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Agave americana

Century plant

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Key information

Plant type

Tender perennial

Flower colour



Dramatic foliage



Skill level


photo by Charles Hawes, copyright GAP Photos (161540)

Plant details

The Century Plant, as it is sometimes known, eventually forms an enormous rosette of stiff, dangerously pointed leaves. It is a succulent border perennial that does not develop permanent woody stems, and is regarded by many as an indoor or seasonal plant for growing outdoors in summer. Plants only flower when sufficiently large, usually about 30-40 years old, after which the main plant dies, leaving young offsets as successors. Plants need warm sunny positions, protected from winter wet, and in many gardens are best grown in containers. Plants become more tolerant of cold temperatures as they grow larger.

Family: Agavaceae

Genus: Agave

Species: americana

Plant type: Tender perennial

Flower colour: Green

Foliage colour: Blue-green

Feature: Dramatic foliage

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light, Dry, Sandy

Hardiness: Tender

Skill level: Experienced

Reader reviews


Temperature wise, Agave americana do fine in the UK. Rain wise, they do badly. So you need well draining soil (70-90% grit to compost). It is worth putting in a sheltered spot (under trees, greenhouse, carport) over winter, the key is to keep the soil dry. When large-at 30 years they are 8ft by 8ft-then they are hardy to keep outside over winter with well draining soil all around the Agave.

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