Agaves, often mistaken as cacti, are succulent plants, of the family Agavaceae. There are around 200-300 species, natives to Mexico, some parts of the United States, and South America. Most of the agave species are grown as ornamental plants, and are highly popular, as they require very little maintenance.
Most of the agave plants have thick, fleshy leaves that form rosettes. In general, these plants are low-growing shrubs with a short stem. In most species, the leaves have marginal spines and a sharp terminal spine. Most of them flower once a year, and the flowers develop on a tall stem that grows from the middle of the rosette.
Planting an Agave
It will be better to add some crushed gravel to the pot, before putting the potting mixture. The potting mixture can be made by mixing equal parts of soil and pumice. While full sun is good for mature plants, it has been observed that young plants prefer filtered sun.
How to Care for an Agave Plant
Though agaves require very less water; young plants need regular watering. You have to water these plants till they establish themselves. In dry climate, water them once or twice a month. In other conditions, water them only if the soil gets too dry for the plant to survive. However, avoid cold water for these plants.
During winter, the plant gets dormant; and it will be better to keep it in bright light, at a temperature level of 60°F. Fertilizing is usually not recommended for agave plants, as it may promote flowering, which leads to the death of the plant. However, small amounts of fertilizer can be used for young plants.
In case of agaves, the most commonly found pest is the agave snout weevil, that bores through the leaves, and causes the death of the plant. In such cases, you can either use an insecticide meant for beetles and grubs, or destroy the plant. Some types of fungi and mites may also attack agave plants, for which antifungal treatments and miticides can be used.