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Agave bovicornuta (Cow Horn Agave)


Scientific Name

Agave bovicornuta Gentry

Common Names

Cow Horn Agave

Scientific Classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Agave


Agave bovicornuta is a beautiful small to medium-sized Agave that forms an open, solitary rosette of up to 30 inches (76 cm) long and up to 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) wide, yellow-green to pale green leaves that are widest in the middle. The rosette grows up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall and up to 5 feet (1.5 m) in diameter. The leaf blades are attractively edged with large, reddish, dark brown teeth, some recurving back towards the base, and others towards the leaf tip, which has a short, stout terminal spine. The leaf surfaces are decorated by impressions (bud imprints) made by the margins of other leaves as they emerge from the center of growth, and the new leaves have an attractive satiny finish. When the plant matures, which usually takes 12 years or more, it produces up to 23 foot (7 m) tall, branched inflorescence that bears up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, yellow and green flowers.

Photo by Michael B. Roberts‎


USDA hardiness zone 8b to 11b: from 15 °F (−9.4 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Agave is not a difficult plant to grow. They're slow-growing and dramatic and will even thrive on a bit of neglect. If you're the type of person who likes to fuss with houseplants and water a lot, Agave is probably not the plant for you. If, however, you're the type of person who likes to set it and forget it, and you have a sunny window, Agave might the way to go. Be aware that some of the large varieties will eventually outgrow your room (unless you have a large greenhouse), and Agave can be aggressive. They have irritating sap and sometimes very sharp thorns that can cause injuries to small children and even pets.

In general, Agaves do not need to be repotted every year. Most of the species commonly found in cultivation grow very slowly and will take a long time to outgrow their pot. It's also best to handle your Agave as little as possible since they do not like to be disturbed. When you do repot, refresh the spent soil with new potting mix and make sure the plant is firmly anchored in its pot. However, be careful not to pot the Agave too deep as that will encourage stem rot during the growing season. See more at How to Grow and Care for Agave.


Agave bovicornuta is native to mountainous regions in the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Sonora, and Sinaloa.


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