Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Agave, Century Plant, American Aloe, Maguey
Agave americana

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Family: Agavaceae (ah-gav-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Agave (a-GAH-vee) (Info)
Species: americana (a-mer-ih-KAY-na) (Info)

Synonym:Agave americana subsp. americana
Synonym:Agave complicata
Synonym:Agave altissima

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

39 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Height:
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

Spacing:
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:
Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Foliage:
Blue-Green

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
This plant is monocarpic

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From bulbils

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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Profile:

17 positives
14 neutrals
12 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive SanDiegoLady On Jul 27, 2014, SanDiegoLady from Campo, CA wrote:

These are nice clean line looking plants that are drought resistant. We have two in our yard, one is currently in bloom and will die soon. It's about 30 years old I would guess. I have trimmed both my plants, I cut the bottom leaves to make it look kinda like a pineapple on the bottom. I wore long jeans, long sleeved shirt, hat, gloves, and glasses. The juices do cause a burning rash but if you cover up it will be fine.
To trim it I used a sawzall and it worked really well. They were huge pieces so I cut each one multiple times to be able to move them.
I did not know that after blooming the entire plant will die but I really enjoy the look of these. I trim the end spine of the lower branches so my kids aren't injured.

Negative greenyjase On May 21, 2014, greenyjase from auckland
New Zealand wrote:

I'm a gardener/landscaper working for more than 20 years and I'm going to concur with every poor sod here who has had a nasty reaction to the sap of this plant. In particular I agree with the recommendation by one of the aussies that you don't use a chainsaw on this beast whatever you do. I'm on day 7 of the most intense itching I have ever experienced in my life, possibly just starting to calm down a tiny bit but still insanely itchy. I have used a handsaw to prune these plants before without a problem, but I was in a hurry with rain bearing down on me so used the chainy. Boy what a mistake. The chain threw pulp all over my arms and legs, and I began to experience a weird burning/prickling/chemical sensation within 20 seconds that just got more and more intense. Washing with cold water gave relief for a few seconds but no more, and if the client hadn't have had some antihistamines to hand I reckon I would have gone out of my mind. Since then I have tried every skin soothing product known to man, none particularly effective. Hydrocortisone doesn't help at all, aloe vera provides some temporary relief. My skin, wherever the sap touched it, is covered in angry, weeping welts like bad mosquito bites. Honestly, I have never had a reaction remotely like this to any other plant, it should come with a health warning!

As for the plant in other respects, think hard before planting, it gets massive (at least here in Auckland). They are 3-4 metres high on my neighbours place, and form dense thickets with pups flying up out of the ground everywhere. A very daunting prospect if you let them get out of hand. If you stay on top of them, chopping off all pups as they form, they are an impressive plant and the flower, when it finally comes, is truly crazy. Some of my neighbours flowers over the last few years have been at least 5 metres high and lasted for 6 months or more.
In summary, if you really must have an agave Americana, treat it with great respect or you will be very sorry! Right, I'm off to rub ice on my welts again...sigh...

Positive Campocalle On Nov 30, 2013, Campocalle from Redding, CA wrote:

Here is a qualified positive: this plant must be in the correct location and it must be periodically maintained. The negative reports here mostly result from a failure to put this plant in the right place and/or to maintain it properly.

First, location...this plant can take all types of poor soil, frosts (down to 5 F in my experience) and drought, and it is a beautiful sculptural rosette of beautiful bud-imprinted leaves. Flowering is amazing. But as many others note, this plant grows huge and spreads, creating a tangle of offsetting pups. So, the location should be at least 10 feet out from walkways, activity areas, etc. to let the plant achieve its full size. There should be no other stiff, tall, or woody plants near the century plant. An open area allows for access to pups and/or access to cut overreaching leaves. You must give this plant room.

Now, the management: these plants look incredible when grown alone as a focal point. A tangle of American agaves is a terrible mess- don't let that happen. You need to ruthlessly dig out all pups, no less often than two times per year. Easy if you just remember to do it. Less than five minutes twice a year. Give the pups away, replant, or trash them. Don't let your agave pups take over. It is also very easy to trim the lower leaves at the core of the plant one at a time with a handsaw if you like that look. Be slow and careful and you won't get sap on yourself. Trim terminal spines with a nail cutter if you want.

This is actually a very easy plant, but it will punish the procrastinator.

