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Light: Full Sun
Water: Low to Medium
Zone: 8, 9, 10, 11
A native of Mexico, Agave americana forms rosette-shaped succulents. There have been several tropical areas around the world where it has been introduced and naturalized. Agave americana is an evergreen, large, lanceolate, gray-green basal rosette formed on each plant. It is common for each rosette to reach a height and width of 6' to 8' over time. Spiny tips, waxy blooms, and sharp margins distinguish each leaf. Infrequent but spectacular flowering spikes are also a highlight of this plant.
The life cycle of plants is monocarpic (they bloom once and then die). This plant can live for 100 years before flowering, hence its common name, century plant. The typical blooming time of outdoor plants is between the tenth and the 25th year. It is rare for indoor plants to flower. From the center of the basal rosette of leaves, an outdoor plant sends up a single, erect flowering stalk that can be 15-30 feet tall. The flowering stalk resembles a narrow telephone pole with horizontal branching near the top. Greenish-yellow flowers (each 3-4" long) bloom in panicles at the branch ends. Suckers/offsets root at the base of each rosette over time, often forming a colony of new plants. Once a plant flowers and dies, the offsets around the base of the plant continue to grow.
This plant is reliably winter hardy in zones 8-10 of the USDA. In full sun, sandy/gritty, well-drained, dry to medium moisture soil is best for growth. Gritty, cactus-type potting mixes can be used to grow container plants. A sharp soil drainage system is essential. Root rot may occur in soils with poor drainage. Drought and dry soils are not a problem. This agave may can be propagated from seed or offsets.
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