Agave plants grow into giant living green sculptures called succulents with large protruding leaves and a single flower in the center. The kicker with this plant variety is that once the agave plant has blossomed, just a single time, the plant then dies. The death rate varies, but for most plants, such as the popular American Century Agave that has lived to be 100 years old, the flowering rate is only one per agave plant.

It’s a long time to tend to a flowering plant in a pot or in an outdoor garden. Before you commit to becoming an agave gardener, learn more about how often agave plants bloom. Then you can select the right type of agave plant for your own space and lifestyle.

How Often Do Agave Plants Bloom?

When an agave plant blooms, it forms an inflorescence, which is a solitary shoot of flowers. Agave, as a genus, is a monocot, which means there is a limited amount of reproductivity taking place. A monocot plant is akin to a blade of grass, whereas a dicot is a flower; there simply is not a lot going on reproductive-wise with the agave plant. When it is time to propagate the plant, you simply take a piece of the existing plant where an offshoot is growing and you plant it in a new pot or plot of soil.

Furthermore, as a general rule, the agave plants only bloom once in their lifetime. In fact, most plants won’t bloom at all, and when they do, this kills the plant. Finding the best agave plant for your household and garden starts with understanding how long each type of agave plant lives, and being able to identify what color flowers they produce in the end. From there, you choose the right plant for your household, such as a two-year agave potted plant for an apartment, or a 90-year American Century Agave for your ranch-style homestead.

There are many different varieties of agave plants that are available commercially and from seed to grow at home. Whether you live in Latin America or are in the Pacific Northwest, you can find succulent agave plants for sale. Finding the one you want often depends on the bloom itself. Since all of the agave plant varieties die after they bloom one time, you want to consider your options.

Are you prepared to live with an agave plant for 12 years before it blossoms just once—only to know this is going to take the life right out of it? Of course, that’s a long life span for a plant, and most of us will be fortunate to see an agave plant bloom right in our living room. That’s the joy of being a plant owner and home gardener! To help you choose the right agave plant for your lifestyle, learn about the time frames for how often agave plants bloom. Here are 17 of the most famous types of agave plants and their blooming schedules:

American Century Agave, botanical name agave Americana, blooms anywhere from six years to 80 years. Once the flower has blossomed, the plant dies. This only happens once in the plant’s entire lifespan. You will either see the blossom, or the plant will succumb to crown root rot or agave snout weevils will sniff out the flowering plant and eat the bud before it blooms. Either way, the flower consumes the entire life energy and process of growth. When you start to see flowers opening up, there is no way to reverse the course of nature and its actions.

At the other end of the spectrum, if you want to speed up the blossom process, feed and tend to the plant well. By helping it grow and achieve its full potential more efficiently, the agave plant will bloom sooner than expected. Of course, the plant will also die faster, but you will be able to enjoy the fruits of its labor a lot quicker. You will also more likely see the flower of the agave plant in comparison to a less cared for plant. An agave plant not tended to will be more likely to die prematurely due to overwatering, loss of leaves, crown rot, or agave snout weevil infestations.

Blue Agave, also known as the Agave Tequila or Tequila plant, is a specific variety of succulents that is grown in the Mexican state of Jalisco and specifically in the city of Tequila. These cactus plants are farmed for their blue agave flavored pina, which is the core of the plant when all of the leaves have been hacked off. This pina resembles a pineapple without its leafy top. The pina is processed using a complicated distillation method that is done in tequila factories, such as the Jose Cuervo Factory in Tequila, Mexico, which you can tour.

If you are growing a Blue Agave at home, the flowering process occurs in the summer season when the plant is at the peak of its energy absorbing abilities. The Blue Agave flowers in the summer only once and then the plant dies. To make the best use of the plant, the agave pina, flowers, stalk, and roots should be harvested immediately. In doing so, you would be able to repot the offset of the stalk and start a new agave plant.

The propagation method is how tequila farmers manage their harvests and crops sustainably. The flowers are where the prize-worthy blue agave nectar of the agave plant is contained. The flowers should be harvested when in bloom. The six blossoms in a single flower contain capsule fruits with thousands of seeds. These seeds are used to make blue agave syrup or blue agave tequila. The time frame for Blue Agave blooming is six to eight years, which is also the ideal time for harvesting blue agave.

