How to Care for Your Agave Plant

An agave plant is an excellent low-maintenance choice for gardens and houseplants. These succulents seem to thrive on neglect, but they will need an occasional drink of water to keep them from dying.

Planting Agave
Caring for your agave plant is simple. They require soil that has good drainage. They do prefer rocky soil, but will grow fine in a rich, loamy soil, if it is well-drained. For houseplants, make sure you've got good drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Tossing an inch of crushed stone or gravel into the bottom of the pot, before you add your potting mix, will help with drainage.

If you have heavy clay soil, you can mix pumice or gravel into the soil around the agave. This will lighten the soil a little and allow for better drainage.

Plant your agave in a sunny location. They are very heat tolerant. Make sure to position the crown of the plant above the soil line, which prevents disease. Right after planting, as the agave establishes itself in the garden, is the only time that they demand a lot of water. For the first month or two after planting them, give the agave water every day.

Agave Care
After the plant is well established, it needs minimal water. If you live in a low-desert climate, water the agave about twice a month during the summer. In other locations, you may never need to water it unless you experience a severe drought. For houseplants, provide a good soaking and let the soil dry out before watering again. Be sure to use warm water, as cold water will shock the plant.

Most agaves do not require fertilization. Fertilizing encourages flowering; this is a great way to get agave nectar and make some agave syrup, but it's also the end for most agave varieties, which die after they flower. Agaves go dormant in wintetime and should only get a small amount of water

Garden agaves do have a pest, the Agave Snout Weevil. This tunneling insect bores into the center of the plant and lays eggs. The infected plants get leaf wilt and then collapse. The only effective method of control is to remove and destroy the infected plant. 

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