Agave shawii Engelm.
Coastal Agave, Shaw's Agave
The specific epithet "shawii (SHAW-ee-eye)" honors Henry Shaw (1800-1889), an English-born American businessman, philanthropist, amateur botanist, and founder of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Missouri.
Agave shawii is a succulent plant that forms rosettes of green narrow-ovate leaves with a variable pattern of red sharp marginal teeth and a stiff terminal spine. The rosettes grow up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall and up to 4 feet (1.2 m) in diameter. Leaves are narrow-ovate, up to 20 inches (50 cm) long, and up to 8 inches (20 cm) wide.
The panicle-like inflorescence grows up to 13 feet (4 m) tall and 8 to 14 lateral flower clusters subtended by large purple bracts. Each cluster consists of a mass of yellowish or reddish flowers. This plant generally blooms late winter into early summer, and as typical for Agaves, the rosette dies after that but produces numerous offsets, forming a large colony.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °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. On the other hand, if you're the type of person who likes to set it and forget it, and you have a sunny window, Agave might be the way to go. Be aware that some 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 injure small children and even pets.
In general, Agaves do not need to be repotted every year. Most species commonly found in cultivation grow very slowly and 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.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Agave.
Agave shawii is native to California's coastal sage and chaparral habitats along the Pacific Coast of northern Baja California state of Mexico and southwesternmost San Diego County of California.
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