Twin Flower Agave: Growing and Care Of Agave Geminiflora

Agave geminiflora is a somewhat rare agave plant species which hails from a very limited area north of Ocotillo, Mexico, in the state of Nayarit.

This interesting dwarf agave in its native habitat grows in oak woodlands, and sparsely amid the grasses on rocky ground or in rocky arroyos in this area.

The climate in Nayarit is quite mild and the area experiences about 40″ inches of rainfall during the summer, autumn, and winter. The springtime is dry.

Twin Flowered Century plant (geminiflora)
Raffi Kojian [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Agave geminiflora (a-GAH-vee jem-in-ih-FLOR-uh) is a herbaceous perennial and member of the family Asparagaceae and the subfamily Agavoideae.

It is also known as Agave angustissima and Agave Palito.

The plant’s genus name is derived from the Greek, agauos, which means noble or admirable and probably refers to the fact that the flower spikes of this and many other types of agave are very tall.

The species name, geminiflora, is Latin and means twin flowered. A reference to the fact that the flowers grow in pairs.

Two common names include:

  • Twin Flowered Century plant
  • Spaghetti Strap Agave
  • Pin Cushion Agave

One variation sports interesting white filaments along the leaves is called Rasta Man.

Agave Geminiflora Care

Size and Growth

This herbaceous perennial has a rosette basal growth habit and forms a single flower stalk when it matures.

The plant is slow-growing, and the rosettes top out at about 2′ feet high with a spread of about 3′ feet.

The stiff, straight leaves numbering 100-200 are sharp and the terminal spines can be a hazard.

Flowering and Fragrance

Mature plants form very tall flower stalks.

The impressive, branchless, on beautiful erect flower spike may stand 8′ to 12′ feet high emerging from the center of the plant.

The flower colors are greenish yellow with a reddish or purple blush. The flowers grow in pairs on either side of a tall, straight unbranched spike.

This type of agave is monocarpic, meaning that after the plant blooms, it dies.

Plants kept indoors will probably never bloom, but outdoor plants will eventually bloom when they reach maturity.

It takes 10 to 15 years for these plants to mature.

Foliage

The twin-flowered agave has multiple very fine textured, narrow, pointed dark green leaves.

These leaves grow from the plant center creating a symmetrical, rounded, dense rosette.

When growing in full sun, the leaves are quite stiff and straight. If the plant is grown in shadier conditions, they tend to be softer.

Either way, these leaves are like those on Agave attenuata are quite harmless and will not hurt if you touch them.

The leaves vary in color from light green to grayish green depending on the amount of sun the plant receives.

Some varieties such as Rasta Man produce hair-like filaments along the margins.

When the plant blooms, the leaves may become more coarse in texture.

Light and Temperature

This plant type of agave does well in a wide range of light exposures from filtered light shade to full sun.

It can even tolerate almost total and partial shade.

Twin Flowered Agave is sensitive to frost and will be injured at temperatures lower than 25° degrees Fahrenheit.

When the plant has been injured by cold, the foliage takes on a reddish hue.

This can happen because of a sudden frost or occur over time when nighttime temperatures dip below 40° degrees Fahrenheit on a regular basis.

Generally speaking, this plant is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11.

Watering and Feeding

This plant does well with a dry to medium watering schedule.

Irrigate semi-regularly throughout the summer for the healthiest appearance.

Plants do not need watering during the autumn, winter or springtime.

Although this plant is drought tolerant, it grows best with:

  • Even moisture throughout the growing season
  • Sharply reduced moisture during the off seasons

Soil and Transplanting

Pincushion Agave does well in almost any soil type, but it thrives in very sandy, gritty soil that drains well.

Grooming and Maintenance

This is a carefree agave. No maintenance or grooming are necessary.

However, after flowering, you can remove the flower stalk and collect the seeds.

Look carefully to see if your plant may have produced an offset to take its place after blooming.

How to Propagate Geminiflora Twin Flower

These plants are difficult to propagate. You may need to purchase a new plant if your plant blooms and expires.

Try following standard cactus seed germination instructions to grow the seeds.

Every once in a while, the parent plant will produce an offshoot, but this is actually quite unusual.

Geminiflora Main Pest or Disease Problems

This plant is not typically plagued with diseases or pests.

Because it is an agave, attacks by the Agave weevil could be problematic.

In moist condition, snails and slugs might chew on the foliage.

Likewise excessive watering can cause root rot and other fungus related problems.

Is The Geminiflora Agave Toxic To People, Children or Pets?

Agave plants can be somewhat toxic to cats.

Because this type of agave has long, slim, rather tempting leaves, be careful to keep your cats away from it.

Ingestion and contact can cause skin rashes and irritation, vomiting and diarrhea.

The reason?  Agaves of all sorts contain oxalates. These are needle sharp, irritating crystals.

Is This Agave Invasive?

This plant is rather finicky, quite slow-growing and difficult to propagate so it is not invasive.

Pincushion Agave Uses

The pin cushion Agave makes an interesting selection in a rock garden, succulent garden or cactus garden.

In areas where the plant is hardy in the wintertime, plant the small specimen plant outdoors or as a tropical accent.

As a landscape plant, these make a handsome addition planted on their own or in interesting groupings of three or more.

When planting in a group, be sure to leave about 4′ – 5′ feet between each plant.

These agaves also make good winter interest plants.

If you’re not able to keep pincushion geminiflora outdoors during the winter, keep it indoors as a container plant.

You can also keep this interesting agave as a houseplant all year round.

Geminiflora agave is a very nice looking small plant that can work very well in containers in small spaces.

When kept as a container plant, do not over pot.

Just use a container that is barely larger than the rosette. Pot with standard cactus or succulent potting mix.

When keeping your pin cuchion agaive indoors in the winter, be sure to keep it in a bright, sunny location and remember not to water!

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