Blue Agave Plant Care: Learn Tips On Growing Agave Tequilana

The Agave Tequilana, also known as tequila cactus, Blue Agave plant, or Tequila agave (Agave tequilana), is a large succulent plant that grows with vibrant yellow flowers and spiky fleshy leaves.

This plant is native to Mexico’s states of Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit, and Aguascalientes.

Blue Agave (Agave tequilana) growing in the landscapePin

It typically reaches over 7′ feet in height and can grow an additional 16′ feet tall when they are five years old.

When mature, this monocarpic plant sends out a 15-foot high, edible asparagus-like tall flower stalk and produces large pups at its base. It also blooms once in its lifetime.

The Blue agave plant is often used in tequila production, hence the common name. The sugars from this plant are transplanted and distilled.

Agave syrup is from agave nectar that is also used as an alternative to honey.

When growing Agave Plant, it needs high altitude and lots of sun to flourish. It is only hardy in USDA zones 9b and 10.

Agave Tequilana Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Agave Tequilana
  • Common Name(s): Blue Agave, Tequila Agave, Tequila Cactus,
  • Synonyms: Agave Azul, Weber Blue Agave
  • Pronunciation: uh-GAY-vee tuh-kee-luh-na
  • Family & Origin: Asparagaceae family, native to Mexico
  • Growability: Easy to grow
  • Grow Zone: USDA zones 9-10
  • Size: Can grow up to 7′ to 16′ feet tall
  • Flowering: Rarely blooms
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Humidity: Prefers low humidity
  • Temperature: 60° to 90° degrees Fahrenheit
  • Soil: Well-draining soil, prefers rich, sandy soil
  • Water: Drought-tolerant, water only when soil is completely dry
  • Fertilizer: Fertilize with a half dose of diluted liquid fertilizer specially formulated feed for succulents and cacti
  • Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to agave snout weevils, mites, scale insects, thrips, mealybugs and can be prone to root rot if overwatered
  • Propagation: Propagate through offsets or pups that grow from the base of the plant
  • Plant Uses: Used for tequila production, ornamental plant in landscapes and gardens.

The plant can also be propagated by cuttings, leaves, offsets, or seeds. 

Related: Propagation of Agave Pups

How To Keep Blue Agave Indoors

To keep blue agave plants (or any agave) indoors in the winter, you should locate a sunny window that provides full sun or partial shade with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Moreover, do not expose this plant to prolonged temperatures of 28° degrees Fahrenheit or below. It will not do well in temperatures below 50° degrees Fahrenheit.

If you do not have a window with that much sun exposure, choose your best window and add artificial light to supplement it.

Blue agave and other large species (Agave Americana, aka century plant) can do very well as potted plants and container plants while they are small. Root crowding is not a problem for agave.

Large agave plant in a pot with verdant backdrop.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @sunsetgardensgreen

Related: Details on Growing Potted Agave Plants

As long as you provide a good, free-draining planting medium, your agave will be happy. Use either a prepared cactus or succulent mix or make your own.

Remember that you will not need to water much during the cold months. Even if your plant is warm and cozy indoors, you don’t need to encourage growth, so just water sparingly whenever the top half of the potting medium is dry.

Some sources recommend providing a diluted fertilizer treatment every couple of months during the winter, but this is unnecessary.

With a good potting medium, your plant should not need extra supplementation. Again, your goal in the winter is not to encourage plant growth, and you certainly don’t want to encourage flowering.

Other interesting Agave species include:

Grow Blue Agave From A Pup, Step-by-Step

The easiest way to grow any agave is from a pup. Here are instructions to help you get your plant started and care for it continuously.

#1 – Choose the Right Location To Grow Agave

Begin by placing your blue agave pup into a well-draining, sandy potting mix in a garden location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Its ideal temperature ranges from 60° to 90° degrees Fahrenheit. This plant also prefers relatively low humidity levels.

These plants prefer rich, sandy soil; however, almost any quality, well-drained soil or potting mix is acceptable.

Sandy or rocky soil is also great. Be sure to select a landscape location that is high enough to allow excellent drainage, as these plants cannot tolerate wet feet.

You must also take care to protect the plant from the chill. Sheltering trees or bushes that provide a wind block but do not block the sun can be helpful.

Leave plenty of space for the plant to grow to its full and imposing height and breadth.

Remember that its spears are rigid, sharp, and equipped with thorny spines (leaf tips), so place your blue agave well away from footpaths and play areas.

Also, remember that you will need to remove the remains of the mature plant after it blooms (some thirty years down the line), so don’t put it in an area that will be difficult to access and work in when that time comes.

Related: Learn about the destructive Agave Snout Weevil

#2 – Carefully Water Agave Plants!

Once you have located a good spot and planted your blue agave, keep it watered until the aerial roots become well-established.

Be sure to provide at least 1″ inch of water per week until the blue agave plant establishes.

Although agave plants are drought-tolerant, it’s still important to water deeply once a week for about four weeks. If you get substantial rain, don’t water.

Once the plant is established, water one or two times a month during the growing season, always taking natural rainfall into account.

Don’t give supplemental water in the wintertime. When watering, water the plant thoroughly and evenly, but do not overwater and leave your agave plant standing in water. This is because too much water and poor soil drainage can lead to root rot, which can kill your plant.

Wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again.

Don’t worry that your plant will be thirsty. It is far better to be underwater than over-water. All succulent plants store extra water in their green leaves, and your plant will have what it needs.

#3 – Fertilize Agaves Very Sparingly or Not At All

You can give your blue agave a half dose of diluted liquid fertilizer specially formulated feed for succulents and cacti if you wish. This really is not necessary, though.

Once established, your plant should be able to glean all the nourishment it needs from the soil.

Mulching around the plant with chopped leaves in the cooler months should help replenish nutrients in the soil and provide more nourishment for your agave if it needs it.

Remember that excessive fertilizer will spur your plant to flower, which will be your plant’s end!

Related: Details on the Flowering Agave are here.

#4 – Protect Agave Plants Against Cold

Blue Agave succulents can withstand an occasional freeze if you take extra precautions. Be sure to cover your plant with blankets before it freezes. Your cover should extend all the way to the ground to hold in the heat of the earth.

If you can surround your plant with bales of straw or bags of leaves to help hold the blankets in place, it is helpful.

If you are expecting temperatures below 28° degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period, you should dig your plant up and bring it indoors if it is small enough to do so.

It’s also important to protect your Agave blue plant from any pests or diseases, including agave snout weevils, mites, scale insects, thrips, and mealybugs.

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