Agave mckelveyana: Care and Propagation Guide
The Agave mckelveyana is commonly referred to as McKelvey’s century plant. Growing mainly in Arizona, this succulent does not have a trunk or base stem but directly produces leaves growing in a rosette. Suckers can also sometimes grow that help with the spread of this plant.
The leaves are long and often have spines and brown edges. The flowers grow on a tall 16-foot stalk and are yellow in color.
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How To Care For Agave mckelveyana
Agave mckelveyana plants are easy to care for but still have specific care conditions that can allow them to thrive. You can go through these below.
All Agaves, including Agave mckelveyana, require direct sunlight, so it is best to place the plant in the south or southeast window. In summer you can move it to the open balcony or veranda for sun exposure. If the windows of your apartment are facing north or northwest and west, the plant needs special lighting with a grow light.
You can also provide them with a bit of shade during the day as too much light could end up burning them.
These plants do not require frequent watering. In fact, you should only water this plant once the soil dries out fully and if the climate is quite dry as well. Make sure the plant has good drainage so that waterlogging does not occur, which will cause rot.
You can gradually decrease the amount of watering, starting out with watering once in four days after propagation, once a week after a month and even less often after that.
You can also make suitable adjustments depending on how much rainfall and humidity there is.
Agave mckelveyana plants tend to prefer a hot and dry climate. They tend to grow well in USDA hardiness zones 8-10 although there might be some variations depending on the species.
When they become dormant in winters, you should protect them from frost by shifting them indoors. Controlling the humidity is also a good idea when it comes to the health of these plants.
The soil of these plants should be well-draining so that no excess water gets left behind as this could lead to root rot. You should also opt for a mildly acidic to neutral pH.
You can add sand to make the soil more coarse and loose to prevent waterlogging. Make sure you also opt for a pot with a drainage hole to ensure that the excess water seeps out.
You do not need to add fertilizer to the Agave mckelveyana plant too frequently during the growing season since the plant can derive sufficient nutrients even without it. You can, however, add a balanced and diluted fertilizer about once a year.
Minimal fertilizing will also help retain the slow growth of this plant and prevent flowers from blooming too quickly so that the plant can live for longer.
Agave mckelveyana grows slowly and rarely needs repotting. If necessary, transplant young growing plants as soon as they have outgrown the container during spring. A new pot should be 1-2 inches larger in diameter. Take special care not to bury the rosette of the plant when repotting.
Also, avoid covering the stem with the substrate. Instead, cover it with pebbles for quick drying at the roots of the stem. This is done so as not to limit the supply of oxygen.
It is very important when planting not to bury the neck of the plant, it should be slightly above the ground. Deep planting will cause the plant to rot.
Pests and Diseases
These plants are usually safe from most kinds of pests and diseases. However, you should watch out for the agave snout weevil that resembles a beetle and can lay its eggs on this plant, causing it to collapse over time.
Apart from this pest, you should care for the plant properly to prevent infections and fungus growth as this could lead to root rot.
How To Propagate Agave mckelveyana
You can propagate Agave mckelveyana using the following methods.
For propagation through pups or offsets, you can go through the following steps.
- Remove the pup from the parent plant by gently tugging it out. Make sure you retain the roots of each pup.
- Keep the pup aside in some shade for a few days so that a callus can form.
- Take a small pot and fill it with some soil mix.
- Plant the offset into the soil and keep the pot in a spot that receives a good amount of sunlight. Water it each time the soil becomes dry.
- Once the pup grows a bit, you can repot it or plant it outdoors.
You can follow these steps for growing the plant from seeds.
- Figure out the requirements of your respective species.
- Sow the seeds in a pot filled with the soil mix.
- Sprinkle some water in the soil and wrap the pot with some plastic.
- Keep the pot in a warm location with indirect sunlight.
- Once you notice the seedlings forming within a month, take the plastic off.