Agave, Smooth Agave, Dwarf Century Plant, Variegated Smooth Century Plant 'Variegata'

Agave desmettiana

Family: Asparagaceae
Genus: Agave (a-GAH-vee) (Info)
Species: desmettiana (de-smet-ee-AY-na) (Info)
Cultivar: Variegata


Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Partial to Full Shade


Grown for foliage


Good Fall Color

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Mid Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From leaf cuttings

From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

From bulbils

This plant is monocarpic

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Goodyear, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Clayton, California

Fairfield, California

Fresno, California

Granite Bay, California

Greenbrae, California

Mission Viejo, California

Spring Valley, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Holiday, Florida

Lecanto, Florida

Loxahatchee, Florida (2 reports)

Sarasota, Florida (2 reports)

Vero Beach, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Austin, Texas

Houston, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 28, 2018, bluewater_2 from Loxahatchee, FL wrote:

When I purchased my small farm, there was a small nursery at the front of the property with a number of these and other plants growing. The house had next to no landscaping, so I planted all of them. 4 years later two of them are starting to bloom. One stalk is parallel to the eve of the roof and the other is a couple feet shorter. Both are still growing. They are fairly impressive looking, especially as I look at the 20 or more others around it not blooming. As it is a farm, and I kind of have a motto of "if you can't eat it, why grow it?" I'm curious about this one... other agave can be harvested for nectar/juice or hemp, etc. How about this one? Anyone know?


On Mar 31, 2018, DMichael from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

Agave desmettiana var. variegata is one of only a dozen or so Agave sp. that will perform well in Ft Lauderdale, FLs subtropical / tropical 10b climate, and is one of the most attractive Agave species, as well as of a manageable size for landscaping, which can be grown here.


On Feb 21, 2015, keimanu from Bellair-Meadowbrook Terrace, FL wrote:

I live in Jacksonville Florida and a hard freeze with temps barely below freezing for several ours has turned my unprotected dwarf variegated agave to mush....clearly NOT a suitable plant for zone 9A or areas that freeze


On Sep 16, 2011, BUFFY690 from Prosperity, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Got a pup growing out, going to find a nice out of the way area to let it get BIG


On Sep 16, 2009, lhstiles from Greenbrae, CA wrote:

Seems to grow in either part shade or full sun here in Bay Area. Young plants need irrigation, or they seem to dry up quickly; however when mature, they can get by with only occasional water, though they appreciate and grow faster with regular irrigation.


On Jan 26, 2009, wormfood from Lecanto, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Mine got hit by the freeze (Jan.09) but I believe the center is alright. Time will tell. It got down to 21*


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

I have not grown this plant. It is happier in a shady area.


On Jan 27, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a nice looking agave and relatively user friendly... called a smooth agave since the leaves have no, or few spines along the edges, and they're pretty soft and rubbery (still a nasty terminal spine, though, so careful with your eyeballs!)... very common species in landscaping in So Cal (more so than the non-variegated variety). It is a bit on the invasive side, though, suckeing madly but fortunately not too far from the mother plant. It reproduces in a way not listed on the possibilities above, along with the usual seed and offset production. Sometimes bulbils will form on the flower stalk and little plantlets will grow there... all ready to just stick in the ground (see photo). This is one of the more cold sensitive agaves and won't take a whole lot of frost, though mine have ... read more