Watering your agave plant at the right time and with the right amount is almost rocket science. Fortunately for any home gardener or landscaper, agave plants are one of the easier plants to maintain. Both potted agave plants and agave plants that are propagated outdoors will require some watering, but not a lot. In fact, in the dormant winter season, the most you could water your agave plants will be once per month. To avoid the devastating crown root rot due to overwatering, or yellow dried leaves from a lack of water, use this handy rulebook for agave plant watering.

How Often Do I Need to Water My Agave Plant?

There are many different types of agave plants that have specific water intake requirements. For example, the smaller potted Blue Agave plants use succulent growing medium and, therefore, require watering once per week in summer months and once a month in the winter.

Another popular agave variety, the Fox Tail Agave or Foxtail Agave or agave attentuata, requires little supplemental water even in the summer months. If you have an irrigation system set up for your landscaping and Fox Tail Agave plants, you only need one inch of water run each month year round for this low water-use plant variety.   

An American Century Agave plant, which is also called American aloe, is one of the larger and longer growing agave plants that we have today. This variety of agave plant only needs watering in the summer months when it is growing. In the dormant season of winter, the planting soil should be completely dry before watering the plant to prevent crown root rot.

However, you won’t have to water the plant as much, since it is an outdoor variety in most cases. If you do have an American Century Agave plant in a pot indoors, then you will see an uptick in the amount of water it requires in the summer months when the plant is growing the most.

The first question to ask when determining if you need to water your agave plant, no matter what the type, is the age of the plant. A newly planted or transplanted agave plant will need more water. You should water the plant every five days for one to two months or unless you see signs of overwatering. Signs of too much water include yellowing leaves or blackening leaves near the crown.

After one to two months of initial growth, the potted agave plant will stabilize in the amount of water it needs as determined by the soil. Dry soil indicates the agave plant needs to be watered; wet soil says the plant is fine for a few more days. Taper off watering so that you are watering 50 percent less each week for the second month. Do this until you notice the soil does not stay saturated or dries out too quickly. That is when you are at the right amount of water for your agave plant at its present size.

Once your agave plant is mature, which ranges from a few months to a year, you can stop watering the plant as often. At this point, you should water the plant according to the seasons and the plant’s lifecycle. The time of the year will best determine how much water your agave plant needs to receive. In the summer months when it is the hottest, your agave plant will be producing the most energy as it attempts to flower, thus marking the end of its life. At this time, you want to be most aware of watering your agave plant, if it is in a pot. While the plant needs more water, you can easily overwater it, killing the leaves and causing crown rot to occur.

Give the potted agave plant water when the soil is dry on the surface of the potting soil. If the agave plant is growing outdoors, and the sunlight is optimal, then you will want to water the plant once a week in the summer unless it rains. If you have a rainy week, then forgo watering it that week only.

The winter months are when an agave plant needs to be wintered. This is a process involving protecting the cactus from the winter weather. The agave plant is a highly drought tolerant plant, meaning it survives just fine without the same amount of water that most flowering plants require. Additionally, agave plants do not need a lot of water in the winter. Once a month should be sufficient since the agave plant will be dormant at this stage.

Agave plants that are planted in soil that drains fast and dries slowly will grow the best with normal amounts of watering. This generally includes a soil mix of gravel, sand, and garden soil formulated for the watering needs of succulents, including agave plants. If you happen to come across a specially formulated mix just for agave plants, this is the one that you want to use for indoor or outdoor plantings. If you have an outdoor agave plant, the supplementing of the soil with a healthy succulent mix will improve the growth and drainage of the plant.

How Do I Know When My Agave Needs Water?

The easiest way to determine if your agave plant needs water is to look at and touch the soil. The dirt around the base of the succulent will tell you if the plant is dry or fine. If you see the soil is pulling loose from around the rim of the pot, this indicates the plant needs watering.

Also, if the soil appears to be dry and feels dry to the touch, then it is time to water the plant. Since this is a succulent, you should be using a planting medium or substrate that is formulated for cactus or succulent plants. This includes soil that has been amended with grit or sand to help improve drainage.

These types of plants have a root system that requires soil made to wick moisture away from the roots and plant material more rapidly. This helps to prevent root rot and crown root rot inside the agave plant around the stalk and heart of the plant. Rotting conditions will kill any size of agave plant quite rapidly, and there is no way to stop this from happening once rotting starts. Therefore, you want to avoid overwatering, which is the biggest cause of rotting for agave plants.

Yellowing leaves of agave plants are a devastating discovery, as this indicates the leaf is dying. After an agave leaf turns yellow, the end of the leaf will begin to curl. This is a solid indicator that the leaf is drying out and dying due to a lack of water. If you see yellow agave plant leaves on your agave plant, prune these by deadheading the discolored leaves.

Otherwise, these yellowing leaves will just turn brown and fall off dry and withered. You cannot reverse the yellowing of leaves due to under-watering by giving your agave plant more water than usual. Once the plant has suffered from a lack of water, all you can do is wait to see how many leaves will be lost—and start watering the plant more efficiently.

Another way to see how your agave needs water is to check the plant and its soil first thing in the morning. The plant is in its phase of waking up, just like you are, along with the sunrise. At this stage, you can see how the plant is doing with moisture. If you see the soil is dry, the best time to water the agave plant is in the morning. The sun has not yet started to steam up moisture on plants. This allows you to see the plant before evaporation starts its own natural job of watering the plant.

If you try to water the plants in the afternoon, it causes evaporation to absorb most of the water being sprayed on the agave plant. Instead of soaking in the ground, the water is lost to the air, and your plant ends up not getting adequate moisture compared to how much it would have received with morning watering. The same goes for the evening hours when the hot earth is generally steaming from the day’s activities. By watering only in the morning hours when the plants are at their coolest temperatures, you water your agave plants most sustainability for their growth and your budget.

Can You Overwater Agave?

Agave is a genus of plants that is well known for being drought-tolerant and popular among landscapers for that very reason. Homeowners and business owners want to have plants with visual impact that have very little hands-on requirements, including watering.

If the agave is overwatered, you can easily tell this by looking at the plant’s leaves. The agave leaves will start to appear swollen and lighter in hue compared to the rest of the leaves. If this happens, you may lose a leaf or two due to the swollen cellular structures inside of the leaves. Unless you cut back on watering the agave plant at this point, your plant will die from too much moisture.

Other signs that your agave plant is overwatered includes leaf edema, which is the condition of blisters on the leaf due to pitting due to too much water in plant cells. The plant will also slow its growth and be stunted in its ability to produce new leaves. If you consistently over water an agave plant, you will likely start to see signs of pests that love moisture. These include soil gnats, as well as powdery mildew that is harmful to agave plants.

What can you do if you have overwatered an agave plant? Start by removing some of the watered down soil and replacing it with dry soil. This can help to reduce the weight of water, which does have some impact on the root system. You should also move a potted agave plant that is overwatered into a sunlight location. The sun will help to heat up and evaporate, or otherwise stimulate the plant so that it starts to use the water more rapidly in a natural way. Are there any supplements or powders you can add to the soil to remove water from the agave plant?

No, but you can lower the humidity in the room where the plant lives. This along with increased ventilation will fix an overwatered plant. By reducing the humidity in a room, such as with a dehumidifier, you can protect against infections in the plant resulting from too much water. Overwatering plants leads to an anaerobic environment, and this is a situation where pathogens and airborne diseases that attack plants like to thrive.

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.