Agave Plant Care And Growing Guide (Updated 2022)

Agave plants generally are succulents with large leaves that end in spiny tips. The agave genus contains a wide range of species. To 10 feet or more in height and width, large, stiff specimens can get very big. The plant is perennial and tolerant of drought, making it the perfect choice for an established arid garden.

Generally speaking, spring or early fall are the best times to plant this slow-growing succulent. Although they are adaptable and can be grown outside of their zones in pots with winter protection, agaves do best in southwestern and Mediterranean climates. If you want to know Agave plant care and growing guide, you are in the right place. This post introduces tips and key points on planting Agave. Keep reading!

What Is Agave?

Generally known for their fleshy leaves with spiny tips, agave plants (Agave spp.) are slow-growers in the Agavaceae family. Agave plants are indigenous to the desert regions of South America, Central America, Mexico, and some regions of the Southwest of the United States.

Within the genus, there are many agave plants, the tallest of which can reach heights of over ten feet. The bell-shaped flowers of agave plants can be white or yellow, and their leaves can range in color from blue-gray to blue-green. The plants typically die after the flowers produce berry seed pods, even though they can take many years to reach maturity.

Pros And Cons Of Agave


  • Agaves provide drama, structure, texture, and color
  • They can be grown in the ground or in a container
  • Can go long stretches without water
  • Considered fire-retardant


  • Most agaves have sharp thorns or prickly-edged leaves (not great for kids or pets)
  • Limited to warmer zones (8-10), unless grown in containers and given winter protection
  • Prone to rotting — can be caused by debris in the rosette or overwatering

Different Types Of Agave

There is a plant for every gardener’s preference among the 200 or so agave species that make up the genus.

  1. 1. Century plant (Agave americana): This cultivar, also referred to as a maguey in Mexico, has blue-gray leaves with long terminal spines and saw-toothed spines along the edges. When fully grown, the flower stalks from these plants can grow up to 15 feet tall and be green or yellow.
  2. 2. Artichoke agave (Agave parryi var. truncata): The sharp, dark spines on the tips of its cold-tolerant evergreen’s blue or green leaves. These plants hardly ever bloom, but some of them do so with 15-foot flowering spikes covered in clusters of yellow flowers.
  3. 3. Blue agave (Agave tequilana): This large cultivar, which can grow to over 6 feet in height and is also known as Weber’s blue agave or tequila agave, blooms with bright yellow flowers after about 7 years. This plant is well-known for producing agave nectar, the primary component of tequila.
  4. 4. Queen Victoria agave (Agave victoriae-reginae): The Queen Victoria agave plant, which is smaller than most agave plants, matures at a height of about one foot and begins to bloom 20 to 30 years after it first starts. It’s large, distinctively curved leaves give it a dome-like appearance, and its flowers range in color from cream to reddish-purple.

How To Grow Agave?

If you plant the right variety in the right spot, growing agave is simple. Agaves require direct sunlight and loose, permeable soil. Even when potted, they can flourish if you use a clay pot without a glaze so that any extra moisture can evaporate. Depending on the season’s heat, plants only need moderate to light amounts of water, but before irrigation, the plants should be given time to dry out. They gain from the application of a granulated time-release fertilizer in the spring because it will supply the season’s nutritional requirements. Many agave species will wither after blooming and then send out pups or offshoots from their base to replace themselves. It is wise to get long-handled pruners and remove the spent bloom from varieties where the parent plant doesn’t die after flowering. Neglect is actually the key to agave growth and the production of content plants after establishment.

How To Plant Agave Plants Outdoors?

The ideal seasons for agave outdoor planting are spring or early fall. You can add agave to your garden by following these steps.

  • 1. Make space in your garden. Create a hole that is rough twice as wide as the plant’s container. Due to the shallow root systems of these succulent plants, the hole shouldn’t be deeper than the container.
  • 2. Plant in well-draining cactus soil. Cactus soil should be added to the hole’s bottom. After the new plant has been taken out of its container, gently separate its roots before putting it into the hole. Add additional cactus soil to the sides.
  • 3. Water the agave plant to stimulate the roots. After placing the plant, give the roots a gentle watering. For the first week, water the plant every five days.

How To Care For Agave?

The striking foliage of agaves is what draws growers. Because it is monocarpic, it will only ever bloom once. All you need is one substantial agave plant to create a sculpture-like garden focal point. So that nobody unintentionally brushes up against the spiny tips, make sure there is enough space to walk around it. Additionally, agaves can create a lovely border grouping and offer other plants a textural contrast. They can be softened by combining them with decorative grasses. Additionally, small agave species are great for container gardening indoors.

Neglect is beneficial to agaves. The key is to make sure they have sunlight and soil that drains well. They require very little additional care from you when grown in an environment they enjoy, but keep an eye on their development nonetheless. Agave spreads quickly can quickly engulf an entire garden and is challenging to get rid of.

Pull out pups or young offshoots of agave plants as soon as you see them prevent their spread. When they’re small, you can remove them with a hand shovel. Pups can be planted in different places. A full-sized shovel will be necessary to dig deeper into the ground to remove well-established plants. A few mature agave plants have rhizome root systems that can reach deep depths of several feet.


