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Growing Agave PDF Print E-mail

Agave Succulents

Agave succulents are native America and are tough plants. They form rosettes of elongated leaves which may or may not have serrated margins but are usually tipped with a spine spine. Many of the leaves are an attractive blue/green colour and some are marginated with cream, white or yellow.

Agave victoriae reginae

Many are unsuitable as house plants due to their final size which can be over 3 feet in diameter but some are ideal candidates such as this Agave victoriae reginae which has beautifully marked leaves reaching around 6 inches long.
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Growing Requirements

Temperature

In cultivation the daytime summer temperature should be kept between 20C - 30C and can be allowed to fall to 12C - 15C at night and 12C - 18C during the winter day and not less then 5C during the winter night although some are hardy in sheltered parts of the UK.

The best way to keep during the summer is to grow them outside from May through September and place them in a sunny spot where they get maximum sunlight. From September through May they should be moved to a south facing window.

The Agave plants come in a range of leaf colours from bright grassy green like this Agave bracteosa through blue/greens with variegated forms being very popular.
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Agave bracteosa

Pot Type

Agave plants are best grown in a terracotta type pot which should have at least one drainage hole in the base and it should be unglazed. This type of pot allows good drainage and allows the compost (therefor roots) to breath. Compost

Agave prefer an rich and very free draining compost which should consist of:

  • 1 part John Innes no. 1 compost
  • 2 part peat or coir based compost
  • 1 part sharp sand or grit
  • 1/4 part broken crock pieces (small)

Watering

The plants should be kept almost dry during the winter months, only water them to prevent the roots from completely drying out, once a month should be fine.

Agave filifera

From March onwards the plant will begin to grow and watering should be increased gradually until late May when the plant should be in full growth. As the compost is very free draining and the pot used is porous you can safely water this type of cactus at least once a week during the summer so long as the plant pot is allowed to drain and not sit in a tray of water.

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During hot weather you may need to water the plants once a day so long as the plant is actively growing. From late September watering should be reduced to force the plant to go in to a state of semi dormancy, by November you should be back in to the winter watering regime.

Lighting

Grow agave in bright sun during the summer and winter to avoid lush weak growth, strong sunlight will encourage the full colours of the leaves to develop.

Feeding

Agave like plenty of food so half strength general purpose fertilizer should be used at watering time from May onwards twice a month. Do not feed the plants from September onwards as this can cause lush growth which can be fatal during the darker cold months.

Repotting

Repotting should be done every other year or every three years, annual potting is not necessary. Remove the plant from its pot by wrapping the rosette in newspaper and tying it to prevent yourself from being stabbed. Carefully tap it out of the pot and remove the old compost to examine the roots, if any are damaged or showing signs of rotting they should be removed as close to the plant as possible.Re plant it using the same mix of compost as it was originally in (fresh) and use a pot just slightly wider then the width of the plant. Do not be tempted to over pot as this will cause the unused compost to go stagnant and you may lose the plant.

Propagation

See propagation section for seed sowing and cuttings.



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