Negative LynnyB On Nov 12, 2013, LynnyB from warkworth
New Zealand wrote:

We bought a 6 acres 7 months ago in Wellsford, north of Auckland and inherited a house section garden full of these. Yes, structurally they look great, but what a cow of a thing to try and get rid of! We have sprayed and hacked and even tried using the tractor and chains to pull out the biggest ones (10 ft). To no avail. The path is broken with pups pushing their way thru and the side effects from wrangling this beast are severe! I wonder if the previous owners knew what they were planting. I would suggest to anyone thinking of planting these to make sure they are away from footpaths and play areas in your garden. They are a nasty beastie :)

Neutral jimmiller5417 On Aug 29, 2013, jimmiller5417 from Cecilia, KY wrote:

I would like seeds and pups of the
Agave Salmiana var. ferox (Maguey de Pulque). I am putting a garden and will harvest the leaves for cordage and paper making. Please let me know what you have.

Jim Miller
jimmiller5417@gmail.com
103 Methodist St., Cecilia, KY 42724
270-862-4379 (work) or 270-307-4857 (cell)

Positive hiram253 On May 27, 2013, hiram253 from Sebring, FL wrote:

I have a number of century plants growing and my largest on has a spike on it that it about 25 to 30 feet tall. It has a lot of pups and I am very familiar with the plant...It goes well here in Florida.

I have one question to others that may know more than I do. Many of my pups are also sending up spikes and there are random spikes coming out of the ground around the plant.. I have never had this happen... Why the spikes on the pups?

Anyone wanting to see pictures of the plant can reach me at hiram253@embarqmail.com. I have no idea on posting pictures on this site... Just got on todoay.. john

Neutral junglejohn On May 4, 2013, junglejohn from Gold Coast
Australia wrote:

I must be very fortunate. I removed 8 huge specimens with a chainsaw 3 days ago wearing shorts. Over a tonne in weight. I am a little itchy but I was absolutely covered in the sap, head to toe. At first I was really itchy but it went away after about an hour. It comes back in the shower but settles down again soon after. Reminds me a little of the giant stinging tree we get around here.

Negative Phoenicia On Feb 8, 2013, Phoenicia from Exmouth
Australia wrote:

I have been a landscaper for almost 15 years and have never had such a bad reaction to any plant as the agave americana.
I would strongly suggest eradication of this noxiuos weed.

I was removing a large mature plant from a garden yesterday using a chainsaw to chop it into more managable pieces for removal. The sawdust was more like grated onion which splattered over both legs and 1 arm. Almost instantly i began to have a severe discomfort like acid burns or an infuriating itch . I had to stop sawing and started to wash my legs with water and a towel. After about 30mins the sensation completely stopped, leaving no pain or itch.

Later that night the affected area began to welt. Today the welts started to form little whiteheads. I went to the doctor and he told me some cacti can carry the strep bacteria and so he has started me on heavy antibiotics and steroids. In the morning I will have a blood test. If you are suffering from any such symptoms go see a doctor now.

This plant is the most aggressive mungrel I have ever come across.

Negative Miker76 On May 22, 2012, Miker76 from Wedgefield, FL wrote:

No idea what this thing was before hand, only that it was big, spiky, and the guy who owned the house before me had it dead center on top of the entrance to the house septic tank. For me to get an inspection, it had to go. I ended up as many here I see have done, got at it with an axe and hacked the massive thorny blades away, hacked at the roots, and pulled my jeep up and attached chains and pulled the thing out of the ground. My arms, 11 days later are completely covered in blisters and rash. I sleep with benedril every night and keep itch lotion of various types with me at all times. I am highly allergic to poison ivy although thankfully this doesnt have the same spreading ability that it has, but itches far worse. Sometimes I just go dunk my arms in cold water it gets so bad. Hopefully aside from the relapses this rash will go away soon since I am nearing the 12 day mark. I hate this plant and plan on eradicating it off my property except for some I will relocate across the second entrance to block it. C4 is the way to go on big plants I think. Dont mess with it otherwise without a full hazmat suit. On the bright side the inspection went well.

Neutral ItchyGreenThumb On Jan 20, 2012, ItchyGreenThumb from Menifee, CA wrote:

I recently bought a home near Temecula California and the 10k sq ft yard has a beautiful but overgrown landscape. The first thing I noticed were some VW size blue agave and yellow striped American agave growing on my hillside. After removing the 4 truck loads of overgrown rosemary I decided to tackle the agave. I began trimming the agave back with a very sharp hand pruning saw so this process was very easy with no mess.

