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Agave ovatifolia (Whale's Tongue Agave)

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Scientific Name

Agave ovatifolia G.D.Starr & Villarreal

Common Names

Whale's Tongue Agave

Scientific Classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Agave

Description

Agave ovatifolia is a succulent that forms a solitary rosette of short, wide, gray leaves that are distinctively cupped. The rosette grows up to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall and up to 6 feet (1.8 m) in diameter. Leaves have small teeth along their margins and a dark gray, 1 inch (2.5 cm) long terminal spine. When the rosette flowers, it forms an up to 14 foot (4.2 m) tall spike with greenish-yellow flowers.

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 7b to 11b: from 5 °F (−15 °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, 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 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 a 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.

Origin

Agave ovatifolia is native to Mexico.

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