Agave attenuata - Cactus Club

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Agave attenuata

Plant of the Month > Species A to B

by Harry Gate

   Agave attenuata differs from the typical agave in that it has a trunk to five feet tall with smooth, elliptic, two-foot long, light-green leaves, ten inches wide, without marginal or terminal spines and forming three-to-four foot rosettes. Inflorescences are dense, drooping racemes that reach ten feet in height and bear greenish white flowers about two-and-one-half inches long.

   It comes from Hildago, Mexico but is rare in its native habitat, where it grows in scattered colonies on rocky outcrops in pine forests. The plants sometimes have several stems up to 1.5m high.

   This very beautiful species appreciates a richer and more moist soil than most agaves and flourishes in partial shade as well as full sun. (My plant is doing quite well in a somewhat shady area.)

   This is a tropical agave, it is frost sensitive, doesn’t like hot Arizona sun, and requires more water.

   Agave attenuata is one of the friendliest agaves as it doesn’t have any teeth or spines, and is easy to grow. There are several named cultivars differing mostly in leaf coloration. There is also a variegated cultivar.

   The soft, pale green leaves, with no spines whatsoever, make this a most desirable pot plant. Although it is reported to produce offsets in prodigious numbers, my plant has so far not produced any.

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