BUT, when it was time to reduce the size of the plant leaves to fit in the trash I decided to hack them down into small pieces with a dull mechetti.

Bad move!!! Little did I know the sap was splattering all over both my arms as I was hacking away. Within 10 minutes I felt like I had a bad case of poison oak on both arms. I washed them with soap and hot water then covered them with calamine lotion. The itching went away within 5 minutes and so far so good.

PS: I found this site researching agave and itching. Lol!

Negative BryanJS On Aug 21, 2011, BryanJS from Apple Valley, CA wrote:

Do NOT chain saw this plant if you want to get rid of it. I got the juice "sap" which was extremely runny (like water) on my skin and then the burning spread all over my body. I was burning and itching for quite a while. I thought it would go away after a while.... it didn't. I took a shower and used soap all over my body. I used the soap, then rinsed it off, used the soap and rinsed again (6 times) It took about 15 minutes and I have no blisters or rashes from the plant. It might of helped because I was wearing sunscreen but I'm not sure. No matter how big the plant is, dig it out. do NOT cut any part of it because you will be in pain.

Positive ueberwinden On Jun 27, 2011, ueberwinden from Florence, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I live in a zone 6 and my agave adorn my backyard in a 20 gallon pot. I have never had any issues when I have trimmed it up. This plant has very sharp points for a reason, probably not smart around young children without close supervision. Some plants are very beautiful but demand respect, and this is one of them.

Positive elisandro On Apr 8, 2011, elisandro wrote:

We work with this plant to make Mezcal in oaxaca mexico, a mexican spirit drink, It is very rich in sugars that once you ferment it and then you distill it, you will obtain alcohol. The bad part is that if u are not used to the plant and its juices, it will cause a sever rash, but once you are used to it, you will be fine. some people will have very sensitive skin but they get used to it.

Negative regiberry On Jan 30, 2011, regiberry from watsonville, CA (Zone 7a) wrote:

At my Mother's home recently, I trimmed this plant back with a pruning saw and immediately had a burning and severe itching on my arms that blistered. I washed my arms and took my clothes off and used caladryl lotion and hydrocortisone cream. I had this rash for almost 10 days. It was very surprising, to find out that the sap is toxic. I wish that I new this before I trimmed it. Could have been much worse!

Positive tl1000sv On Jan 8, 2011, tl1000sv from Paraparaumu
New Zealand wrote:

We are in Paraparaumu, New Zealand and have had one of these in our yard for 10 years. Over the last three weeks the plant has begun to flower...WOW... wasn't expecting that! The central stem has grown nearly 7 metres in three weeks. The neighbours are all wondering what is going on. I have always liked the look of the plant but wasn't aware of the dangerous sap. I understand they can die after flowering and have sought advise from the local gardening shop. They tell me to cut the central stem when it looks as though the flowers are beginning to wilt.

Neutral bmcdanel On Dec 17, 2010, bmcdanel from Lawton, OK wrote:

I researched this plant before getting one and am aware of its undesirable traits. However, I like its distinct appearance. It is taking a prominent position in a cactus garden in my backyard. The garden is experimental with many cacti, agave, and yuccas not native to Oklahoma growing in it. I've seen many fine examples of it growing across the southern U.S. in areas that get as cold as here. Its dangers are a challenge, but are manageable. One thing with this and any other plant, be sure you know how big it will get when you plant it. It is important to allow space for the mature plant, not the one in the pot. An update: Although it is supposed to survive here, we had an unusual cold spell, -2 degrees Fahrenheit, which did it in. It is possible that it could have adapted with two or three normal winters reading other comments; but it did not have this luxury. It is still alive, but so badly damaged that I don't think it will survive.

Negative detramp On Jul 20, 2010, detramp from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

I agree with the above neg coments regarding the skin rash.
You need to get a RX for the treatment so the rash
does not get infected.
Apply this cream two to three times a day on affected areas
SILVER SULFADIAZINE
generic equivelant for....SILVADENE 1 %
THIS CREAM TO BE KEPT IN THE REFRIDERATOR
HAS AN ANTIBOTIC IN IT FOR INFECTION.
ALSO WILL HELP TO REDUCE IN THE ITCHING

Dr. Dan

Neutral vossner On Jul 20, 2010, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

They call it century plant b/c supposedly, it blooms once every 100 years. Mother plant dies and the pups are left to carry on. However, who has been around 100 years to verify bloom frequency???

