Indigenous to California, agave plants are pointy-leafed succulents that are drought tolerant. Not only is the agave plant popularly associated with 2 commonly used products—tequila and twine, but it is also a hardy plant that can thrive in rocky, native soils, right from the coast to places with higher elevations.
There are many different varieties of agaves, from large varieties that grow to more than 10 feet in height, to small and dish-sized plants, while others have soft leaves without spines. Some agave plants grow in warm and arid areas, others grow in cold regions. The agave colors range from blue-green to gray-green to even ones that are variegated with white or gold markings.
In this post, we will show you how to grow agave from seeds and thereafter caring for the plants.
Agave plants are stunning ornamental plants and are often planted in homes to add beauty to the garden. Agave plants are quite easy to propagate and grow from seeds. And, while the process of growing agave plants from seeds is not difficult, it can be rather time consuming.
Typically, the best time to plant the slow-growing agave plant is in the spring or early fall seasons. The agave plant takes several years or even decades to mature and when this occurs, a tall flower stalk grows from the center of the plant. The flowers of the agave plant are bell shaped and come in colors like yellow, white and green and are quite long lasting. In most of the species of the agave plant, the flowers produce seed pods and then die.
The agave plant seeds are usually flat and black and vary in size. The size of the seed determines the size of the mature agave plant. And, if you are planning to place an agave plant inside your home, then it may be a good idea to choose smaller size seeds.
Growing Succulents from Seeds Indoors
- 1 How to Grow Agave from Seeds
- 2 Conditions Required for Agave Plants
How to Grow Agave from Seeds
In this section, we’ll discuss the steps to follow to grow agave plants from seeds:
Prepare the Container
The first step is to wash the pots or flats in which you plan to grow the agave plants thoroughly. The containers you choose should have holes at the bottom for proper drainage. Let the containers dry properly for 1-2 days before you begin.
Next, fill the containers with sterilized starting medium, which consists of 50% inorganic material such as pumice sharp sand or perlite and 50% with material such as vermiculite, coco coir, sphagnum moss or organic matter, which is fully composted and does not have animal manure.
To sterilize the starting medium, bake it for 30 minutes at 350°F. You can also make use of a sterilized starting mix that is available commercially. Fill the containers with the sterilized starting mix.
Sow the Agave Seeds
Once you fill the containers with the potting mix, scatter the agave seeds on the surface. You can either let them be completely exposed to the light or cover them lightly with sand to keep the seeds in place. Make sure that you don’t cover the seed completely, as the agave seeds require sunlight to germinate.
Water the Containers
To water the containers with the agave seeds, place them in a shallow pan that is filled to half the depth with distilled, sterilized or warm water. When the top of the potting mix is moist, remove the pots/pans from the drip tray and let the water drain.
If you want to use sterilized tap water, then let the tap water sit for around 24 hours and allow the chemicals in the water to dissipate. Then boil the water for around 5 minutes and let it cool completely. Pour the boiled and cooled water into a clean container from 3 feet of height. This will help to aerate the water.
Cover with a Plastic Wrap
Using a plastic wrap or a plastic bag, cover or seal the planting container once the excess water has been drained. This will help to preserve the moisture levels and keep them consistent during the germination process.
Maintain a Steady Temperature
Keep the planting container in a warm and bright place, which has indirect or diffused sunlight such as a windowsill. Maintain the plants at a consistently warm temperature between 65°F to 70°F.
The seeds will germinate in around 2-3 weeks; however, the period may depend on the varieties of agave plants that you have planted. You should be able to see sprouts within 14 to 21 days. And, when the seedlings appear, remove the plastic wrap or bag.
You must water very sparingly, around 1-2 times a week. Your aim should be to ensure that the soil is moist and not very soggy. You can make use of a spray bottle to water the seeds and seedlings, which helps to prevent them from getting dislodged.
Transfer the Agave Seedlings
When the seeds germinate, the seedlings emerge as a single leaf with a thicker base. When the seedling grows a bit and has 2 to 3 leaves, then transfer them to a larger pot carefully. You can then plant the seedlings in your garden after a few days.
Conditions Required for Agave Plants
Once your agave seeds have germinated and you have planted the seedlings in your garden, here are the conditions required for your agave plants to grow and thrive.
Agave plants grow well in any type of soil, as long as it is well draining. However, they tend to do very well in sandy or rocky soil. If the soil does not drain well, this can result in root rot, which can cause the plant to die.
Agave plants flourish very well in an area with direct sunlight; however, they can do with a little bit of shade. The plants can handle more shade if the climate is hotter.
Full-grown agave plants are drought tolerant and required to be watered only if there has been no rainfall and the soil is completely dry. However, when the agave plant is just being established, it requires watering once every 4-5 days for around 1 month. After this period, you can extend the gap between each watering to once in 2-3 weeks, depending on the rainfall in your area.
Temperature and Humidity
Most of the agave plant varieties can grow as far as the USDA growing zones 8 or 9 and cannot tolerate frost. Also, most of the agave varieties grow well in a climate with low humidity because high humidity levels can cause crown rot.
Typically, agave plants don’t require any fertilizer to grow. In fact, using fertilizer encourages the agave plants to flower and you don’t want this because most of the agave plants die as soon as they flower.
Pest and Disease Control
In general, agave plants do not have too much trouble with pests or diseases. The main problem faced by agave plants is the agave snout weevil, which can burrow into the center of the plant and lay its eggs, causing the plant to collapse. So, if this happens, remove the agave plant to prevent the pests from spreading to the other healthy agave plants around.
Agave plants with their dramatic foliage can be a great addition to your garden and all you need is one plant to make a stunning centerpiece. Smaller agave varieties also make great indoor plants. And, the best part is that growing agave plants is quite simple and maintaining them is even simpler. All they need is ample sunlight, well-draining soil and a little bit of care and you’re sure to have flourishing and thriving agave plants in your home.