Agave Americana (Ah-GAH-vee)
American century plant, Century plant
Agavaceae (Century-Plant Family)
Evergreen Accent - Sun
Habit: Very large, handsome evergreen lily-like blue-green foliage. Xeric qualities and a stunning bloom stalk with maturity at ten years or more. Makes a handsome landscape focal point or accent and can be used in pots away from foot traffic. Best in full sun, but can take light shade. Winter damage occurs after low winter teen temperatures and is persistent on leaf surfaces until it recovers. Foliage is green to blue-green color with interesting pattern on back side. Yellow blooms in June - July but doesn’t happen often. The bloom spike height ranges from 12-25 feet. Bloom time trigger mechanism is not well understood, but this agave generally blooms at about 10 years of age.
Culture: Dry, well-drained soil is the best situation but can tolerate sand, sandy loam, medium loam, clay loam, clay, rocky soil. American century plant is large beautiful agave with sharp leaf tip spines. It is prominent in the landscape and best used in mass or as focal point. It also does well in pot (large) culture. It benefits from some extra moisture in very dry conditions, but is very tolerant of heat and xeric conditions. It can take light shade better than some other agaves. But should be protected from teen winter temperatures to avoid damage. Heat tolerant. Lower leaves can look messy. Removal of old lower leaves or dead plants can be difficult due to size and leaf tip spines. Hardy to 12 degrees or lower in an organic program.
Uses: Specimen for dramatic look and texture change. Showy growth habit, Blooms ornamental, Accent shrub, nectar for hummingbirds, insects, Seeds for birds, and small mammals, protective habitat plant for birds and small animals.
Problems: Coarse texture, sharp spines, hard to work around, dangerous. The sharp pointed spines on leaf tip can be a hazard to humans and pets if plant is not placed in landscape with care away from foot traffic.
Photo credit: Ben Laseter
Photo credit: Adam Velte