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Agave americana

Common Name(s):
American century plant

American century plant is a rosette-forming herbaceous perennial succulent in the Asparagaceae family.  The common name arose because it was once thought it took 100 years for the plant to flower.  It does not take quite that long, more like 10-25 years, but once it does flower the main plant dies. When it blooms, it sends up a single flowering stalk from the center of the leaves reaching 15-30' tall or more. The flowering stalk resembles a narrow telephone pole with horizontal branching near the top. Greenish-yellow flowers (each to 3-4" long) bloom in panicles at the branch ends. As the plant is flowering, vegetative offsets appear at the base of the mother plant so this plant is easily propagated.  Its striking sculptural form makes it a great specimen or accent plant for winter interest in a garden.  This plant is highly salt tolerant.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. Agave weevil can be troublesome. Slugs and snails may damage foliage. Root rot may occur, particularly in poorly-drained or overly-moist soils.

6-10 ft.
Flower Color:
Seed, vegetative offsets
Full sun
Dry, sandy, good drainage
Southwestern United States, Mexico
succulent, salt tolerant, accent, specimen

NCCES plant id: 3320

Agave americana Close up of spines
Bill Gracey, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Agave americana Agave flower
Bri Weldon, CC BY - 2.0
Agave americana Agave plant
Scott Zonia, CC BY-NC-2.0
Agave americana Agave flower stalk and flowers
Shellie, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Agave americana Agave americana 'Yellow Ribbons'
Faroutflora, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0