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Agave salmiana (Giant Agave)


Scientific Name

Agave salmiana Otto ex Salm-Dyck

Common Names

Giant Agave, Pulque Agave, Century Plant


Agave salmiana var. salmiana, Agave tehuacanensis, Agave mitriformis, Agave dyckii, Agave lehmannii

Scientific Classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Agave


Agave salmiana is a succulent plant that forms a large rosette of thick, dark green leaves with a large point at the tip and strong spines on the edges. The leaves grow up to 5 feet (1.5 m) long. It flowers after 15 to 25 years, producing a vertical floral stem, typically up to 13 feet (4 m) long and bearing greenish-yellow flowers.


USDA hardiness zone 8a to 11b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °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.


Native to central and southern Mexico.

Varieties and Cultivars


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