Agave americana, or Century Plant, is a unique succulent plant native to Mexico. These are large plants with loose, open, trunkless rosettes. The grey-green leaves will reach up to 6 feet (2 m) in length and 10 inches (25 cm) wide with marginal hooked spines. Tips of leaves have a very sharp spine reaching up to 2 inches (5 cm) long. They received the name Century plant because it was believed that they flowered every hundred years. In fact, most plants will bloom in 10 to 30 years, but a lot less than 100 years. The plant is hardy in USDA zones 8-10.
Blooming: Our plant in the greenhouse hasn’t bloomed yet. Flower stalks can reach from 15-40 feet tall. The greenish yellow flowers are up to 3 ˝ inches (9 cm) long.
Culture: Agave americana need full sun and well drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of equal parts of loam and sand. The plants are very drought resistant. We water them and they are allowed to dry thoroughly before watering again. They are fertilized only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. During the winter months, one should only water enough to keep the leaves from shriveling.
Propagation: Agave americana is propagated by using suckers, which often are found growing around the base of the plant, or by seed when available.
Agave americana was featured as Plant of the Week February 25- March 3, 2005.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.