PlantFiles: Variegated Century Plant Agave americana var. marginata
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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
Danger: Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling
Bloom Color: Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)
Bloom Time: Mid Summer
Foliage: Grown for foliage Evergreen Variegated Silver/Gray 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 leaf cuttings Allow cut surface to callous over before planting
Seed Collecting: N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed
On Mar 31, 2013, St8kout from Las Vegas, NV wrote:
Bought a house in Vegas July 2012 with this plant thriving in the middle of the front yard. All the limbs were vibrant and healthy.
Several months later some limbs started drooping with the ends shriveling up and turning black. Now more are folding over and dying off on the ends. Not sure what is happening but the plant seems to be on a downward death spiral. There is a watering system already in place by the previous owners and I have not changed a thing. All the other plants (yucca, cactus, olive tree, mesquite tree, rose bush) are doing great and growing like crazy.
I read it dies after flowering but I have not seen this yet. I don't have a clue as to how old it is but it's pretty big. Now I have about a dozen 'baby' versions popping up all around it through the edges of the grass mat under the gravel.
When I type "Century Plant" into the computer, I invariably get a picture of an upright spiny plant which has a stem-12 or 15 feet tall with a bar across the top with stringy little yellow flowers.
Years ago, when my family and I went to Florida, we saw huge plants with big leaves which sometimes snaked out from the center and were mostly on the ground. Sometimes they had large pale pink blooms in various stages of blooming. They were called "century plants", but were nothing like these now called that name. Does anyone know what these old style century plants are called nowadays and where I can get some? I last saw one in south Georgia at a house in the mid 90s.
On Apr 12, 2012, gkok from Bonita Springs, FL wrote:
I planted one about 3 months ago in southwest Florida. It is in full sun and It is about 3 feet tall. It was doing well until a couple of days ago when I noticed some blotches in the center of a couple of leaves. Today it looks like the area where the blotches are, the blotches are turning yellow and drying out. Has anybody else seen this. Is it due to over watering?
On Jun 23, 2011, ogon from Paradise, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:
About 15 years ago, my grandfather gave me a small Agave americana "Marginata" pup he saved from a friend who was taking out their overgrown agave bed. It's been in a pot and followed me everywhere I'ved lived since. I've repotted it once, and plant on repotting it one more time soon to a large whiskey barrel so it has room to spread.
They are very spiney and I've been poked pretty badly more than once. The best method that I have found for repotting very spiney and large cacti is to sacrifice the old pot. Make sure the necessary soil is in the bottom of the new pot to make the plant sit at the same height, and then lay the plant in the old pot on it's side, and hit the ceramic pot with a sledgehammer or similar instrument until it breaks. Then, wearing thick clothing, wrap something as impermeable as possible around the plant (thick tarp, piece of thick plastic, or several towels if nothing else) and gently lift it into the new pot. Hopefully someone else can help you place dirt around the edges while you hold it in place. Not fun, but not something that needs to be done often :).
Though the flowers are beautiful, I don't look forward to the day it blooms because I will miss my old friend. Some people don't realize that agaves only flower once. The flowers last a long time, but when the flowering is over the plant disappears. The pups remain and will grow into new plants, but keep that in mind when placing them in your garden.
On Sep 12, 2010, jskyieeyes3 from Saint Cloud, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:
love the striking beauty of the variegated agave! aquired a small one from a local nursery, that already had a pup in the pot with it. have separated the two, and both are doing well. you do have to be careful when handling the plant, or are in the general vicinity of it; the sharp spines can cut/impale you. ouch! have seen many large agave's around central florida, and when they bloom it is truly a beautiful sight!
On Jan 9, 2009, Kell from Northern California, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:
Beware sends out runners many feet from original plant so you must constantly dig them up or have your yard totally taken over by them. Also grows fairly fast and becomes so huge it gets incredibly difficult and expensive to remove.
On Aug 28, 2006, princesscarol from Lake Worth, FL wrote:
3. mo. ago we purchased 2 blue,3 americana marginata's,2 carribean agave's from a local nursery. they were in 7 gal. containers.we transplanted them into 15 gal. containers and all are doing well.we treat them like cactus and only water them every 3-4 weeks. we are in south florida and they seem to love our sun and heat. they are beautiful and get lots of attention from onlookers. we put them in pots so they wont grow so massive.
On Jun 5, 2006, Rainbowman18 from Weston, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:
I didn't know the true name (Americana) of this plant until this morning, but it is one of my favorite agaves. I have not seen the bloom spike yet, but I believe it also propagates by runners. I am definitely looking forward to multiplying this plant, if and when the time comes.
