Although Agave attenuata grows to 1m and is grown mainly for the grey green foliage it does have a spectacular flowers spike reaching over 2m in height. The flower is a single spike and becuase of the shear size it bends under its own weight. The actual infloresences open from the lower part of the spike, progressively upwards it looks a little like a huge foxtail, hence the common name.
Used widely in landscaping for the strong architectural lines of the foliage, for many the flower itself is an unwanted occurrence as this indicates that the main plant will die. Agaves are monocarpic, they flower once and die after flowering. However the offshoots will soon replace the old plant.
These are a plant that are easy to grow in hot dry climates, Agave attenuata perform well in containers as well as drainage is excellent. For great foliage try to protect the plant from the extremes of the afternoon sun, this prevents sunburn.
A well drained soil ( specialist succulent potting mix) and protection from frosts. Slow release fertilizer applied once or twice a year is usually sufficient. Agave attenuata are drought tolerant once established.
Propagation can be from seed or by removing the offsets or ‘pups’. This also helps to maintain the strong architectural lines of the agave and provide great additional plants, or you might decide to leave the offsets to form a bigger clump and transplant later.
- Botanical Name – Agave attenuata
- Common Name – Lion’s Neck Agave, Swan Neck, Spineless Century Plant
- Position – Full sun to light afternoon shade.
- Soil – Any well drained soil.
- Height – To around 1.5 metres to 2 metres with a very tall flower spike.
- Spread – To around 1.5 metres
- Growth rate – Medium.
- Flowers – On a long spike, creamy white.
- Flowering Time – When the plant has reached maturity, around 10 – 20 years.
- Frost tolerant – Mild frosts only
- Drought tolerant – No, very light frosts only.