Century plant

Agave americana | Also known as: Maguey, American aloe, Mexican soap plant Agave altissima | Rating: 2 votes | Print / Pdf

In reality the century plant only lives 10-30 years, but it might yet outlive you, as the spines can pierce skin right through to the bone – ouch!

Agave Americana is also known as century plant or American aloe although it is not actually a member of the aloe family. The name century plant refers to the long lifespan of the plant, but it is actually a misnomer, it only lives up to around thirty years. The leaves are large, around 6ft long, fleshy and spiky, growing in rosettes around 13 feet across. The flowers are quite impressive, growing on spikes up to 26 feet high. The flowers themselves are large and yellow in colour, however you'll be lucky to see the flowers as it only blooms at the end of its long life. After which the plant dies, but it sends out suckers from which grow new plants.

Rate it:
Known dangers?
  • no
Height [m]
  • 2
Spread [m]
  • 3
Dominant flower colour
  • Green
Flower Fragrance
  • No, neutral please
Flowering seasons
  • Early summer
  • Mid summer
  • Late summer
Foliage in spring
  • Grey-green
Foliage in summer
  • Grey-green
Foliage in Autumn
  • Grey-green
Foliage in winter
  • Grey-green
  • Yes, let it smell
Propagation methods
  • seed
  • offsets
Growth habit
  • Rosette
  • Spreading
  • Acidic
  • Neutral
Hardiness zone
  • Z9-11
Heat zone
  • H12-5
Winter temperatures [°C]
  • -7 - 4
Heat days
  • 30 - 210
  • well-drained
Soil type
  • sandy
  • loams
Sun requirements
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered
Standard category
  • Cacti & succulents
  • Succulents
Grown for
  • Ornamental foliage and habit
Creative category
  • For Beginners
  • Show-offs
  • Author's choice
Garden type
  • Coastal
  • Containers
  • City
  • Mediterranean garden
Garden spaces
  • Specimen
  • Architectural
  • Borders
Gardening expertise
  • beginner
Time to reach full size
  • up to 20 years
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