Bloom spike update: 12-26-06 I had had a 10-12 foot bloom spike on the plant now for a good few months. At first the spike throws out clumps of whispy yellow strands, first blooming at the bottom of the spike and traveling up.
Then the whisps are gone, only to later reveal tender little pups growing on the bloom spike, about an eigth of an inch large now. These are expected to mature a bit on the spike and then I will replant them in chosen spots.
All in all, having this plant in my landscape has been a really positive situation. I am definitely looking fowrd to having more of these plants in my self-propagating south Florida garden.
On Sep 22, 2005, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:
What was over planted in the 50's and 60's is not so commonly planted anymore. So they now really stand out as front yard plants. And if you remove suckers and worn or laying flat leaves with a pruning saw (makes a easy, clean cut) they actually look elegant with a vase shape. Plus, that helps them to fit in the urban garden.
On Jul 11, 2005, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:
We had this agave in the back of the yard, a rather useless area until we turned that area into a nursery. Now, I would rather have that space for my roses, but I am in awe of this magnificent plant, despite it's horrible thorns. I have tried to find it a home, but no one wants to tackle this baby. I would hate to see something like this become hacked up (it must be against my religion to intentionally kill a plant) so it might just stay. I was watering the plant for the first time to six years as we thought we had found a taker and I wanted to soil easy to dig. What a mistake. It's growing at twice it's normal speed. Those center spikes developed within a week. Those are now lying with all the rest and there is already an entirely new set in the center. OMG, What have I done??
On Jul 10, 2004, allatti2d from Littlerock, CA wrote:
Excellent/hardy grower (I live in the dry CA desert, where there are temperature extremes). CAUTION: DO NOT GROW AROUND small children play areas or pets!! Leaves are spiny and sharp, and tips of leaves have a sharp point that like to regrow after being clipped. I have read they will live a minimum of 30 years and grow to about 10' tall by 6' wide. They propegate VERY WELL and need almost NO WATERING. To propegate, use suckers from the base and plant in well-drained pot. Do not overwater!!!
They make nice potted plants, not a huge root system to worry about when they're young (first 3 years or so), please investigate yourself about mature plants. My neighbor has done an amazing thing with a couple of his plants -- he has removed the lower leaves of his 4' tall Agave to give the plant a tree-like appearance. I will try to put up pictures of his in the near future.
CAUTION: I have read that the sap or drippings are poisonous, so use utmost caution when you're around them! Above all, WEAR GLOVES whenever working with or around the leaves or they will poke you badly (good to have outside of windows to discourage robbers???)
The variegata form of Agave is a beautiful deep green succulent with yellow edging around each of its leaves. Drought-tolerant and cold-hardy, it can be damaged by overwatering. I had an extra plant lay out on the driveway unplanted and rootbare for 3 months and it is still alive and plantable!! They make beautiful border plants and showpieces.
The century plant will produce one large yellow flower on a very long stalk in 10-30 years (so I've read), and after a few weeks of this bloom, the plant will die along with its flower. New plants may be grown from seeds, or propegated from the suckers which pop out over the years.
I encourage more research on this plant, as some sites conflict with others (such as poison level and flowering time)... best to err on the side of caution, however.
On May 29, 2004, lilooker from Bossier City, LA wrote:
I have had this plant for three yrs and it has traveled with us. I got this plant in San Antonio as a gift from a lady that had a lot of them in her back yard.
I live in Bossier City ,La and planted it last Nov. almost lost it to frost. I do notice that if it gets to much water it starts to loose the leaves.
On Mar 19, 2003, Lavanda from Mcallen, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
As a lover of southwestern plants, cacti and succulents, I
love this and other agaves.
They are not to everyone's taste, but they are strikingly beautiful, and require very little water. Normally, they
only need water obtained from rain, nothing supplemental.
This plant is from the same family of the agaves used to
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Fountain Hills, Arizona Phoenix, Arizona Picture Rocks, Arizona , California Amesti, California Arroyo Grande, California August, California Casa De Oro-mount Helix, California Chico, California Granite Bay, California La Presa, California Manhattan Beach, California Paradise, California Reseda, California Romoland, California San Diego, California (2 reports) San Leandro, California Simi Valley, California Belleview, Florida Black Diamond, Florida Boca Raton, Florida Islamorada, Florida Lake Worth, Florida Naranja, Florida Niceville, Florida Palm Coast, Florida Saint Cloud, Florida Tallahassee, Florida Weston, Florida East Dublin, Georgia Shiloh, Georgia Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii Mathiston, Mississippi Las Vegas, Nevada Carnuel, New Mexico Roswell, New Mexico Kure Beach, North Carolina Bluffton, South Carolina East Sumter, South Carolina Austin, Texas Kerrville, Texas Round Rock, Texas San Antonio, Texas White Center, Washington