Here’s what you’ll need to start Agave plants from seed:
- Shallow planting containers or pots and drip trays
- Sterilized seed starting mix
- Plastic wrap or plastic bags
- Collecting Agave Seeds
- Dragon Fruit Pests and Diseases
Collecting Agave Seeds
When collecting seed pods, select pods from a healthy, mature agave. Look for black, flat seeds. Avoid discolored or misshapen seeds. Also, choosing an agave species suited for your climate and growing conditions is important.
Step #1 – Prepare The Growing Container
If you are planting in used containers, wash them thoroughly and allow them to dry in the sun for a day or two before using them.
Remember that containers must be well-draining. Add holes to the bottom as needed before planting.
Step #2 –Prepare the Starting Medium
Prepare your seed starting medium using a 50-50 mix of sharp sand, pumice or perlite, vermiculite, sphagnum moss, or coco coir. You can also use organic potting soil or cactus soil if needed.
To sterilize the soil mix, bake it at 350° degrees Fahrenheit for half an hour. If you prefer, you can use a commercially prepared, sterilized seed starting mix.
Remember that the soil needs to drain well, as poor drainage can result in root rot. This can cause the plants to die.
Step #3 – Fill Containers
Fill your planting containers with your sterilized mix.
Step #4 – Sow Agave Seeds
Scatter the seeds over the surface of the potting mix and either leave them exposed entirely or sprinkle a little-sterilized sand over them to anchor them in place.
Don’t cover the seed deeply because most agave seeds need sunlight to germinate.
Also, remember that the germination period of seeds may vary depending on the species of Agave.
Step #5 – Fill Drip Trays
Fill your drip trays with warm, distilled, or sterilized water and set the planting containers in the water. When the top of the soil is moist, remove the containers from the drip trays and allow them to drain.
TIP: To sterilize tap water for your seeds, first allow it to sit out for 24 hours so that chemicals will dissipate.
Next, bring the water to a full rolling boil and boil it for 5 minutes. Allow it to cool thoroughly, and pour it from the boiling pot into a clean container from about three feet to help aerate the water.
Step #6 – Cover With A Plastic Bag
Once the excess moisture has been drained from your planting containers, cover them with plastic wrap or seal each one inside a clear plastic bag.
This will help keep moisture levels consistent during seed germination.
Step #7 – Maintain Consistent Temperature
Keep your aspiring agave plants in a consistently warm (65° to 70° degrees Fahrenheit) place with plenty of bright, indirect light. Be careful not to put plenty of heat, as excessive heat can damage the seeds.
Moreover, the container with seeds must be placed in a warm place but avoid direct sunlight.
The seeds of agave species can take a while to germinate, commonly taking about two to three weeks. However, some may even germinate for a longer period of time.
And if you have planted several varieties of agaves, it may happen sporadically. You should begin seeing some young sprouts within 14-21 days. When the seedlings appear, it’s time to remove the plastic.
Step #8 – Water Sparingly
Water sparingly, a couple of times a week. Make sure to provide an inch of water per week.
You’ll also want to keep the soil very lightly moist, not soggy. Use a spray bottle for watering, as this helps prevent the displacement of seeds and seedlings.
Step #9 – Transfer Seedlings
When your seedlings finally have 2-3 leaves and a root system, carefully transfer these drought tolerant plants to their own container. Later plant the seedlings in the garden.
Make sure you plant the seedlings in well-draining soil to help the agaves in bloom thrive. Moreover, plant your agave seeds outdoors in a sheltered location with partial shade to avoid doing the added hardening off step later.
Dragon Fruit Pests and Diseases
Agave Snout Weevil
The Agave snout weevil [Scyphophorus acupunctatus] is an invasive beetle species that burrow into the center of large species of agave plants, causing considerable damage.
This weevil has spread from Central and South America and is abundant in the southwestern United States.
To protect agave plants from this devastating pest, it’s important to be aware of their presence and take preventative measures.
Related: Read our article on agave snout weevil treatment.
Root rot is a common problem for plants grown from seed. Rot occurs when the roots stand in water for too long or if the soil has become over saturated.
This causes the roots to start to rot, which can eventually lead to plant death. Crown rot can also be a problem.
To prevent root rot in your seedling agaves, keep the soil moist but on the dry side.