Agave Houseplant Care – Growing Agave As A Houseplant



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By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

Agaveis a great addition in the landscape, soaking up the sun and adding attractivefoliage and occasional blooms to your sunny beds. However, most agaves can’tsurvive winter cold, so growing them in these areas requires bringing agaveplants indoors. For this reason, you’ll want to grow agave in containers.

Maybe it’s too much of a hassle tobring them in and out with the seasons. You might wonder if you can grow agaveas a houseplant. The answer is yes, you can, although some types may growbetter than others if kept exclusively indoors.

Growing Agave Plants Indoors

There are several typesof agaves, some with spines and some without. If you have children or petsin the household, this should be a consideration. The roots of these plantsgrow outward instead of down, so it’s best to grow potted agave in a wide,shallow container.

Locate them in a sunny area whenchoosing a spot for the potted agave. They need just the right amount of sun.These plants usually grow in a full sun location in their native habitat. But,if you’re not sure how much sun your plant was getting before it came to livewith you, acclimate it gradually to full sunlight. In between, keep it in abright light area.

Too much direct sun can sometimescause sunburn, so keep this in mind as a part of agave houseplant care. Awestern facing window is sometimes a great spot for potted agaves, depending onthe light that comes through it. Research the agave you want to grow indoorsbefore locating it inside to make sure you can provide the proper growingconditions.

Agave houseplant care includeswatering as necessary for most succulents. Water more during the spring andsummer growing seasons, letting soil dry between. Limit watering in fall andwinter. Keep the soil slightly moist during these times.

Common Types of Agave Houseplants

Century plant (Agaveamericana) is bracted instead of spined. This plant has attractive blue-greenleaves and reaches 6 to 10 feet (1.8 to 3 m.) in optimal conditions. It is monocarpic,meaning it dies after flowering, but it’s called the century plant, as it issaid to only bloom every 100 years. While it might bloom more often, it is notlikely to flower when grown as a houseplant.

Fox Tail agave (Agaveattenuata) is a larger agave, which also can reach 10 feet (3 m.) in heightand 5 feet (1.5 m.) across. Although it likes bright sunlight, it takes someshade for part of the day. Plant in a large container for indoor growing andconsider a south-facing window, as well as those looking toward the west.

Octopus agave (A.vilmoriniana) is an interesting type to grow. With arching and twistingleaves, this agave looks like a four-foot (1.2 m.) octopus. Leaf margins aresomewhat sharp, so locate the plant on a table in full sunlight, away fromlittle hands. This plant also prefers some afternoon shade after a full sunmorning.

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Succulents For Shade: Drought-Tolerant Garden Succulent Guide

Succulents are striking and unusual plants that are centerpieces of a drought-tolerant landscape.

Through thick, fleshy leaves they are able to retain water, allowing more time to pass between watering than other plants.

Ironically, though they are particularly good at conserving water, most succulents prefer sunlight.

However, we’ve found 10 shade succulents that can tolerate bright to complete shade, along with a short video demonstrating how to care for and plant any succulent in a container.

1. Agave Attenuata (Lion’s Tail, Fox Tail, Swan’s Neck Agave)

Commonly seen around Southern California and beyond, Agave attenuata are extremely easy to grow.

It is known as the Lion’s Tail, Fox Tail, or Swan’s Neck agave due to it’s curved stem, which is unusual for an agave.

Unless you intend to prune, leave space for these plants, which can grow up to 5′ tall and wide.

Rosettes can grow up to 4′ wide and mature plants can send up a 5-10′ flower stalk.

These hearty plants like both sun and shade.

2. Haworthia

Native to South Africa, Haworthia are a group of 144 listed succulents that actually prefer shade or filtered sun, with a handful of exceptions.

They vary in size (usually small), color and shape with some having attractively-patterned leaves.

Haworthia are popular for container planting, however, make sure to use deep pots as their root structure is long.

3. Sansevieria Trifasciata (Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, Snake Plant)

Sansevieria is another succulent that can take neglect as it can handle less fertile soil and infrequent watering.

In fact, too much water and cold is one of the things that can kill the plant so make sure to protect it from extensive rain or snow.

Sansevieria trifasciata is a common houseplant known for its sword-like leaves, but it grows well outdoors in shade (preferred) or sun.

A study by NASA found that it is one of the best plants for improving indoor air quality by passively absorbing toxins such as nitrogenoxides and formaldehyde.

4. Agave Bracetosa (Spider Agave, Squid Agave, Octopus Agave)

Slow-growing to 1-2′ tall and 2-3′ wide, Agave bracetosa clocks in as one of the smallest agave plants.

