Agave americana

Century Plant, Maguey

(2 customer reviews)

From £29.95

An imposing blue-grey architectural arid plant, Agave americana forms a fountain-like rosette of thick succulent leaves with toothed margins.

Agaves are incredibly popular choices of arid plants, often praised for their impressive and flowing, sculptural form. Americana in particular is often picked due to its hardy nature, withstanding temperatures down to -12 °C, meaning it can cope is most climates found in the UK.

Origin: S. USA to Mexico
Genus: Agave
Species / Cultivar: americana
Common Name: Century Plant, Maguey

Plant Biography

Agave americana is native to Southern USA to Mexico, but due to its hardiness has become naturalised in parts of Africa, India and southern Europe.

Appropriately, the species name Agave come from the Greek ‘agaue’, meaning noble or illustrious, whilst the common name ‘Century Plant’ makes reference to how rarely it flowers.

In the wild, the main pollinators of the flowers are bats. Approximately 30 species of bats pollinate the flowers whilst feeding on the nectar inside. The bats have evolved alongside the agave and as such have particularly long tongues to reach the nectar at the base of the flower.

Agave americana
Soil: Well drained
Soil that does not show much signs of moisture, either visibly or when handled.
Growth Rate: Slow
This plant is particularly slow to grow, even during growing season.
Water Requirement: Low
Will grow in a drier position and is unlikely to need regular watering once established.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Full Sun
Wants direct, unfiltered sunlight most of the day, such as a south facing position.
Eventual Height: 2m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 2.5m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Hardy
Survives unprotected in an average winter. May need protection in extreme long frosts.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.

Expert Tip

The spines on this Agave are extremely sharp and can be especially dangerous to pets and children. Fortunately the spines can be pruned without damaging the plant. We've even seen some intrepid gardeners cork the spines of Agaves growing onto their paths!
The Many Uses of Agave

The Many Uses of Agave

Outside of its ornamental cultivation, the whole of the Agave americana plant has been harvested around the world, for many different uses.

In Central America it has long been used as a treatment for many ailments, because of its wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties. The juice from the plant has long been used as an antiseptic, and to treat burns, bruises, minor cuts, injuries and skin irritation caused by insect bites.

Traditionally, extracts from the stem and root have been used to make soap, whilst its sharp thorns have been used as both needles and nails. Fibres from the leaves and roots have also been used in the production of ropes, twines and mats.

Agave americana has also been used as a food source. The sweet, tender plant core is cooked as a vegetable, and in Mexico the sap is fermented to make the alcoholic drinks ‘Pulque’ and ‘Mescal’.

You may have even seen in shops in the UK as, if the stem is cut before flowering, it contains ‘aguamiel’, or Agave nectar, which is becoming an increasingly popular honey replacement for vegans.

Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Agave americana can actually flower, however it’s monocarpic which means that it flowers only once and then dies. Luckily, it can only flower in maturity and can take many years to bloom, with a typical lifespan on 10-30 years.

After it dies it produces offsets around the base, which form a colony of new plants.

My Agave Americana arrived this morning. The plant is stunning and arrived in pristine condition. There was also the added bonus of some little pups around the base which I will nurture & plant on! Very happy!

Clare P.

My Agave Americana arrived this morning. The plant is stunning and arrived in pristine condition. There was also the added bonus of some little pups around the base which I will nurture & plant on! Very happy!

2 customer reviews for Agave americana

Encouraged to purchase by positive reviews, however with regret my agave Americana did not arrive pristine as it was at the base of the package and has five bent leaves, one of which is broken and two being new leaves, and so can’t be cut. Gutted…

Palm Centre reply: We’re sorry the experience with us in this instance was not the best. Since the review, we’ve been in contact with the customer and the issue has been now resolved.

Duncan Bell (verified owner)

My Agave Americana arrived this morning. The plant is stunning and arrived in pristine condition. There was also the added bonus of some little pups around the base which I will nurture & plant on!
Very happy!

Clare P.