Growing Century Plants: How To Care For Agave Americana

This succulent plant Agave Americana is a popular choice for home gardens as it is relatively easy to care for. It is also referred to as a Century plant.

Native to Mexico and Central America, the Agave Americana can grow up to 6′ to 9′ feet tall and wide. 

Growing Agave AmericanaPin

Its blue-green leaves are edged with sharp spines, and its flowers are yellow or greenish-yellow.

The Agave Americana is a hardy plant and can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions.

It prefers full sun but will also do well in partial shade. It is also drought-tolerant and does not require much water once established.

The Agave Americana is also relatively pest- and disease-free.

If you are looking for a succulent that will live a long time and can add a touch of the exotic to your home garden, the Agave Americana is a great choice.

Quick Facts On Agave Americana Plant Care

  • Family:  Asparagaceae
  • Light: Full sun
  • Temperature: 40° to 50° degrees Fahrenheit in winter
  • Water: Generous water in spring and summer. Water is barely needed in winter
  • Fertilize: Feed bi-weekly from April to September
  • Propagation: Use off-sets
  • Common Problems: Scale insects, frost from winter, spider mites, brown spots on leaves

Agave Americana Plant Care

How Big Do Century Plants Plants Grow?

If you plan to cultivate these plants, make sure you have plenty of room for them.

The blue-green leaves of Agave Americana can grow up to 6′ to 9′ feet tall and wide.

The Century Plant is a perennial, meaning it lives for more than 2 years.

It generally blooms once in its lifetime, usually after about 10 to 20 years, hence its other name, the “Maturescent Plant.”

When Does Agave Americana Flower? Are The Flowers Fragrant?

You will find the flowers on a spandix, which is a stalk that can grow up to 40′ feet tall. 

The spandix emerges from the center of the plant and bears yellow or greenish-yellow flowers.

The flowers are not particularly fragrant, but they are very attractive to bees, which helps with pollination.

Unfortunately, the bloom makes the beginning of the end for your plant, as it uses up all the plant’s energy.

The Century Plant will die after blooming, but it will leave behind offsets, or “pups,” that you can propagate to keep the plant going.

What Are The Lighting Needs And Temperature Requirements?

Like many succulent plants, the Agave Americana prefers full sun but will also do well in partial shade.

Unfortunately, it is not frost-tolerant, so if you live in an area with cold winters, you need to bring your plant indoors or grow it in a greenhouse.

The ideal temperature range for this plant is 40° to 50° degrees Fahrenheit in winter. 

However, feel free to leave it outside all summer.

How And When To Water And Fertilize Agave Americana?

The Agave Americana is a drought-tolerant plant and does not require much water once established.

However, when you are first getting your plant established, you will need to water it generously.

Once your plant is established, water it deeply about once a week or more in spring and summer.

Water the plant only enough to keep the leaves from shriveling in winter.

Fertilize your plant bi-weekly from April to September with a succulent fertilizer.

What Is The Best Soil For A Century Plant And When Should You Transplant?

This stunning large plant comes with a weak root system, so be sure to supply it with light and porous soil.

Clay, sand, and gravel are perfect for the Agave Americana. You can also use a cactus mix or a mixture of one part peat moss to one part perlite.

The best time to transplant your Agave is in spring, when the weather is warm.

Does The Agave Americana Need Special Grooming Or Maintenance?

You should always know how big your plant will grow, so make sure you have enough room for it.

Once it reaches its full size, you will not need to do much grooming or maintenance.

If you have little kids or animals, you can play it safe and trim the sharp tips of the leaves.

Be aware of winter prep if you live in an area with cold winters. This plant is not frost-tolerant, so you will need to bring it indoors during that time.

You may want to deadhead the flowers as they start to wilt so that your plant can put its energy into producing offsets rather than flowers.

To deadhead, simply cut the stem back to the rosette of leaves.

How To Propagate Agave Americana?

The best way to propagate your Agave Americana is by offsets, or “pups.” These are small plants that sprout up around the base of the parent plant.

You can also propagate by seed, but it is a slow and challenging process. The seeds are tiny and need to be kept moist. They also require special lighting and temperature conditions. If you are up for the challenge, start your seeds in spring.

If you want to take the easy route, go with offsets. You can remove them from the parent plant anytime, but fall is the best time to do it.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Simply cut it from the parent plant with a sharp knife to remove an offset.
  • Make sure to leave a few inches of stem attached.
  • Once you have removed the offset, allowing it to be callous over for a few days.
  • Then, pot it up in well-draining soil and water deeply.
  • Like the main plant, bring any offsets inside before winter sets in.

Century Plant Pests And Diseases

Your plant may deal with a fungus attack if you don’t stop feeding it time before bringing it in for winter.

The easiest way to get rid of fungus is by using a fungicide.

Mealybugs, spider mites, and scale can all become problems for your Agave Americana.

These pests are attracted to stressed or weak plants, so make sure your plant is healthy and happy.

If you see any pests on your plant, you can remove them by hand, or with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. You can also use insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Once your plant is pest-free, take steps to prevent further infestations. These include keeping the area around your plant clean and removing any dead leaves or stems.

You should also quarantine any new plants before adding them to your collection.

Is The Agave Americana Plant Considered Toxic or Poisonous To People, Kids, And Pets?

The Agave Americana is not considered toxic to people or pets. However, the sap from the plant can be an irritant.

If you get the sap on your skin, wash it off immediately. If you get it in your eyes, flush them out with water for 15 minutes.

Is The Century Plant Considered Invasive?

The Agave Americana is not considered invasive. However, it can spread quickly if it’s not properly cared for.

To prevent your plant from spreading, make sure to deadhead the flowers as they start to wilt.

You can also remove offsets from the parent plant and pot them separately.