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Furcraea foetida (Mauritius Hemp)


Scientific Name

Furcraea foetida (L.) Haw.

Common Names

Mauritius Hemp, Mauritian Hemp, Giant Cabuya, Green Aloe, Cuba Hemp, Cuban Hemp, False Agave, Giant False Agave, Giant Lily


Agave bulbosa, Agave commelyni, Agave foetida, Agave gigantea, Agave madagascariensis, Aloe foetida, Fourcroya gigantea, Funium piliferum, Furcraea atroviridis, Furcraea barillettii, Furcraea commelyni, Furcraea gigantea, Furcraea madagascariensis, Furcraea viridis, Furcraea watsoniana

Scientific Classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Furcraea


Furcraea foetida is an evergreen succulent subshrub, a close relative to Agave. It is stemless or with a short stem and up to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall. The leaves are sword-shaped, up to 6 feet (1.8 m) long and up to 6 inches (15 cm) wide at their widest point. The margins are entire or with a few hooked spines. The flowers are strongly scented, greenish to creamy white, and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long. They are produced on a large inflorescence up to 25 feet (7.5 m) tall.

Furcraea foetida (Mauritius Hemp)

Photo by B and T World Seeds


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, 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 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.


Furcraea foetida is native to the Caribbean and northern South America.


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