Agave havardiana is an attractive, medium sized Agave with glaucus grey to bluish foliage. It produces compact rosettes to about 2 feet tall and spreading to about 3 feet (one source suggesting 5 feet) across. Foliage is about 24 inches long, and is about 6 inches wide, with the leaves flaring in the middle, and tapering to a sharp terminal spine, with marginal teeth spaced 1 to 2 inches apart. This species is native to the northern Chihuahuan Desert, in western Texas, south eastern New Mexico and into the adjacent Mexican states of Coahuila, and Chihuahua. Plants typically grow at elevations of 4000 to 6500 feet. It is closely related to Agave neomexicana and A. parryi.
At maturity, (probably at 15 to 20 years or more) this plant will produce a flowering spike 6 to 13 feet tall and bearing 12 to 20 branches which are tightly packed with 3 inch yellow flowers. As with all Agaves, each plant of this species will flower only once in its lifetime, dying completely following flowering and seed production. Some plants may produce a few offsets after flowering.
This species is one of a small handful of Agaves which has the reputation of being exceptionally cold hardy, surviving temperatures to -
I first began growing Agave havardiana some years ago when I was testing cactus and other succulents for their hardiness and suitability for Ohio gardens – this species had a reputation for extreme cold hardiness, and in regions of the high plains and mountain west, it has proven to be reliably hardy to -
I believe that it was 3 years ago that I had another opportunity to try this species, when rooted offsets were offered at a joint meeting with the Midwest Cactus and Succulent Society. The plant offered had already been subjected to temperatures of 17 degrees, which it survived without damage. This time, I decided to grow it as a potted plant on the patio from spring through fall, bringing it indoors only when temperatures fell below freezing. While my plant is still an adolescent, not yet producing the dense and tight rosette of leaves typical of more mature plants in habitat, it has grown considerably, and has produced 4 offsets. Plants in habitat seldom produce offsets, and then only very sparingly, so this trait in my plant is unusual. More than likely, this cultivar was selected specifically for this trait – which would make it easier to propagate it in good numbers. Agave havardiana has a reputation of being slow to establish, and while its rate of growth is considerably faster than that of Agave victoria reginae, under ideal conditions, it probably would take a minimum of 5 to 7 years to grow from seedling to maturity; and under less than ideal conditions, this could take much longer.
Smaller plants make very attractive plants for the home -
Agave havardiana will eventually grow too large even for even the most devoted growers of succulents to maintain indoors; it is best reserved for the landscape -
Always remember that most agaves produce awl like spines held rigidly on the leaf tips -