En EspaŅol
Agave americana (American century plant) | NPIN
Share

NPIN: Native Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Search native plant database:
Name:    
Family:    
See a list of all Plants





Agave americana (American century plant)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Agave americana

Agave americana L.

American century plant, Century plant

Agavaceae (Century-Plant Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: AGAM

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (I), VI (I)

Very large, handsome evergreen lily-like blue-green foliage. Xeric qualities and a stunning bloom stalk with maturity at ten years or more. Makes a great landscape focal point or accent and can be used in pots away from foot traffic. Best in full sun, but can take light shade. Winter damage occurs after low winter teen temperatures and is persistent on leaf surfaces until it recovers.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Notes: 6-12 feet.
Leaf: Green to blue-green color with interesting patern on back side.
Fruit: Brown
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: The bloom spike height ranges from 12-25 +. Bloom time trigger mechanism is not well understood, but this agave generally blooms at about 10 years of age.

Distribution

USA: AZ , CA , HI , LA , TX

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Rocky Soil
Conditions Comments: American century plant is large beautiful agave with sharp leaf tip spines. It is prominent in the landscape and best used in mass or as focal point. It also does well in pot (large) culture. It benefits from some extra moisture in very dry conditions, but is very tolerant of heat and xeric conditions. It can take light shade better than some other agaves. But should be protected from teen winter temperatures to avoid damage.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Showy growth habit, Blooms ornamental, Accent shrub, Attractive
Use Wildlife: Nectar-hummingbirds, Nectar-insects, Seeds-granivorous birds, Seeds-Small mammals, protective habitat plant for birds and small animals
Warning: The sharp pointed spines on leaf tip can be a hazard to humans and pets if plant is not placed in landscape with care away from foot traffic
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Division by offshoot of pups, seed
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Removal of old lower leaves or dead plants can be difficult due to size and leaf tip spines.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Drought-tolerant shrub for privacy screen
November 23, 2007
Is there some kind of drought resistant bush or thorny plant we can rim our property with to stop all the foot traffic through our yard? We don't care if it's pretty, just something thick and/or th...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: UPL UPL UPL UPL UPL
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
United States Botanic Garden - Washington, DC
Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute - Fort Davis, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX

Bibliography

Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1984 VOL. 1, NO.1 - asdasd
Wildflower Newsletter 1988 VOL. 5, NO.5 - Penny Campaign Grows Oklahoma Wildflowers, Wildflower Center Collects Honors, Di...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Agave americana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Agave americana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Agave americana

Metadata

Record Modified: 2010-06-07
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back

E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center