Agave americana     
Century plant   
Agavaceae Family     

Compiled by the Master Gardeners
of the University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension.


Form: thick, massive succulent with pointed leaves forming basal rosette; offset plants at base
Seasonality: evergreen; dies after blooming
Size: 5-7ft high, spread to 8-12ft
Leaves: large thick points, blueish, sharp stout tip, toothed margin, teeth curve downward and show an attractive pattern on back of leaves
Flowers: large asparagus-like stalk emerging from center of plant, 15 to 30ft tall, yellow flowers emerge from terminal end on a horizontal branching structure up to 6ft across; flowers when 10 or more years old, exact triggering mechanism is not well understood
Fruit: flat disk seed enclosed in capsule
Stems/Trunks: n/a
Agave plants in bloom
mature Agave americana specimens,
stalks at full height with blooms on branches just beginning to open
Range/Origin: Mexican highlands
Hardiness: low teens; cold damage is persistent and unattractive




more cold hardy than Agave vilmoriniana
more bluish overall than other Agave sp. juices are acidic and can burn
susceptible to Agape weevil, especially when weakened
when digging offshoots, get the large yellow root

var. 'Marginata' has a narrower blade and yellow stripes along leaf margins (both edges)
'Medica picta' has a white stripe down the center of the leaf blade

close up of leaf edge blade close-up
   margin detail
Agave americana plants close-up of emerging leaf blade,
note impressions of teeth left in
the underside of the adjacent blade
also note attractive
horizontal bands of color
handsome grouping of Agave americana

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This page was first created July 6, 2001 and last modified February 11, 2006.

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