The Agave, ideal plant for garden

The agave is a succulent plant

The Agave They are wonderful plants: very resistant to salinity, frost, drought ... They are ideal both to have in pot and in the ground, since there are different sizes, with or without thorns, with a tendency to take out suckers or not, ... No place to doubts, they will serve to decorate any corner in exchange for practically nothing.

Do you want to meet them?

Origin and characteristics of Agave

It is a genus of plants native to America, both from the north and south, known by the common names of agave, maguey, mezcal or cabuya. Currently, due to the appearance of new crosses, hybrids and so on, all species are slightly different. However, they all have the following in common: their leaves grow in rosettes from the growth guide, which is located in the center of the plant. These leaves can be more or less large, more or less serrated, and there are some species that have thorns at their tips.

There are slow-growing ones, such as Agave potatorum, or fast growing like the American agave which is characterized by having long, bluish-glaucous leaves. Unfortunately, they all bloom only once in a lifetime. The flowers arise from a stem that can be quite long (1 meter or more), and when they dry, numerous fruits fall to the ground.

Although the seeds are viable, they only germinate if they find some moisture as soon as possible, since their viability period is short. For this reason, these plants also produce many suckers before dying, since in this way the offspring is ensured, and incidentally the survival of the species.

Types of agave for garden or terrace

The gender, AgaveIt is made up of more than 300 species, but not all of them are recommended to have in a garden or on a terrace. Either because they grow too fast and / or because they have invasive potential, you have to choose very well those to buy. Take a look at the ones we advise you:

Agave attenuata

View of the Agave attenuata

Image - Wikimedia / H. Zell

El Agave attenuata is a plant known as swan neck or dragon agave that grows between 50 and 150 centimeters tall. The leaves are green and do not have thorns. The inflorescence is between 2,5 and 3 meters high, and its flowers are greenish-yellow.

It has to be put in a sunny area. The climate must be warm or, at the most, that the temperature does not drop below zero degrees.

Lechuguilla agave

The Agave lechuguilla is a medium succulent

El Lechuguilla agave is a species that grows to 45 inches tall. The leaves are leathery and rigid, with pointed tips. The floral stem is up to 4 meters high, and its flowers are yellow.

Ideal for growing in arid or semi-arid regions, with minimum temperatures down to -3ºC.

Agave potatorum

Agave potatorum is a slow growing succulent

El Agave potatorum It is a kind of plant that reaches 50 centimeters in height. Its leaves are spatula-shaped, and its margins are armed with thorns. The scape or floral stem reaches 2 to 5 meters, and its flowers are green and yellow.

Its growth rate is somewhat slower than that of other maguey species, which is why it is interesting to grow it in a pot during its youth. It resists weak and occasional frosts down to -3ºC.

agave tight

The Agave stricta is a very beautiful plant

El agave tight is a plant that grows about 50 centimeters tall. The leaves are very thin and spiny, of a beautiful green, bluish-green or reddish color. When it blooms, it produces a long flower stalk 2 meters high, with reddish-purple flowers.

It does not support frost.

agave vivipara

El agave vivipara is a plant that it has a very short and thin trunk that reaches a height of up to 1,20 meters. Its leaves are green or variegated that end in a sharp point. The flower stalk is 3 to 5 meters long, and greenish-yellow flowers sprout from it.

It has to be put in a sunny area, with a substrate or soil that drains the water quickly. It supports the cold, but frost can harm it if it is not protected.

What uses are they given?

Maguey are plants that have numerous uses, both inside and outside the countries where they originate. Although it is true that in Europe they are used mostly as garden plants, the reality is that of many species some of its parts can be used.

For example, agave syrup is well known, also known as agave mead. This is used as a stimulant of the digestive system, thus improving its resistance against the causes of intestinal diseases.

Another use that is given is material, that is to say, with the fibers of the leaves you can make fabrics for hammocks or fabrics; with the dry leaves tiles are made; and the thorns are used to make keys, needles or punches. The flower stalk is used to make musical instruments, such as aerophones or drums.


Agaves are plants with many uses

The care they need is minimal, but they will be different if we have it in a pot, or in the garden.


  • Flower pot: It will grow best in clay pots, but we can have it in plastic pots.
  • Location: full sun.
  • Substratum: adapts to various types of substrates. We can use black peat alone, or mixed with some type of drainage material.
  • Irrigation: it will depend on the pot we have chosen and the climate. Generally, weekly waterings will be necessary in summer and every 15-20 days the rest of the year.
  • Fertilizer: from March to October with a fertilizer for cacti and other succulents, following the manufacturer's recommendations.

In the garden

  • Location: full sun. It can adapt to semi-shade, but it may not develop properly.
  • Earth: light and porous. It should not get flooded.
  • Irrigation: During the first year you may need periodic watering, in order to develop a strong root system. From the second year on, you will be able to live with hardly any care, except if we live in a very dry climate, then you will continue to need periodic watering.

They do not usually have pest or disease problems. Mealybugs may be, but they are quickly removed, either by spraying the plant with water and a little soap, or by removing them by hand.

Do you dare to have one in your home?

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  1.   Oscar Andres Garcia said

    Good morning, I love Agaves and I live in Bahia Blanca, Argentina and there are not so many varieties of these plants, thank you for inviting me to leave a comment.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Thanks for commenting, Oscar 🙂