I don't grow it in my garden. You need a very large space. I have seen some in flower and they are magnificent. However, the flower stalk is so thick, you need a saw to remove it after show is over. Also, I remember one particular case in which the mother plant was so big, it was a terrible looking mess after it died (following bloom).

Negative WestTexan On Jul 19, 2010, WestTexan from Alpine, TX wrote:

This plant is best left in the desert, or at least should not be grown where the gardener is not willing for it to be the DOMINANT plant on the landscape. The sap contains TOXINS that produce a contact dermatitis that is WAY beyond anything you have ever experienced with nettles or poison ivy--almost immediately very painful and often long-lasting. The previous owner of my rural residence planted one of these agaves right next to the house--3 feet. The plant is now ten feet tall and at least that wide. I am removing it, but it is difficult because of the sap. Barbed leaf edges, iron-hard spines on the tip, constant regenerative suckers popping up all over, plus the internal toxins make this an unfriendly plant. The dermatitis can be treated by cold saline compresses and antihistimines, but severe cases may result in systemic symptoms that should be treated by qualified medical personnel. If you must cut the agave for any reason (i.e. trimming, removing, etc), be sure to cover all your exposed skin before starting. Eye protection in the form of safety goggles is MANDATORY. Also, be aware that sap on clothes, gloves, or tools is just as harmful as sap that comes directly from the plant. If you get sap on your skin, IMMEDIATELY wash with cold water and soap. Use a facecloth to help remove the sap from your skin, but DO NOT scrub back and forth, this may spread the sap onto unexposed portions of the skin. Stroke in one direction, regularly folding the cloth to use a "fresh" portion. After all cutting of the plant is done, remove your clothes (do NOT pull them off inside-out) and wash immediately in strong detergent. Gloves should be discarded as they will likely have sap on them, depending on how extensive the cutting has to be. Be sure not to rub an itchy nose or otherwise touch your face while using the cutting tool or wearing the gloves. Stand UPWIND of the hose if you use it clean your tools, and be careful of backspray. One last note: If you must cut your agave, do it on a relatively calm day. Wind can carry sap droplets right to you.

Neutral jaylang On Jul 12, 2010, jaylang from Saint Petersburg, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

My experience relates to buying a 30-year-old garden in Florida where agaves were planted when small, then became the problem for the next owner--me. I transplanted one away from a pathway successfully by tying it up in burlap to be like an artichoke, only to have the 2010 freeze burn it real ugly. Two others I had been clipping off their needles with scissors, and then they began their death dramas. What I eventually did to get their carcasses gone was a lot of GLOVED, long-handled lopper work on the ground-level leaves to clear some bare stalk. I used a reciprocating saw (sawzall) at ground level to cut the stalk, several cuts. I did the same thing with the big stalk that had grown up and spawned little agaves all over, in two cycles. I used pick and shovel to get rid of the root ball, nothing unusual. There were big and small pups, and they are still showing up, hiding under weeds. I would keep them in pots, or in places where you don't plan to walk or place plants of value. If you have to keep them with kids around, trim the dangerous ends to suit your taste, or even remove leaves from the bottom up to a safe level, in my opinion.

Negative AmberJackson On Jun 17, 2010, AmberJackson from Redding, CA wrote:

My mother planted these a few years back and now they are huge. We have young children and they can't play in the backyard because we cant figure out how to remove these monsters. I feel helpless and frustrated. Does anyone have some ideas?

Positive TXWolf On Jun 15, 2010, TXWolf from San Marcos, TX wrote:

I love this Plant as it was abandoned by myy former neighbor and it is now about 5 and a half feet tall at the center Spike...

It is beautiful and if i can just keep the kiddos away from it with thier bats all will be good, my question is how do i clone this... i havent seen any pups so to speak around it... i want to place these on each of the 4 corners of my yard but am lost when it comes to cloning these or planting them. any help will be appreciated you can email me at guide_wolf_jc@msn.com with any suggestions thanks

Negative yvic On Nov 13, 2009, yvic from Fort Pierce, FL wrote:

I planted a small, 6" in diameter blue agave about 4 years ago here in SE Florida and I couldn't believe how quickly it grew. It spiked 2 months ago to a height of 10 feet. I cut the spike and figured the plant would die. It did not. Three days ago I used a reciprocating saw to first cut the leaves off, and then dug up and disposed of the main plant and its pups. I wore gloves and long pants and thought I was careful not to get any sap on my skin. Unfortunately I developed a severe rash on the inside of my wrist. I've never had a rash like this. I am not allergic to poison ivy and have handled that often. This rash is unbelievable. It only itched slightly at first, but now 3 days later it is still dark red to purple with some white pustules forming. I thought I might have psoriasis, but no, it was a little bit of agave juice that caused this. I won't be messing with this plant again. Thanks to the forum I've saved a trip to a dermatologist!

