Botanical Name — Agave schidigera
Common Name — Century Plant
Plant Family — Asparagaceae
Agave schidigera is native to rocky cliffs in north and central Mexico. Rosettes can grow up to three feet across and two feet tall. Thick, succulent leaves with sharp terminal spines form compact rosettes. This monocarpic plant flowers once it reaches maturity, dying shortly thereafter. This species rarely produces offsets. The specific epithet from Latin translates to “bearing a splinter of wood” and references the marginal fibers on leaf blades.
- Agave schidigera grows best in full sun, though it is tolerant of light shade.
- Agave plants prefer warm temperatures, thriving in climates above 60 ºF.
- This species of agave is not cold hardy and will start to decline at temperatures below 25 ºF.
- Though these agaves are tolerant of drought, they prefer regular watering during the growing season. Allow soil to dry completely, then water thoroughly.
- Agave do best in well-drained, gritty soil. Cacti or succulent mix is perfect, or amend regular potting soil with pumice or sand up to 50% to improve drainage.
- Agave schidigera are monocarpic, blooming once and then dying. They will bloom when mature. This can take anywhere from 10 to 25 years. Plants grown indoors rarely flower.
- This species typically blooms in late summer, from July to August. Rosettes will send up an 11-foot tall stalk from which greenish-yellow flowers will bloom in clusters and the terminal end of the stalk.
- Though fertilization is not necessary these plants can benefit from fertilizer during the spring and summer seasons when it is receiving consistent watering. Use a fertilizer specially formulated for cacti and succulents. Do not fertilize during the fall or winter when agave is not actively growing.
- Fertilizer can improve chances of flowering, but because this plant is monocarpic fertilization can effectively speed up death.
- Agave Can be propagated from offsets at the base of the plant. Plants rarely produce offsets so seeds are the most straightforward means of propagating.
- Fresh seeds germinate readily.
- No serious insect or disease problems. Keep an eye out for agave weevils. Slugs and snails can damage foliage.
- Poorly drained soils can lead to root rot
Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)
- Agave have shallow root systems and like to be pot-bound. Repotting can be done very infrequently, about once every two to three years.
- Many agave produce a sap that is highly irritant to skin and soft tissues if ingested. Specific details on this plant are not well document but as a measure of safety, the plant should be kept out of reach of children and pets. Leaves also possess sharp spines that can wound a child or pet.