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Agave applanata (Gray Agave)


Scientific Name

Agave applanata K.Koch

Common Names

Gray Agave, Gray Century Plant


Agave applanata var. spectabilis, Agave cinerascens, Agave spectabilis

Scientific Classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Agave


This species is native to the middle elevations of the mountains in Central Mexico (mostly found in Veracruz and Puebla, but also in Chihuahua, Durango, Queretaro, and Oaxaca).


Agave applanata is a succulent that usually forms solitary rosettes of silvery-blue to gray-green leaves with sharp dark brown to black marginal teeth and long dark reddish-brown terminal spine that become greyish with age. The rosettes grow up to 6.6 feet (2 m) in diameter, occasionally producing few offsets. Leaves are marked with bud imprints. They are up to 3.3 feet (8 m) long and up to 7 inches (18 cm) wide. Flowers are bright yellow, shortly tubular, and appear in clusters on up to 26.2 feet (8 m) tall spike in spring, usually after 15 to 25 years.

The specific epithet "applanata" derives from the Latin "applanatus," meaning "flattened or horizontally expanded" and almost certainly refers to the appearance of young plants, but does not apply to adult plants.

How to Grow and Care for Agave applanata

Light: These plants require full sun to part shade. If you are growing Agaves indoors, choose a bright, sunny window with as much sun possible. Agave plants love going outside from spring to fall.

Soil: Agaves will tolerate most soils as long as they have good drainage, but their preference is sandy or rocky soil.

Hardiness: Agave applanata can withstand temperatures as low as 10 to 40 °F (-12.2 to 4.4 °C), USDA hardiness zones 8a to 10b.

Watering: Mature plants are very drought tolerant. From spring to fall, water thoroughly your Agave when the soil mix becomes dry. In winter, water sparingly about once a month. Plants in containers require more frequent watering than those in the ground.

Fertilizing: Give your Agaves a small amount of fertilizer in the spring during the first two years.

Repotting: When the pot becomes full of roots, it has become pot-bound. If you notice you Agave becoming pot-bound, repot it with new soil in a new pot that is just slightly larger than the old one.

Propagation: Since it can take years to produce seeds, Agaves are usually propagated by offsets.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Agave.

Toxicity of Agave applanata

Agave applanata is not toxic to humans, but it may be mildly poisonous to children and pets.


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