After about 10-15 years, the mother plant sends up a spectacular white flower spike before dying.

The young suckers below the rosette will perpetuate the plant.

Though some descriptions call for full sun, gardeners are finding that it prefers partial shade.

Agave bracetosa has no spines and can also be grown in filtered light indoors.

5. Aloe Maculata (Soap Aloe)

Soap aloe is a highly-adaptable succulent that grows natively in Southern Africa.

The species was previously known as Aloe saponaria (a name derived from sapo, the Latin word for soap) because the sap forms a soapy lather when it comes into contact with water.

Aloe maculata grows particularly well in the Southwest United States and is salt tolerant, making it a good choice for seaside succulent gardens.

When planted in the shade, the leaves turn more blue-green versus pink-red in full sun.

Plants grow approximately 18″ tall and 24″ wide with year-round, up to 36″ flower spikes.

6. Aloe Grandidentata

This aloe is much smaller than the above Soap Aloe, but they are often mistaken for each other.

Aloe grandidentata grows a cluster of rosettes about 5″ tall by 12″ wide and makes an excellent groundcover or plant to use at the base of tree trunks where shallow roots are required.

Gardeners believe that this aloe is more shade-tolerant than Aloe maculata.

7. Crassula Ovata (Jade Plant, Friendship Tree, Lucky Plant or Money Plant)

This popular plant is native to South Africa and sprouts pretty white and pink flowers around jade green, fleshy, round leaves.

Avoid extreme heat as this shade-tolerant succulent prefers light shade though it can do well in full coastal sunlight.

Crassula ovata is a popular choice for bonsai and benefits from pruning as the leaves can make the plant top-heavy.

These plants can grow to be 4-6′ tall and come in varieties that include variegated or orange leaves.

8. Sedum Ternatum (Woodland Sedum)

A pretty groundcover, this versatile sedum can grow in full sun or full shade up to 8″ tall.

It is a popular addition to container plants and zen gardens, because it is not as sensitive to moisture as other succulent groundcovers.

9. Aeonium Kiwi

This shade-tolerant succulent grows well in either partial or full shade, with margins a cream color in the shade that become pinker with increased sun exposure.

Aeonium kiwi grows slowly to about 2′ tall and wide.

It’s monocarpic, which means it will die after flowering, somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 years.

10. Agave Celsii (Agave Mitis)

Agave celsii is native to Mexico and blue-green leaves that gracefully arch upward.

Rosettes and can grow up to 2′ tall and wide.

This clumping succulent can tolerate shade or sun and humidity.

How to Plant Succulents in Containers

This video provides an excellent tutorial regarding how to plant and care for sun or shade-loving succulents in containers.

If you’ve ever wanted to sound like a pro by properly pronouncing succulent genus names, this information is also in the video!

Whether you plant them in sun or shade, succulents are an easy-care addition to any garden.


Any agave can be grown in a container, according to Horticulture magazine. Since the plant’s roots grow out, instead of down, choose a wide, shallow container in which to grow it. Large varieties, such as A. angustifolis, may require a pot as large as 36 inches in diameter. Smaller agave plants, such as A. colorata, require far less space and thus a smaller pot.

One of the best favors you can bestow on your agave is to ensure it’s being grown in a fast-draining soil. If not, the plant may experience a host of problems, including fungal infections that cause split leaves. In nature, agaves thrive in rocky soils that are quick-draining. Grow the agave in a commercial cactus or succulent mix. If you prefer to make your own potting mix, combine 1 part organic matter (such as compost or manure), to 5 parts inorganic matter, such a coarse sand or grit.


2. Watering

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Many succulent plants are not easy to overwater neither are they easy to underwater but some exceptions do exist and agave attenuata is one that could sustain itself through periods of severe dryness hence is a very exceptional plant though none could exist without any water forever.

A good watering cycle in a hot climate keeping it to once a week or more often if the plant is exposed to the full Sun everyday and is kept in a clay pot would need to have its share of adequate water and hardly any in winter.


Benefits of Growing the Majestic Century Plant

Apart from making your landscape stand out, the century plant is edible.

  • Bake the leaves or roast the flower stalks to get a fibrous meal.
  • Ground the seeds to get flour used for thickening soups or baking bread.
  • Tap and ferment the sap from the flower stalks to make pulque agave wine.

You get beauty, food, and wine from one plant. What more could a gardener ask for?

Looking for more gardening tips? We update our Gardening Channel blog to keep you updated on the latest trends and best practices of gardening.

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Patrick says


Watch the video: 7 Water propagation mistakes you should avoid. Indoor gardening. Plant care


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