On Nov 22, 2010, IMAMano from Scottsdale, AZ wrote:
Use caution when trimming or removing as the sap can cause considerable pain, itching and blistering when it gets on your skin as I learned two days ago.
After using a chain saw to remove and/or trim several plants my forearms began to itch causing me to rub them with the leather gloves I was wearing for protection from the sharp spines. My arms instantly began to burn in the worst way.
A combination of a shower, first-aid spray and Benedryl brought some relief but today both arms are covered in red blisters. Very unpleasant!
On May 16, 2010, TexasPuddyPrint from Edinburg, TX wrote:
This plant might be pretty to look at but I found out what a demon it is! Talk about the pain of hell and being on fire! YIKES!!! I had a friend cut back one that was growing in the back alley by my fence gate. I had no problem moving piling up the leaves but when I got the hose to rinse out the pole saw that debris splashed over my hands and arms. Talk about instant pain! My arms and hands were itching and burning! It felt 100 times worse than when you handle fiberglass! This reminds me getting zapped by an asp caterpillar!!!
I jumped into the shower and then applied some hydrocortisone cream. Relief at last!
It was only today that I googled for century plant allergies that I came upon the Dave's posts. Wish I'd known about it earlier!!! I had no idea this plant was such a demon! UGH!!!
On Apr 14, 2010, portorangeflorida from Port Orange, FL wrote:
I didn't know anything about this plant before I tried to prune it with a chainsaw. What a mistake. My legs and stomach were covered with an instant burn and soon after red and blisters. I have looked and looked for some answers to help ease the pain and a remedy but not much luck other than 4 weeks to heal. Any help or information would be greatly appreciated. I live in the Daytona Beach, Florida area.
On Oct 26, 2009, rancherrich from Austin, TX wrote:
I have Agaves in my front yard and at my ranch where i am cultivating them for sale. I actually really like the plants. They are easy to grow and maintain. Beware of Agave beetles, however. They can devastate a stand of plants in a matter of days! I found only one place in the US that sells the granules that will kill the beetles and it was in PA of all places.
Caution: do not "trim" the leaves with a chainsaw unless you are covered from head to toe. I used a chainsaw to trim some leaves that were posing a potential hazard to pedestrians in front of my home and the sap got on my arms (the only uncovered part of my body) and within 10 minutes my arms were ON FIRE! I scrubbed thoroghly, took some Benadryl and still got a few small blisters. According to the Internet, the sap contains oxalate crystals and saponins, a substance that, when contacted with skin, can cause vascular damage!!
On Dec 26, 2008, mikey51h from Palm Coast, FL wrote:
This plant will grow just about anywhere there is at least 5 hours of full sun and in a relatively dry location with good drainedge, growing at a moderate rate to about 3-4 feet high and about the same in width when fully mature. It will do well if applied with a well balanced fertilizer (12-12-12) 1 to 2 times per month during the spring and summer. Cold tolerant down to about 30°. Will send out pups for easy propagation. I find this to be an exceptional decorative and ornamental plant. However, the only downfall is its spines and very sharp leaf tips. Some people find the sap to be toxic. Use care and caution when handling and transplanting. Thick leatherpalm gloves up to the elbow is a good choice.
On Mar 19, 2008, jckristafer from San Francisco, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:
Agave is a beautiful plant, but be careful! My mother recently cut some down with a chain saw, only to find that that she is very allergic to its juice. Some splattered on her legs and very quickly it began to burn, and eventually blistered.
I was born and raised in a house where this plant grew. Our soil was lakebed sand. This plant grew behind our carport for the 18 years I lived there and grew to about 10-12'. It was a very pretty plant, but you really had to respect it. The spines are very sharp, as well as the edges of the leaves. The sap is also very smelly.
When I was 18, after living with this plant my entire life, suddenly a stalk shot up from the center of the plant, growing 30' high in a few weeks! A few more weeks, and we had 30' high flowers towering over our carport. On of the most spectacular things I have ever seen from a plant in my life.
A few months later, the plant died and sprouted several pups.
On May 3, 2005, cacti_lover from Henderson, NV (Zone 9b) wrote:
I don't seem to have problems with this plant either. It grew quite fast in the past three years, but only produced two pups. I cut one out to plant in another area, but it was slow to react. It can get frost-bitten, but usually recovers if the damage is not too extensive. I had another planted on my front yard that died due to freezing temperatures, so they are not very cold hardy. Still, they are beautiful plants that seem to behave well in my yard.
