Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Sharkskin Agave
Agave nickelsiae x scabra 'Sharkskin'

Family: Agavaceae (ah-gav-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Agave (a-GAH-vee) (Info)
Species: nickelsiae x scabra
Cultivar: Sharkskin

Synonym:Agave asperrima x ferdinandi-regis
Synonym:Agave ferdinandi-regis x scabra
Synonym:Agave asperrima x victoriae-reginae
Synonym:Agave scabra x victoriae-reginae

One vendor has this plant for sale.

15 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)
12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

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

Bloom Color:
Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

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

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

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

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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By palmbob
Thumbnail #1 of Agave nickelsiae x scabra by palmbob

By palmbob
Thumbnail #2 of Agave nickelsiae x scabra by palmbob

Thumbnail #3 of Agave nickelsiae x scabra by ALTER_EGO

Thumbnail #4 of Agave nickelsiae x scabra by ALTER_EGO

Thumbnail #5 of Agave nickelsiae x scabra by ALTER_EGO

Thumbnail #6 of Agave nickelsiae x scabra by ALTER_EGO

By cactus_lover
Thumbnail #7 of Agave nickelsiae x scabra by cactus_lover

There are a total of 22 photos.
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6 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive photojack53 On Aug 31, 2014, photojack53 from San Diego, CA wrote:

I just found an interesting source for this plant in the San Diego area. I found overgrown 1 gallon plants for $9.98 each and had several to choose from. The pots were crowded with offsets, so I chose one with 4 showing at the top, around the parent plant and three poking out through the drainage holes. When I carefully cut it out of the pot, it had 10 pups. Quite a litter!
I found this beauty at Moon Nursery right beside the I-15 freeway between Escondido and Fallbrook. The stout leaves really do have a texture like sharkskin, something I've never felt on any other plant of any type. I'm looking forward to adding this plant to my mother's Agave garden that I created for her in Fallbrook. I'll add some small pups to the trade section here.

Positive hampson On Mar 27, 2013, hampson from Kingman, AZ (Zone 8b) wrote:

Will this plant die after blooming?

Positive upshotphx On Feb 4, 2013, upshotphx from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

My favorite agave. Here in Phoenix, can benefit from a few hours of shade during summer. Otherwise a beautiful plant and a wonderful addition to any desert garden. It offsets about 2 per year and I plant them all around my yard.

Positive Joan2 On Jun 8, 2010, Joan2 from Lancaster, CA wrote:

I planted several shark skin agaves one gal size about 6 years ago. This spring 2 have bloom stocks. They have not quite completed but so far the bloom stocks are about 20 ft high. At about 15 ft flower cluster shoots about 6 in are starting every 6 in up the stock. They are still buds, I am awaiting to see how they will look. I have tried to find pictures of blooming shark skins on the net but only see under blooms-rarely.

Neutral BajaBlue On Jun 27, 2009, BajaBlue from Rancho Santa Rita, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Agave 'Sharkskin' (Sharkskin Agave) - This structural succulent plant grows to 3 feet tall with evenly spaced thick triangular dark gray-green leaves that have smooth margins and prominent sturdy
terminal spines. Plant suckers to produce colonies of this beautiful plant. Plant in full sun. Little irrigation required. The Shark Skin Agave came from the Huntington Botanic Garden and is a naturally occurring hybrid of the ferdinandi-regis form of Agave victoriae-reginae (these two plants, once considered separate species have more recently been synonymized) crossed with of subspecies of Agave scabra, a plant that now considered to be a subspecies of Agave asperrima. The common name Shark Skin was applied due to this plant's texture and color - some use this
common name as a cultivar name (which is less of a mouthful than
Agave x ferdinandi-regis x scabra).

Another name that is sometimes applied to this plant is Agave 'Ruth Bancroft'. Although some of the plants in cultivation may have been distributed by this very fine botanic garden in Walnut Creek, CA, this name is confusing and not supported by Ruth Bancroft Garden Plant Curator Brian Kemble. Plants from the Ruth Bancroft Garden were supplied to a tissue culture lab by Yucca Do nursery and some are now calling the resulting plants
'Sharkskin Shoes' to differentiate them from plants originating at the Huntington Botanic Garden. plants grown originating from both of these gardens side by side and have found little if any differences between these two plants once the plants mature.

Positive cactus_lover On Aug 10, 2007, cactus_lover from FSD
Pakistan (Zone 10b) wrote:

Stemless rosettes with numerous grey-green to light green leaves.It is a Natural Hybrid

Positive palmbob On Feb 17, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Popular hybrid with lots of ornamental appeal- has large, thick, very stiff leaves with a big terminal spine and the texture of shark skin (rough like sandpaper).

To question asked above about plant dying after blooming, yes (that is what monocarpic means).


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

Chandler Heights, Arizona
Kingman, Arizona
Mesa, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Tucson, Arizona
Fresno, California
Hesperia, California
Mission Viejo, California
Pittsburg, California
Ramona, California
San Diego, California
Sherman Oaks, California
Weaverville, California
Easton, Maryland
Blue Diamond, Nevada
Mesilla Park, New Mexico
Austin, Texas
Spring Branch, Texas

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