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Common Name:

Century Plant

Scientific Name:

Agave americana

Family Name:

Agavaceae

Description:

Century Plants are known as such due to the many years (20+) between flowering events. A large rosette of succulent ovate green to blue-green leaves tipped with a sharp spines form first. Small suckers or pups form around the mother plant. The foliage provides a classic arid landscape look and when flowering occurs it is spectacular.

Plant Habit or Use:

Medium shrub

Exposure:

sun

Flower Color:

10 ft to 20 ft, rarely 30 ft tall candelobra bearing lily-like yellow-green flowers, attractive to humingbirds

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer

Fruit Characteristics:

Not ornamental, old flower stalk is a pedestrian hazard

Height:

foliage 4 ft to 6 ft

Width:

5 ft to 10 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Low Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

USDA Hardiness Zones:

8, 9, 10, 11

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Can be grown in protected locations in USDA zone 7b. Mother plant dies after flowering, but suckers or pups arise at its base. The spiny leaves are a pedestrian hazard.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.