On Jan 26, 2005, ForrestGump from Melbourne, FL wrote:
I think this plant is fascinating. The little suckers are easy to pull up from the ground by hand, roots and all. Just stick them in the ground somewhere and they will take root. I usually don't even water the suckers after ripping them from the ground, and they STILL take root and grow - even in sand. When God designed this plant, He really designed a tough one.
On Jul 11, 2004, TucsonJen from Tucson, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:
The one at my old house finally bloomed, died, and tipped over. It was glorious. It produced only a handful of adjacent offspring which were easily transplanted to our outer desert or given to friends. Removing the dead plant was a chore due to its size but we had no problem with it beyond the exercise involved. We've planted a new one by the pool at our new home and it's quite dramatic. It has already produced offspring right next to it that I will move out a to a bare patch in the desert as soon as the monsoons loosen up the soil for me. I'm actually happy to see them! My husband and I are not allergic to the sap, thank goodness!
I hadn't known to worry about it spreading into the rest of the cactus garden and I'm hoping its roots won't tunnel out of its confined area and out under the deck!
acbgallery - If you are allergic then you may want to pay someone to dig it out for you - or chain it to a truck and pull it like a tree trunk. You have a pretty darn serious allergy and it's also risky that you toddler may, too!
On Jun 11, 2004, acbgallery from Austin, TX wrote:
This plant is a horror. I live in Texas and planted the century plant not knowing what a big mistake this was. It has spread and I tried to chop it and the sap gave me a severe allergic skin reaction and difficulty breathing. I want it out of my garden as I have a toddler but having not much luck. Any help or suggestions would be much appreciated. I have two palm trees next to it so I don't want to kill them by spraying any chemicals. Is there any way to inject the plant or any other way to rid of it and kill it once and for all? Uprooting it is very very difficult. I have been searching the internet for answers over weeks, this plant is deadly.
This agave has spread all over and I agree it will come up near the base of other plants and it's hard to remove..I also thought it was a pretty agave but didn't know the growth habits of the plant. Lesson learned find out the growth habits of a plant before planting it.....I must admit it is a pretty agave...and hard to resist if you see it at a nursery
On Aug 19, 2003, palmbob from Tarzana, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:
This was a cute little Agave I bought at a local succulent sale one year- attractive, slightly spiny at the time and had a nice variegation. Nothing was told to me about its growth habit. Be careful where you plant this thing- it will spread everywhere. I was beginning to discover that nearly all Agaves suckered profusely, and becoming less enchanted with them as they began to take over the cactus garden - limited somewhat on space, even though I did have over 500 species of plants in it.
I was already battling the Agave americana I had planted that was spreading out of control, but this species is far more insidious. Its roots travel quite a distance- up to 10-12' from the mother plant and shoot up everywhere little spiny offspring. They love to grow right out of the middle of another plant making their removal a challenge. And they are viciously spiny and fast growing. I dug out the mother plant and battled the babies for two years until the garden recently aquired a new owner. Good luck!
I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure Agave angustifolia marginata, and Agave angustifolia variegata are all the same as this plant... just fancy names added on by a nursery or seller to perk up the interests of the would-be buyer.
Just a note... I had never known nor had it ever occured to me to take a chain saw to an Agave like this until I read all the above posts. Not sure why one wouldn't just cut the leaves with a knife (they are quite easy to cut, and I'm sure you geta a nicer finished product than what you would with a chain saw). But did not know about the inflammatory sap until now... guess next time you'll use a knife instead?
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Grenoble, Bakerhill, Alabama Lillian, Alabama Orange Beach, Alabama Fountain Hills, Arizona Meadview, Arizona Phoenix, Arizona Picture Rocks, Arizona (2 reports) Tucson, Arizona Encino, California Hidden Valley Lake, California Irvine, California Reseda, California San Dimas, California Sun Valley, California Valley Center, California Yorba Linda, California Boynton Beach, Florida Brandon, Florida Cape Canaveral, Florida Clearwater, Florida Gifford, Florida Kendall, Florida Oldsmar, Florida Orlando, Florida Palm Coast, Florida Patrick Afb, Florida South Venice, Florida St Augustine, Florida Weston, Florida Kealakekua, Hawaii Lake Charles, Louisiana Metairie, Louisiana Kansas City, Missouri Henderson, Nevada Summerville, South Carolina Arlington, Texas