There are a lot of attractive perennial succulents out there, especially those hailing from Mexico and Central America.
The genus Agave (a-GAH-vee) are some of the most popular succulents in the Asparagaceae family due to their wonderful foliage and varied species. Potted Agave plants look great in the garden!
One of the big drawbacks of the many types of agave plants is survival. Agaves will not survive in any climates lower than USDA hardiness zone 5 (lows of approximately 20° degrees Fahrenheit).
Even worse, many species require even warmer zones, making them seem inaccessible to many enthusiasts.
The good news is, agaves are actually fairly easy to grow in containers, allowing those in cooler zones to display them outdoors in warm temperatures and bring them in as it gets cooler.
Furthermore, potting varieties such as ash agave or foxtail agave make for great displays on shelves or desks, provided you ensure they get everything they need.
Check out these tips on growing your own potted agave.
Tips On Potted Agave Plant Care
There are two basic considerations when growing agaves as container plants.
First of all, you must think about location and pick a species that will be compatible with your needs.
Second, you must account for that plant’s basic needs in the space you have available.
Think About Size
While many agave plants are small enough to fit on a desk, some varieties such as century plants and the asparagus agave are too big, growing up to 3’ feet wide.
You should avoid growing any large species on an elevated surface, especially when you have pets or children who may knock them over.
However, it’s possible to grow these bigger plants in-floor containers.
Your agave plant needs plenty of light, and most species can handle blistering conditions. Choose a spot in a sunny window or nearby where it can get direct to indirect sunlight throughout much of the day.
Some degree of natural light may be supplemented by artificial lighting, but the plant will not do well in an enclosed office space where there’s no natural lighting.
Agave plants actually love being root-bound, so they’re naturally well-adapted for container life. Try to pick a pot one size larger than the root ball and allow the plant to grow into it.
The pot doesn’t need to be very deep. When planting your agave in containers, make sure the crown remains above soil level to prevent crown rot.
When repotting, only increase one container size as needed while the plant is still getting bigger.
A good rule of thumb for most Agave species is to use a pot slightly larger than the plant’s diameter.
Once an Agave has reached full size, you will likely only need to repot when changing out the soil and will be able to keep the same pot size.
Your agave will generally need to be watered once the soil has become dry, about 2 to 3” inches down.
Water the soil thoroughly with distilled water or rainwater and allow any excess to drain out.
Related: Learn About Agave Root Rot
Agave plants like to be fertilized, and those in containers will need it even more.
Choose a balanced all-purpose liquid fertilizer and feed once per month at a ½ dilution starting in late spring.
When growing in a container, you will want to pick a good-quality potting mix for succulents. For all varieties of Agave choose well-draining soil mixes.
Avoid using cheaper brands, as these are often not sterile and may contain pests or spores.
Additionally, the soil shouldn’t contain peat, which absorbs too much water.
Instead, amend your chosen potting mix with coarse sand, gravel, or pumice (lava rock) to ensure it’s well-draining.