Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Agave Americana

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch
Agave americana in flower (02/07/2011, Rabat)

Agave americana in flower (02/07/2011, Rabat)

Position: Full sun

Soil: Well drained soil

Flowering period: Spring and summer

Eventual Height: 2m (8m during inflorescence)

Eventual Spread: 3cm

Hardiness: USDA Zone 8a-11a

Family: Asparagaceae

Sub Family: Agavoideae

Agave americana is an evergreen perennial with a clump forming habit. The succulent leaves emerge from a basal rosette and are sharply pointed along its length and tip. These can grow up to two metres long. Its branched flower stem can grow up to eight metres long and bears dense, tapering spikes of bell shaped, white to pale creamy flowers in spring and summer. The plant from which the flower spike emanates will die once flowering is complete.

A. americana, is commonly known as the Century Plant or in Mexico as the Maguey. Ironically, this plant only lives for 10-30 year despite being given the name Century Plant. It is native to Mexico but has been naturalised in many regions around the world including Europe, South Africa, India, and Australia. Traditionally it has had many uses, from weaving of the fibrous material of its leaves into rope and cloth to the production of Pulque, a viscous alcoholic beverage with a rich cultural history. Its close relative Agave tequilana is the plant used to produce the spirit Tequila.

In Greek mythology Agave was a daughter of Cadmus, who supposedly founded the city of Thebes. Americana being a Latinised word meaning ‘of or from the Americas’. This plant was described by Carl Linnaeus in the 1753 edition of Species Plantarium, with the same binomial name still in use today.

Agave americana (02/07/2011, Rabat)

Agave americana (02/07/2011, Rabat)

This plant may be useful to the landscape architect in creating xeriscapes due to its drought tolerance, but poor conditions may prolong an already lengthy period before the plant will flower.

The Royal Horticultural Society have given it their prestigious Award of Garden Merit.

This plant will tolerate many soil conditions; it will be happy in neutral or acid pH levels, in loam or sand based soils facing a sheltered, southern or eastern facing aspect. The RHS recommend this plant be grown under glass.

Ecologically this plant will attract pollinating insects such as butterflies and honey bees but as it takes so long to produce flowers (sometimes over a decade) and will die upon flowering this impact is limited.

Maintenance: Requires no maintenance. If this plant is located close to a footway or where people have access the spikes at the end of each leaf may be removed. The plant may be propagated easily removing an offset which are produced readily by this plant in spring or autumn.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Notes on Jake ~ 10 Months Old

    Notes Jake Months

    It's hard to believe that we've only had Jake for a little over four months. This summer has flown by and Jake has become such a part of the family that it feel... Read more

    18 hours, 9 minutes ago by   Hikingwithheather
  • Banana Coconut Bread

    Banana Coconut Bread

    (recipe adapted modify slightly from Cuisine Paradise)Ingredients:3 large eggs120g ripe bananas, mashed3 Tbsp maple syrup40g coconut oil1 Tbsp rum1/4 cup... Read more

    18 hours, 26 minutes ago by   Cathysjoy
  • Learn How To Write A Blog With These 13 Tips

    Learn Write Blog With These Tips

    The idea of creating your blog has been around for a long time. For many companies, blogs have become a tool that increases the potential of an online... Read more

    The 20 August 2018 by   Kharim Tomlinson
  • Play It By Beer, Brad Saunders Interview + 5 Quick Questions

    Play Beer, Brad Saunders Interview Quick Questions

    Brad Saunders has had a busy year. And the latest buzz, thanks to his most recent single Play It By Beer, has him planning on staying busy. We caught up with... Read more

    The 20 August 2018 by   Phjoshua
  • Dan Lawson’s JOGLE FKT Record Attempt Over

    Lawson’s JOGLE Record Attempt Over

    British 24 hour international, Dan Lawson set off from John O Groats on August 13th at 6:00 am and is currently in the Mendip Hills south of Bristol. This... Read more

    The 20 August 2018 by   Abichal
  • The European Union Just Made Bioenergy Worse for Biodiversity

    European Union Just Made Bioenergy Worse Biodiversity

    While some complain that the European Union (EU) is an enormous, cumbersome beast (just ask the self-harming Brexiteers), it generally has some rather laudable... Read more

    The 20 August 2018 by   Bradshaw
  • The Romantics


    These two words conjure an image in my mind of running through fields with flowers in my hand and my beloved running after me, very much like the Bollywood film... Read more

    The 20 August 2018 by   Ashleylister