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Plant type Perennials, Succulents
Plant Uses Rockery

Best uses

Good choice for difficult sites such as shallow, sandy soils, volcanic areas and exposed coastal sites. May be too large for many suburban gardens.

Physical characteristics

Evergreen agave that reaches a height of 1 - 1.5m and width of 1.8 - 2.4m.

Flowers and foliage

Agave attenuata has large individual rosettes of fleshy, grey-green leaves. Mature plants can send up a vertical flower stalk between 1.5 - 3m tall, which arches down to the ground. The flowers are a pale green-yellow colour, followed by seedpods and many new 'pups' (baby plants).

Preferred site

Plant in full sun and free-draining soil.

Preparation for planting

Always choose healthy, well-grown plants and plant after autumn rains. Before planting, ensure the root ball is saturated and remove the planter pot with minimal root disturbance. Trim any broken roots and plant at the same level as in the container. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the root ball, press in and water once planted. Plant approximately 1m apart as the plants get rather large. When the pups appear, remove them from the flower stalk and plant them in pots with gritty, pumice-type soil. Once established, plant out or pot up. Mulch after planting using crushed stone rather than bark.

Maintenance tips

Agave are great low-maintenance plants. After planting, it is advisable to mulch using crushed stone rather than bark, which will hold too much moisture in winter. Pot-grown succulents should be watered sparingly in winter; give just enough to prevent shriveling. Allow to dry out between waterings in summer. Generally, avoid using fertilisers around succulents, as this will lead to excessive soft growth and poor foliage colour. However, container grown plants respond well to slow-release fertiliser.

Pests and diseases

As with most succulents, this plant is susceptible to several pests and disease. Scale, mealybug, two-spotted mite snails and fungal spots can negatively impact plant health. Good horticultural practice will help reduce these problems. With severe infestations, refer to our leaflet on Common Pests and Diseases.

Location at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Rock Garden