Agave sisaliana

Sisal Agave

A giant among agaves, A. sisaliana is unknown in the wild, but has been in cultivation for thousands of years.

The blue leaves can be over a metre long, resulting in a plant that at maturity can be 2 or 3 metres across, often on a short thick trunk.

As a young plant it is an easy and rewarding specimen to grow in the conservatory, perhaps for later transferral outdoors.


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Origin: Southern Mexico
Genus: Agave
Species / Cultivar: sisaliana
Common Name: Sisal Agave
Synonym: Furcraea sisaliana

Plant Biography

Unknown in the wild, Agave sisaliana is thought to be a sterile hybrid between other Agaves dating back to antiquity.

It is an important crop in many parts of the world where it is cultivated on vast farms. It is famous for both its speed of growth and for the production of fibres which are made into rope, string, cloth and other materials in many parts of the world.

The magnificent flower spike grows up to 6 metres tall and truly is a sight to behold. It produces literally hundreds of bulbils, which already have roots when they fall to the ground. After this the mother plant collapses and dies, as most Agaves do, because they are monocarpic.

Agave sisaliana
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: 3m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 2m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Half Hardy
Will need protection from frosts in order to survive winter, eg. with fleece jacket.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.

Expert Tip

Grow this magnificent plant as a novelty in a spacious border where its giant size can be appreciated. Requirements? Heat, light, water and lots of space!
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Agave sisaliana is not particularly cold hardy (down to around -4°c), but in milder areas and well drained soil and shelter from rain it will survive all but the coldest winters.


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