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Agave isthmensis (Dwarf Butterfly Agave)


Scientific Name

Agave isthmensis A.García-Mend. & F.Palma

Common Names

Dwarf Butterfly Agave

Scientific Classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Agave


Agave isthmensis a small, offsetting Agave with rosettes up to 1 foot (30 cm) tall and about the same in diameter. The leaves are up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long and up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide, powder gray-blue, ovate, narrow towards the base and widest near the tip. They have a slightly gritty texture and margins that have shallow, rounded lobes with prominent, dark reddish-brown teeth and a terminal spine. The flower stalk can reach up to 7 feet (2.1 m) tall with short side branches bearing yellow flowers.

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USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °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.


Agave isthmensis is native to Mexico.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids


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