When it is time to add new plants to your home landscape, it is important to find the right plant for your space and your local environment. If you live in an area where Agave plants are common and easily grown, then you are in luck. It should be no trouble at all finding the right plant for your setting, as there are more than 200 species of Agave identified in the wild and several dozen that are grown in mass numbers for residential and commercial landscape use. 

Some Agave plants are small, potted-plant-sized varieties that can stay in a decent-sized container for many years. Others are towering monsters of plants that can take up quite a bit of room on the landscape. The size of Agave varies depending upon the variety. Different types have different growth patterns and speeds for both the plant and the impressive flower stalks most Agave plants eventually produce. These are a truly wonderful plant variety that is great for drier landscapes that don’t get or need a lot of rain, fertilizer, or fussing with once the plants are well established.

How long does it take an agave plant to grow?

As already noted, there are more than 200 varieties of Agave plants, so how can you find the ones that are best suited for your landscape needs? The first thing you will need to consider and keep in mind is that all Agave are fairly slow-growing compared to other plants.  Small varieties may last for 5 to 10 years while larger varieties can live for as long as 50 years or more. The length of time it takes for an Agave plant to grow is solely dependent on the species and even then, there can be some fluctuation within the same variety due to things like soil weather and location. So, to get started on the journey of discovering Agave plants, here are six of the most common types that you can likely find.

Agave americana is by far the most frequently used species of Agave in the landscape and is generally known by the more common gardening name of the American Century Plant Agave. It is a native plant in Mexico where it is commonly known as a Maguey plant. This plant has very attractive leaves with distinctive sawtooth-like spines along the edges of the thick and rigid leaves. The most common color is a blue-green color though some variegated varieties exist too.

Agave victoriae-reginae also known as the more common name of the Queen Victoria Agave is a smaller plant that can be used in more limited areas than some other Agave plants. It grows with upright, black-tipped leaves that have a unique and interesting growth habit. The leaves curve inward on themselves to form a compact dome. That is very compact and stays around one to two feet in height and spread. It has a range of colors from green to blue and is a great accent plant in the landscape.

Agave Blue Glow is an example of another popular variety that is a fairly small, slow-growing Agave hybrid. This particular type of Agave reaches a height of one or two feet with a similar spread. The leaves are formed on a very compact and dense ball to form an attractive dome-shaped growth pattern. This hybrid came from crossing the Agave attenuata and another species known as Agave ocahui. It was specially developed by horticulturalists to make it long living and easy to care for.

Agave attenuata can be found under a few common names such as Dragon Tree or Foxtail. This species of Agave grows to a moderate height in terms of the foliage of the plan itself, averaging around four feet. It has a wide base with curve foliage and mildly compact nature. It is a spineless variety with soft, attractive, green leaves which has only made it all the more popular among homeowners as an attractive easy-care houseplant when young and a sturdy landscape plant when mature.

Agave Macroacantha is often most commonly known as the Large-Thorned or Black-Spined Agave. As the name implies, it has rather impressive and intimidating-looking spikes. On the medium-sized leaf rosettes that form with the mature plant, the leaves are lined with black spines along the edges and a 1-inch spike at the very tip of each leaf. The colors of this Agave plant range from shades of green to gray-green to blue-green and are wonderful additions to a low-maintenance garden.

How long does it take an agave plant to bloom?

Most plants that are grown in gardens and landscapes today grow in a year or two and bloom every spring. It is very different from the many varieties of Agave that are used in landscapes. The blooming time of your agave plant depends on its variety. Some types will take 5 years or less to grow to the point it produces a bloom. Other larger types can take more than 20 or 30 years to put out a bloom. There are even a few varieties that can grow and thrive for nearly the lifespan of a human before they make their first flowers. This is the name Century Plant is commonly used by home gardeners for the majority of the common Agave varieties.  When the Agave reaches maturity, however long that takes for a particular species, a spike-like stalk, that can reach 10 to 20 feet in height, will begin to grow from the center of the plant and this is where the flowers will start to form.

It is important to note that the formation of the bloom stalk ad the appearance of flowers signal not only maximum maturity for the Agave plant. It also signals the beginning of the final growth cycle for the plant before it dies. After the growth of the bloom stalk, most Agave plants have only around 3 to 4 more months to live before they will start to die. The seeds that are produced will fall and grow new plants and many Agave varieties also create ‘pups’ or offshoots before they start to bloom.

Can You Extend the Life of an Agave by Removing the Bloom Spike?

While it is true that you can cut the bloom stalk off as soon as you see it appear, it really will not do a lot to give your Agave a longer life. This is because the plant only begins producing the flower stalk and flowers to make seeds. It only puts energy towards this feat when it is close to dying as a way to ensure new Agave plants will grow and the species will not die out. Removing the bloom spike, which the plant will only attempt to produce once in most cases, will simply mean the plant cannot produce seeds and make new plants. Whether you cut off the bloom spike or you let it grow, your Agave is eventually going to die. 

 

Author

My name is Dan and I am the owner of this blog. I have been tending to the garden ever since my parents moved to a home with a large garden when I was a teenager. Gardening takes time and patience. Let me show you the way to a beautiful backyard.