Negative slash_d On Mar 15, 2009, slash_d from San Diego, CA wrote:

1. Sharp leaves with thorns.
2. Sap of the plant will leave a nasty rash.
3. Plant spreads like an epidemic.
4. Not a plant I want in my yard.
5. Leave these plants in the desert.

Positive baiissatva On Sep 11, 2008, baiissatva from Dunedin
New Zealand wrote:

Zone 9b, Coastal Otago, New Zealand. After reading these other notes Im very surprised! I know of no one in this country who has experienced the irritating effect of this plant's sap, and have handled it myself without incident, despite having highly reactive skin. I am certain the plants we have are A Americana- perhaps, like many agave species down here, we have a clone that is both ubiquitous and relatively inoffensive.
I add to this that my A A looks exactly like the 'kell' pic in the wheelbarrow, and yesterday I trimmed it up with a kitchen knife, getting sap on my bare hands and arms, which did, well, nothing! Is it just that Im not allergic or are NZ AA's a less toxic hyrbrid? Who knows??
Grows well in all but the coldest areas, survives being frozen solid, impervious to wind and salt spray, always looks good in the background of a succulent/exotic collection. So I dont have too many bad things to say about it. Grows to massive proportions given decent water- I have seen them 2m high here.
Also I have never seen the remote suckering habit- it always pups close to the parent plant, rather than coming up bamboo-style some distance away. I would class it as medium-prolific and easy enough to contain, even in a range of soils. Perhaps with our regular water its rhizomes dont need to wander far.
Spikes are mighty and dangerous- watch your eyes while weeding as they tend to disappear visually front-on. Snip off the lower leaf spikes to prevent spearing your cats/dogs/kids.

Positive ogrejelly On Jun 29, 2008, ogrejelly from Gilbert, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Fast grower in the Phoenix area with very little care. I hose water them every three weeks and they are very healthy. I find that once large they are vulnerable to agave Beetles. By the time they start to show unhealthy signs, they are dead and infested with grubs. The good thing is that the pups sprout everywhere and are very easy to transplant so you always have a healthy backfill. By far the fastest growing agave I have seen.

Positive queenothmadhous On Jun 28, 2008, queenothmadhous from Cantonment, FL wrote:

This is the first time that I've had one of my own, but my grandmother had one when I was growing up. Sorry to all of you who didn't know about the sap. It was always an understood rule that we couldn't mess with that plant. (My grandmother had quite the green thumb and grew anything and everything, even things she was told could not grow in the south) We could walk up to it and look or even feel the leaves, just do NOT break anything.

Positive msironi On Jun 6, 2007, msironi from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

This beautiful Agave was given to me by a friend who couldn't use it in her garden. It is a care free rapid grower, needs little water, tolerates cold (in the recent very cold weather this winter in Southern Calif. many tropical plants took a beating, but this Agave is as sturdy as ever). Pup production is plentiful and I end up giving lots of plants away as I don't want it to overtake the garden with new plants. I haven't seen too many of these so am not sure if it is rare or not.

Neutral eurokatt On Aug 23, 2006, eurokatt from Naples - Lago Patria
Italy (Zone 9b) wrote:

I am not a fan of this plant in my yard; its big, invasive, and thorny. I enjoy it's presence in other's yards and the blooms are incredible. Having said that...I do have one in my current yard (rental). It is in an area that I only need to access to turn the sprinkler on/off so I don't have much contact with it. Today I needed to trim off some of those darned leaves and I used a hand saw. EEK! Severe itchiness hardly describes the sensation. I wanted out of my skin! (torso, thigh and sawing arm were affected) After applying alcohol and cortisone cream I ended up in the shower with soap and cold water. My husband poured vinegar on my 'itchy' parts with no help. I sent him out to my garden to retrieve a big Aloe Vera leaf. Splitting open the leaf (remove the thorns! - missed a couple the first time) and rubbing it over the dry, itchy areas relieved the itching after about 5 minutes of constant application. It's now been just over 5 hours later and there doesn't seem to be redness or bumps...yet. The skin seems a little 'wind burnt' but no itching or other discomfort. For the record...after my aloe treatment I put on proper clothes and went out to continue my trimming. Ended up trimming a little extra so I won't have to do this chore anytime in the near future. I love my Aloe!

