Agave, the most drought resistant succulent

The Agave is one of the plants that is most used in xerogardens , which decorate since they are very young. They grow rapidly and multiply with amazing ease. They withstand drought, high temperatures, and there are also many species that resist light frosts.

Today it is much loved by collectors, since not only is the sale price low, but its maintenance is very, very simple .

Index

  • 1 Characteristics of the Agave
  • 2 Main species
    • 2.1 American
    • 2.2 A. attenuata
    • 2.3 A. macroacantha
    • 2.4 A. victoriae-reginae
  • 3 How do you take care of yourself?
    • 3.1 Location
    • 3.2 Soil
    • 3.3 Irrigation
    • 3.4 Subscriber
    • 3.5 Planting time
    • 3.6 Multiplication
      • 3.6.1 Seeds
      • 3.6.2 Suckers
    • 3.7 Rusticity
  • 4 Can you have an Agave in a pot?
  • 5 What is it used for?
    • 5.1 Ornamental use
    • 5.2 Culinary uses
      • 5.2.1 Agave syrup
        • 5.2.1.1 How is it used?

Agave Characteristics

agave shawii

agave shawii

The Agave is a genus of succulent plants of the Agavaceae family originating in Mexico. It is known by the common names of pita, maguey, cabuya, fique, mezcal, or simply agave. It grows forming a rosette of thick, fleshy pointed leaves, often ending in a sharp needle . The edges are usually toothed, but there are some species, such as A. attenuata or A. stricta, whose leaf parts are practically harmless.

It blooms only once, producing an inflorescence made up of hundreds of flowers . After flowering, the plant dies, leaving behind the seeds and the shoots that have been sprouting from it. It is, therefore, a monocarpic plant.

main species

american a.

american agave

It reaches about 60-70cm in height. Its leaves can be bluish-white, grayish-white or variegated. It has spines of about 2cm on the edge and 5cm on the apex . It is used for the production of Mezcal, which is the sugary juice extracted from the sap of the fermented and distilled floral stem.

A. attenuata

Agave attenuata

It is one of the most harmless species, if not the most. It grows to a height of up to 150cm. Its leaves are whitish-green in color, tapering to a point and with smooth margins.

A. macroacantha

Agave macroacantha

It reaches a height of about 50cm. Its leaves are a very pretty green-white color, and on their edges we find a series of black thorns up to 2cm long ; the apex is armed with a thick thorn, also black in color, 4-5cm long.

A. victoriae-reginae

Agave victoriae-reginae

It is one of the most curious species that does not usually exceed 30cm in height, making it perfect to have in a pot. It forms a very dense and compact rosette of leaves , each of which has white lines that go from the apex to the center of the plant.

How is it taken care of?

Agave angustifolia 'Marginata'

Agave angustifolia ‘Marginata’

Would you like to have some specimens in your garden? Here we explain the care they need:

Location

The Agave is a plant that has to be placed outside, in full sun . The more hours of direct light you have, the better your growth will be.

Due to the size that it can reach, it is often planted as an isolated specimen, since with time it will emerge suckers that, when they grow, will occupy twice the space that the mother plant occupied.

Floor

The garden soil must be of the limestone type (pH of 7), with very good drainage . In the event that it does not drain well, it is highly recommended to make a planting hole of 1m x 1m and mix universal growing substrate with perlite in equal parts. To be sure that there will be no problems in the future, before filling the hole you can put a shading mesh around it, covering the edges; This way, the soil in your garden will not mix with the soil you have put.

Irrigation

It resists drought very well, but during the first year it will be necessary to water it once or twice a week so that its root system grows sufficiently.

Subscriber

chemical fertilizer for plants

It is not usually fertilized, although  during the spring and summer it is advisable to do so by adding a tablespoon of Nitrophoska and mixing it a little with the soil before watering once a month.

planting time

The best time to move it to the garden is in spring , or in summer if you live in an area with a mild climate.

Multiplication

Seeds

  1. The first thing to do is acquire the seeds in spring or summer.
  2. Afterwards, a pot with vermiculite or sandy substrate is prepared .
  3. Then, the seeds are placed, burying them only a little , enough so that the wind cannot carry them away.
  4. Finally, it is watered using a sprayer .

Young

The suckers can be separated from the mother plant as soon as they are of a manageable size. Once collected, they can be planted in pots with sandy substrates or in other parts of the garden .

Rusticity

Most of the species withstand frosts of up to -3ºC . The A. attenuata is somewhat more delicate: it supports up to -2ºC as long as it is for a short time. They all need protection against hail.

Can you have an Agave in a pot?

potted agaves

Image – Towerflower.com

I do not recommend it. For a time it can be, but there will come a time when it will not be able to continue growing and, if that happens, it can weaken and end up dying . Even so, if you want to decorate your patio with a specimen, even temporarily, then we will tell you about its care:

  • Location : full sun.
  • Substrate : You can use universal growing medium mixed with 30% perlite.
  • Irrigation : twice a week in summer, and every 15-20 days the rest of the year.
  • Subscriber : in spring and summer, with a fertilizer for cacti and succulent plants following the instructions specified on the package. You can also choose to add a small spoonful of Nitrophoska every 15 days.
  • Transplant : every two years.

For what do you use it?

agave tequilana

agave tequilana

ornamental use

The Agave is mainly used as an ornamental plant . There are different very decorative and elegant species that look wonderful in gardens of cacti and similar plants. It is also widely used to decorate the patios and terraces of hotels, even if they are near the sea.

culinary uses

Our protagonist has been used for centuries, especially in Mexico where humans take advantage of it to feed themselves. And it is that all its parts are used:

  • Floral stems : they are consumed fresh, roasted or cooked.
  • Stem (what we would call trunk): it is eaten roasted.
  • The bases of the leaves : they are also eaten roasted.
  • Sap : it can be consumed fresh or concentrated in the form of honey. It is also used to obtain fermented or stimulating drinks and spirits.

agave syrup

From A. tequilana , better known as blue agave, a sweetener called agave syrup or agave syrup is obtained . The sap of these plants is rich in fructose, but since it does not contain glucose, it does not increase blood sugar levels. Although, yes, if consumed in excess they can increase the levels of uric acid, triglycerides and cholesterol.

How is it used?

It is used just like sugar : in cookies, biscuits, cakes, drinks, coffee, etc. The equivalence is 6ml of syrup for each packet of sugar.

Its benefits are:

  • It contains vitamins (A, B, B2 and C), and essential minerals such as iron or phosphorus.
  • It stimulates the growth of the intestinal flora.
  • Inhibits the growth of pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella.
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis as it increases the absorption of calcium and magnesium.
Agave, the most drought resistant succulent

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