Full sun, which is defined as receiving at least six hours of direct sunlight on most days, is what agave plants prefer. But they can stand a little shade. They can tolerate more shade as the temperature rises.


Agave plants in their mature state are very drought resistant. Generally speaking, you should only water them if the soil is completely dry and there has been a prolonged period of no rain. However, for the first month after a plant has been established, water it every four to five days. Once a week at first, then every other week as needed, depending on rainfall is the recommended watering schedule.


However, rocky or sandy soil is preferred by agave plants, which can tolerate any well-draining soil. Root rot brought on by poor soil drainage can kill a plant. Additionally, they prefer a neutral to slightly acidic soil pH.

Temperature And Humidity

Most agave plants cannot withstand frost and can only be grown as far north as USDA growing zones 8 or 9. But there are some, such as Agave parryi, that are reliably perennial to zone 5. Additionally, the majority of agaves favor a dry climate. Crown rot on the plant may result from high humidity.


Agave plants typically don’t require feeding. As most agave plants die after flowering, feeding promotes flowering, which you don’t want to happen too soon.

How To Propagate Agave?

Pups, or tiny new plants, are produced by mature agave plants all around their base. From these pups, they can be multiplied. This prevents the mature plant from being overrun by young plants, in addition to being a cheap way to acquire new plants. Generally speaking, the pups can be multiplied whenever they are ready, but it is best to wait until they are a few inches in diameter. Here’s how:

  1. Find the root tying the pup to the parent plant by loosening the soil around it. With a sharp trowel, cut that root, taking care not to cut any roots coming from the pup itself.
  2. Remove the pup carefully, preserving as many of its roots as you can.
  3. For a few days, keep the pup in a shaded, well-ventilated area so the root you cut can develop a callus.
  4. The succulent potting mix should be used to plant the pup in a small container with drainage holes. Place the container in a bright, warm location after lightly moistening the soil.
  5. When the top inch of soil becomes dry, keep watering, but avoid soaking the ground. The puppy ought to be prepared to move outside in a few weeks if you like.

How To Pot And Repot Agave?

Many agave species have shallow roots, like many succulent plants. As a result, you can grow them in a shallow container because they don’t require a lot of soil. Just make sure the container is strong enough to support the weight of the plant. It is best to use an unglazed clay pot because it will let excess soil moisture escape through its walls. Ample drainage holes should be present in the container as well.

Use a potting mixture designed for succulents that drain well. About once a week in the summer and once a month in the winter, water the container. Before watering, allow the soil to dry several inches down.

As your agave plant grows older, anticipate needing to repot it every couple of years. Spring or summer is the ideal season to carry out this task. Use new potting soil and a slightly bigger container. When the plant reaches maturity, you can keep it in the same pot, but you should aim to replace the potting soil every few years.

Common Pests Of Agave

However, rocky or sandy soil is preferred by agave plants, which can tolerate any well-draining soil. Root rot brought on by poor soil drainage can kill a plant. Additionally, they prefer a neutral to slightly acidic soil pH.

Pests and diseases generally pose very few threats to agaves. However, the agave snout weevil can tunnel into a plant’s center to lay its eggs, which will eventually cause the plant to collapse3. Regrettably, you probably won’t realize this until it’s too late to save the plant. Therefore, get rid of the plant to stop the pests from spreading to any additional agave plants you might have.

Common Problems With Agave

Agaves are generally trouble-free when grown in the right environments. But certain environmental problems can make a plant struggle.

Drooping Leaves

A sign of the agave snout weevil could be drooping leaves. However, they may also result from improper watering. The roots may rot as a result of excessive moisture. In turn, the leaves won’t be able to absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil, causing them to droop. A few inches of soil should dry out in the top few between waterings, so make sure you do this.

Leaves Turning Yellow

Yellowing leaves on agave plants are frequently caused by overwatering. Insufficient sunlight can also result in yellow leaves, which makes the plant lose its vitality. Throughout the day, keep an eye on your plant to make sure it is not being shaded for extended periods of time. If so, think about moving it to a brighter area.

Read More: How To Plant Basil?


Do agaves flower?

Agaves are primarily valued for their astounding leaf design, but they do eventually flower. This marks the end of the plant’s life cycle when it leaves behind a dazzling display of a tall spike or a massive, tree-like stalk with branched stalks. The mother plant dies off after the completion of the soaring spires bristling with tubular blossoms. However, new pups begin to form either before or after flowering, depending on the species and can be removed and placed in separate containers.

Are agave and aloe vera the same thing?

Aloe and agave have similar appearances, thrive in hot, dry climates, and are drought-tolerant succulents. They are from different plant families and geographically distinct regions of the world, though. Agave and aloe are indigenous to the Americas and Africa, respectively. While aloe has serrated, non-sharp leaves, agaves have larger, sharper spines on their leaves.

How simple is it to maintain agave?

Agave plants are simple to care for as long as they are grown in ideal circumstances. They are resilient and require little upkeep.

How quickly does agave grow?

Agave plants typically grow slowly and take years to reach maturity.

How often do agave plants need to be watered?

Agaves can withstand droughts very well. Depending on the amount of rain and the amount of sun they receive, they only typically require watering every two to four weeks.