Neutral kickit On May 2, 2005, kickit from Valley Center, CA wrote:

Tip for the day: If you are using a chain saw to take out this thing, do NOT wear shorts :)

Wish I had researched this before I had started. Oh well, I am glad to see I am not the only one to learn this painful lesson.

One thing, I washed my legs in COLD water, not hot. Hot water opens up the pores. Washed with soap and water 4 times, still itching, but perhaps 80% less.

Then put on 5% cortizone cream and I'm doing OK about 1 hour after the intitial contact.

Beautiful plant and I respect it even more now. Just wish there was a better way to get rid of it where I don't want it :)

Does anyone have any experience making tequila from this one?

Neutral palmbob On Feb 9, 2005, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have to say I have mixed opinions about this plant. On the positive side, it can be an impressive, imposing, turquoise landscape plant(s). I have a friend who uses this species to wall off his yard from would-be plant thieves and it's a pretty impressive wall of spines. You would have to be crazy to try to cross it. And it's incredibly easy and fast growing

... but for me, who does not live on a 100 acres of property, this is NOT a good landscape plant, but a weed. It is nearly impossible to get rid of once you stick it in the ground. It comes up everywhere, and sometimes 10-15' away from the mother plant. Rip it out, and roots still make more plants forever. And the new suckers love to come up right next to other valuable less durable plants that don't like having their roots messed with, making it even trickier to get rid of. Impervious to round up. Pruning it is painful and dangerous. Can't recommend this one unless you have the space, or a large pot to keep it in forever.

Neutral htop On Feb 8, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. It can also be propagated by bulbils which form on the bloom stalk.

Neutral cousinscuzzy On Jun 12, 2004, cousinscuzzy wrote:

I agree with the previous poster's warning about the sap. This is a very impressive prehistoric looking plant, and grows well in the southwest US. However, be careful not to get the sap on your skin.

Last weekend I was helping a friend remove an enormous cluster of these from his backyard. The fibers are very strong and at their base the large plants are quite tough. We needed to use a pickaxe to break it up and get it out. We were unaware of the toxicity of the sap and got quite a bit on our skin. It started itching badly within minutes, and by the next day it was a bad rash that started blistering. One week later the rash is still pretty bad.

The good news is that I can't imagine coming into contact with the sap without doing serious, intentional damage to the plant. It's not like you're going to have a problem simply by planting these. Just use caution when removing them.

Negative smile70s On May 18, 2004, smile70s from Saint Augustine, FL wrote:

Don't get me wrong, we love the plant - it is beautiful - but be very, very careful not to get any of the juices on the inside of it onto your skin. My husband, a landscape designer, is in absolute misery right now. He was removing a century plant (agave americana) from a customer's landscape and had to cut it. When he did, he got juice all down his legs and they immediately began to burn. He tried running water over it, and it just made it worse. He came home and showered and washed it off w/soap and water, and it didn't help. It has been over 24 hours, and he has a rash so bad on his legs that he can't even bend his knees. He's also been very sluggish and a little nauseated all day. He went to the doctor and she gave him a steroid to take down the swelling. I looked it up on a toxicity website, and apparently, it is going to develop white blisters all over (which it's already begun to do) and will remain painful and itchy for a good five days. The rash is supposed to subside to light red splotches in about 12 days and take up to 4 weeks to completely disappear. This is apparently an extremely toxic plant when in contact with human skin. So be VERY CAREFUL not to get it on you.

Positive CShea On Dec 14, 2003, CShea from Miami, FL wrote:

My husband brought his plant home in a pot. After moving it around in the back yard for quite a while to mow the grass and such, it took root and grew to an enourmous size - about 6 feet in diameter (mind you the pot is still there). One day we noticed this stalk growing up out of it. It passed the powerlines and eventually got so heavy it bent over. It flowered and later produced over 200 small plants which we will be potting and giving as holiday gifts - with a warning that they will grow very large. What an interesting plant!

Positive MNEVEN On Nov 22, 2003, MNEVEN from New Port Richey, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

So far I love my agave. We planted it 18 months ago. A neighbor has a huge one and this is a pup. Today I noticed that the flat part of the stalks have yellow bumps on it. Is this a fungus and if so, what do I do and if not, what is it?

