Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Squid Agave
Agave bracteosa

Family: Agavaceae (ah-gav-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Agave (a-GAH-vee) (Info)
Species: bracteosa (brak-tee-OH-suh) (Info)

13 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

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)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us


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

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

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

Click thumbnail
to view:

By catevala
Thumbnail #1 of Agave bracteosa by catevala

By palmbob
Thumbnail #2 of Agave bracteosa by palmbob

By palmbob
Thumbnail #3 of Agave bracteosa by palmbob

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #4 of Agave bracteosa by Xenomorf

By Happenstance
Thumbnail #5 of Agave bracteosa by Happenstance

By palmbob
Thumbnail #6 of Agave bracteosa by palmbob

By frostweed
Thumbnail #7 of Agave bracteosa by frostweed

There are a total of 41 photos.
Click here to view them all!


3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Fires_in_motion On Aug 14, 2011, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I got mine in 2006 or so, as small plant, knowing nothing about it. I've found the hard way that it prefers partial shade over full sun, so I now keep it in my screened back porch, where it gets morning sun and late afternoon / early evening sun. It developed fungal problems from me putting it into a way-too-big plastic pot, but with only twice-monthly waterings, that has completely gone away. It has flourished... See my photo for proof. I just noticed several pups on it today for the first time; my plant is about 7 years old, I estimate. I had been wondering if it was the 'Calamar' variety, which supposedly grows solitarily, but I guess it's not. (Though the pups on mine are way out on the edge of the pot, not coming off of the main trunk, so maybe it is a 'Calamar'?) If you like the look of A. bracteosa, you might also want to get an A. gypsophila. Both to me look more like crinums or aloes than agaves, giving them a unique tropical (rather than desert-y) look and making them nice conversation pieces.

Overall summary: Hardy down to (allegedly) 10, spine-free, elegant, tolerant of humidity... Need I say more? Truly a special agave that everyone in America should own. Hard to find in cultivation, so if you ever see one, be sure to snap it up. (I've only seen one other for sale in the 5 years since I bought mine, and I intend to go back and buy it soon. Amazingly, I almost gave mine away recently, until learning more about it and falling in love with it all over again.)

Positive steinbeck On Nov 6, 2010, steinbeck from Dallas, TX wrote:

I've had my squid agave for almost a year and it has a new offshoot already. It seems to be very tolerant of the heat in Dallas, does well if not watered for a week at a time even in the heat. It is beautiful and not unfriendly at the tips as many agave are. I hate to think the mother plant will die when it flowers (didn't know that till I read the info). At least I will have a new offshoot. Morning sun and afternoon shade is what I have been told by Redentas Gardens and it has been doing well with that. Love this web site.

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

I have not grown this plant which is also known as the "octopus agave" and is native to Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
It is hardy from Zone 7b to 10. Being spineless and toothless, it is an exellent choice for growing in a container. Forming colonies by producing offsets in its native habitat, the 24 inch wide rosettes of bright-green leaves resemble a group of octopi laying amongst the rocks and boulders and hanging from cliffs. The 3 foot tall bloom spikes have numerous cream to yellow colored flowers. Being quite adaptable, it can thrive in sun or deep shade and is more moisture tolerant than most agave; but, the soil must be well drained.

Positive palmbob On Jan 14, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is one of my favorite Agaves, being very attractive AND user-friendly. It looks a lot like an Aloe. But it is monocarpic, so once it flowers, that's it. There has been some controversy to whether this species is ALWAYs monocarpic, and I can't answer that... but in most of the colonies I have seen the plants with mature flowers always seem to be dying, and I have seen many dead with old flowers on them, so it appears to be at least 'mostly' monocarpic... if there is such a thing. There is another Agave known as the Octopus agave, showing the shortcomings of using common names in plants. This is a slow growing plant, very slowly offsetting and forming a large colony of plants. Variegated forms occur (but listed elsewhere in plant files).


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

Chandler Heights, Arizona
Fountain Hills, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Queen Creek, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Bostonia, California
Chula Vista, California
Clayton, California
Hesperia, California
Norwalk, California
Reseda, California
San Leandro, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Miami, Florida
Mesilla Park, New Mexico
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas (3 reports)
Dallas, Texas
Houston, Texas
Portland, Texas
San Antonio, Texas

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America