Butterfly Agave or agave potatorum is an agave plant that resembles the yucca plant. The succulent’s roots are used to brew beer in Mexico, similar to how the Blue Agave plant is used to distill tequila. The time frame for a Butterfly Agave plant is 10 years. At this time, the agave produces a single spike that is dotted with flowers. Only flowering once in its lifespan, the agave potatorum dies after this happens.

Cabbage Head Agave or agave parrasana is another popular type of agave plant. Also called the Cabbage Head Century Plant, this plant infrequently flowers in the latter stages. In addition, once the Cabbage Head Agave plant blossoms into a flower, the plant dies soon after. The flower can be as tall as 20 feet or six meters with dense clusters of red to yellow flowers. Typically, only Cabbage Head Century plants that are older than 10 years will come to flower.

The Foxtail Agave or agave attentuata, also known as the Swan’s Neck Agave or Dragon Tree Agave, can grow to be up to 10 feet in height. There are also several varieties of agave attenuata including Variegata, Nova, and Ray of Light. When the Foxtail Agave flowers, it results in a rosette near the base of the flower, after which the leaves die off. Propagation is easy with this smaller than typical agave plant.

Dwarf Hedgehog Agave or agave stricta, also known as Sea Urchin Agave or Rabo de leon, is one of the tiniest agave plants. The maximum size of this plant is 50 centimeters tall and 50 centimeters spread. In the summer months, the Dwarf Hedgehog Agave plant grows the traditional agave spike. This plant produces a spike that is two meters long or six feet tall. The spike holds red to purple colored flowers in clusters. Once the plant has produced the flower, which takes three to four months in most cases, the plant dies. It is fair to say that the Dwarf Hedgehog Agave plant lives for about a year in most cases.

Octopus Agave or agave vilmoriniana is another long-lived succulent of the agave plant varieties. Here you have an evergreen succulent that grows for at least 10 years before producing the flower spike that ends its life. While its leaves look like the legs of an octopus, the flower is a golden yellow hue that clusters along a 20 foot tall spike. The flowers attract hummingbirds and other nectar-loving creatures.

Rancho Tambor Agave, botanical name agave titanota, also called Chalk Agave is a small agave plant. Growing up to two feet in height, the plant and its ghost-white leaves produce a solitary rosette. As with all agave genus plants, the rosette is perched on a stalk shooting out of the thorny-sided leaves that curl up into themselves. Blossoms on the Rancho Tambor Agave are yellow and occur only once. Then the monocarpic plant dies, which typically happens in six to eight years.

The Royal Agave or agave victoria-reginae aka, the Queen Victoria Century Plant, comes to maturity 10 years before flowering. The flowers are creamy white clustering flowers growing on the traditional agave spike, this one reaching 15 feet in height.

Other common types of agave plants that typically bloom once and then die include:

  • Ferocious Giant Agave or agave salmiana ferox
  • Mountain Agave, botanical name agave Montana
  • Small Flower Agave, botanical name agave parviflora
  • Smooth Agave or agave desmettiana
  • Squid Agave or agave bracteosa or spider agave
  • Thorncrest Century Plant or agave lophantha
  • Thread Agave or agave filifera
  • Twin-Flowered Agave or agavegeminiflora

How Long Do Agave Plants Bloom?

The agave can take years to bloom, and then once it does the magical blossoming, the plants will soon start to die. But how long do agave plants bloom before this happens? That depends on a number of factors, including root rot and infestations, as well as living conditions. You could have blooms on an agave plant for up to a month before the plant starts to smell funky. The leaves will start to rot and turn yellow. By then, the flower petals will either have fallen off the plant or the flowers will begin to dry and mummify while on the stalk.

How Long Does it Take an Agave Plant to Bloom?

The varying time for how long it takes an agave plant to bloom depends on several conditions. The size of the plant, how often the agave plant gets watered, and whether the plant is grown indoors or outside will determine how long it will take for the agave plant to show its flowering stalk and tiny buds.

Generally, this process will only happen in the summer season, which is once a year. That is for the smaller agave plants grown indoors in pots, which can come to flower in one year. A larger, outdoor agave plant will grow the longest, and that is the time frame for how long it takes for the agave plant to bloom. For the Queen Victoria Century Plant, for example, you are looking at anywhere from 10 to 100 years before you get a flowering stalk.

Does Agave Die After Flowering or Blooming?

The verdict is in—agave plants generally bloom once and then die. The Agave genus of plant species, in general, only gives us one flower on a stalk and then the flowering plant dies.

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.