Positive roshana On Nov 5, 2003, roshana from Jacksonville, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

These century plants are growing in a "Century Plant Grove" in the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ.

Neutral Ulrich On Jul 12, 2003, Ulrich from Manhattan Beach, CA (Zone 11) wrote:

'Century Plant' is a misnomer. Their life span is more like 35 years.

Neutral Monocromatico On May 30, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

Its so hard to find accurate informations about Agave on the net! I have some national and foreign books of ornamental plants, and I cant identify the plant, which pictures I just posted. The closest I got is Agave americana, but Im not sure.

What I know is that I have a small plant of A. americana, with variegate leaves, that started as a bud from the inflorescence of an older plant. What a tough little plant! I wasnt expecting it to survive, but now I have to replant it in a bigger vase.

Positive tommcf On Mar 27, 2003, tommcf from Buchanan, NY wrote:

This is a favorite plant of mine. Ive had this plant since 1995. I should say that I also have the Variegated American Century Plant, which I think is what most people think of when they think A. americana. Its pretty hardy, although it does require plenty of direct sunlight. It's definitely a plant that is immune to aphid attack, even though, contrary to popular belief, not all succulents are. I have empty pots to prove that. It has produced two very healthy sprouts, which I removed (can you say: hacksaw) and repotted, and is working on two new sprouts right now. My observation is that itll only sprout when the light is really good. You also have to warn people that the plant has a real bite, especially the end thorns. Theyre so big and sharp you could almost use them for arrowheads.
These plants grow to deceptively old ages (Hint: They call it the Century Plant for a reason) and very large sizes. It's deceptive when they're young anyway. You wouldn't think that this little thing could live for more than 100 years and get to the size of a Volkswagen. The sprout you get could have a history that in two or three generations, goes back to the American Revolution. Pretty neat. I saw one in a greenhouse laboratory that was almost 10 feet across and was quite old. Its not unlikely that this plant may outlive the owner. So, in a nutshell, its an easy, attractive and productive plant that will last a long, long (did I mention long?) time.

Tom

Neutral Kelli On Mar 14, 2003, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Overall, I like this plant, but they can be be invasive and grow quite large if grown in the ground. They can be kept smaller when grown in pots.

Positive farizona On Mar 14, 2003, farizona from Bowie, AZ (Zone 8B) wrote:

This looks similar to my plant except my plant has the green stripe in the center of the leaf (blade?) and outer edge is yellow. It is called "Variegated American Century
Plant".

Positive Dinu On Mar 13, 2003, Dinu from Mysore
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

The flower spike can grow up to 15 feet but the plant has to be many years old by then. The leaves too get wider and the plant would need 6-8 feet across. When these are small, it is an attractive plant that requires little or no attention.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,
Grenoble,
Atmore, Alabama
Eight Mile, Alabama
Flomaton, Alabama
Grand Bay, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Chandler Heights, Arizona
Congress, Arizona
Golden Valley, Arizona
Goodyear, Arizona
Green Valley, Arizona
Mesa, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Surprise, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona (2 reports)
Agoura Hills, California
Apple Valley, California
Calabasas, California
Campo, California
Canoga Park, California
Glendale, California
Hesperia, California
Lompoc, California
Menifee, California
Rancho Calaveras, California
Redding, California (2 reports)
San Clemente, California
San Francisco, California
San Leandro, California
Spring Valley, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Big Pine Key, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Cantonment, Florida
Fernandina Beach, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Miami, Florida (2 reports)
Orlando, Florida (2 reports)
Rockledge, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Summerfield, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Venice, Florida
Yulee, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Cecilia, Kentucky
Gray, Louisiana
Gulfport, Mississippi
Blue Diamond, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Alamogordo, New Mexico
Elephant Butte, New Mexico
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
Kure Beach, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Beaufort, South Carolina
Bluffton, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Florence, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Lexington, South Carolina
Little Mountain, South Carolina
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Saint Helena Island, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Alpine, Texas
Andrews, Texas
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Brownsville, Texas
Bulverde, Texas
Deer Park, Texas
Dripping Springs, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
Kermit, Texas
Leander, Texas
Lipan, Texas
Lufkin, Texas
Odessa, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
San Marcos, Texas
Santo, Texas
Spicewood, Texas
White Center, Washington



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