Agave ferdinand-regis or Ferdinand Agave is a slow growing, compact succulent forming a rosette of green to blue green leaves tipped with black spines. The leaves of this agave are accented with white marking which give it a more interesting and geometric coloring. It reached 18” tall and wide and is one of the smaller agaves available.
*Warning: This plant does not like wet, soggy soil, and roots will rot in this condition.
© HDG Landscape Design, 2016