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Agave bracteosa (Candelabrum Agave)

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Scientific Name

Agave bracteosa S.Watson ex Engelm.

Common Names

Candelabrum Agave, Spider Agave, Squid Agave

Scientific Classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Agave

Description

Agave bracteosa is a slow-growing succulent with rosettes, up to 1 foot (30 cm) tall and up to 18 inches (45 cm) across, of spineless, pale green leaves. The leaves, which usually number 20 or fewer, emerge vertically in the center and arch gracefully back towards the outside of the plant. This succulent suckers to gradually form a dense stand. When plants mature, a up to 5 foot (1.5 m) tall spike bears a dense terminal cluster of white flowers, distinctive from all other Agaves. After flowering the main rosette slowly dies but younger suckers perpetuate the plant.

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 8a to 11b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Agaves are not difficult plants to grow. They are slow-growing and dramatic and will even thrive on a bit of neglect. If you are 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 are 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, Agave 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 is also best to handle your plant 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.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Agave.

Origin

Agave bracteosa is native to the Sierra Madre Oriental of Mexico, in the states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Nuevo León.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids

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