Thread Agave


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Agave filifera (Thread Leaf Agave)

Agave filifera is an eye-catching succulent that forms compact, stemless rosettes of dark green leaves with very ornamental white bud…


17 Types of Agave Plants With Pictures

When taking your tequila shots, you may be forgiven if you didn’t know it was made from the agave plant. Blue agave is steamed, mashed, fermented, then distilled to form the tequila we all love. In this article we ll see for the most popular and exciting types of agave plants.

The agave plant is a popular member of the succulent family. It is easily identified by its pointy, toothy leaves, which can have different hues depending on the species. For this reason, agave plants are grown in clusters as a barricade to keep animals like dogs out of your garden .

Agave plants first originated from desert areas worldwide, but it is now grown all over the world. Like most succulents, it is a wild plant that requires little or no maintenance, one of the reasons it is so popular among gardeners. And with over 200 different varieties to choose from, you’ll indeed find the perfect agave species for you.

Agave takes decades to flower, but when they do flower they produce an enormous spike that can grow up to 20feet in height. Bear in mind that agave begins to die when they start flowering.

In this piece, we’ll be looking at 17 of the most popular and exciting his article for the most popular and exciting types of agave plants. Join me while I take you through them.

1. Blue Agave

Botanical name: agave tequila

Perhaps the most prevalent agave species and for no other reason but its role in the making of the tequila we all love. The blue agave grows up to 7 feet tall and produces a yellow flower when it reaches the flowering stage. Its leaves are blue-green, and the plant grows best in well-drained sandy soil.

2. Small Flower Agave

Botanical name: agave parviflora

This is a small agave species that only reaches a height of about 8 inches, making it an ideal container gardening agave. The small flower agave produces little hairy filaments around its leaves. It also has butterfly-attracting yellow flowers, making it a great addition to any of your butterfly garden .

3. Thread Agave

Botanical name: agave filifera

Just like agave parviflora, this agave variety produces thread-like filaments around its leaves. Its leaves are bright green with white edges, which are enhanced even further by the white threads. It takes about ten years to flower, and it produces green-white flowers. It sometimes births new plants when the parent plant dies after flowering.

4. American Century Agave

Botanical name: agave Americana

The American century agave has blue-green foliage and creamy edges. If you love bird gazing in your garden, you should consider this plant to attract hummingbirds. Its leaves are long and thin with a pointy edge. Agave Americana is large growing and makes a right specimen plant in an open setting.

5. Royal Agave

Botanical name: agave victoria-reginae

It is also known as queen victoria agave. It is a small agave variety with black-tipped leaves curving inwards to form a dome. Because of its size, it can comfortably be grown indoors in containers. The plant does not produce flowers for about 2 to 3 decades when it does, it has reddish-purple or cream-colored flowers standing on a stalk 15 feet high.

6. Foxtail Agave

Botanical name: agave attenuate

It is also known as the dragon tree or foxtail and grows up to 5 feet tall. It got the name foxtail from its flower stalk. The foxtail agave is a soft and non-aggressive agave species you can grow in a small garden where it may be difficult to avoid other aggressive species. It produces greenish-yellow flowers after several years.

7. Hedgehog Agave

Botanical name: agave stricta

This is a unique agave species that produces narrow dark green leaves to make the plant look almost porcupine-like. Its flower stalk grows up to 6 feet tall, carrying small red flowers, making it a great addition to your whimsical garden .

8. Twin-Flowered Agave

Botanical name : agavegeminiflora

It is also known as pincushion agave and is among the few thread producing species. The twin flowered agave is a rare species found along the Mexican west coast. It is a slow-growing dwarf variety that grows about 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Its ‘twin-flowered’ name stems from the fact it grows its green-yellow flowers in pairs beside each other on spikes of about 8 to 12 inches tall.

9. Mountain Agave

Botanical name: agave Montana

As the name implies, the mountain agave loves growing on high mountains and in-between rocks, making it the right plant for your rock garden . It can survive for long without water and maintenance. It takes about a decade to flower, but it produces a tall, gigantic flower stalk of about 10 feet tall with several short branches bearing yellow flowers.

10. Ferocious Giant Agave

Botanical name: agave salmiana ferox

Like its name, this is a giant agave variety that grows up to 11 feet tall and spreads to about 12 inches. It produces dark green leaves with sharp edges, so you may want to plant this agave away from where kids usually play to injure themselves. It has yellow flowers sitting on a tall spike.

11. Rancho Tambor Agave

Botanical name: agave titanota

Agave titanota is another slow-growing solitary agave it reaches a maximum height of 2 feet and spreads up to 3 feet. Its leaves are pale green, flat with a pointy tip and sharp edges. Even though the edges are sharp, they are not especially harmful to be around. They produce yellow flowers after about a decade. They are sun-loving plants with high heat tolerance and thrive in temperature as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

12. Cabbage Head Agave

Botanical name: agave parrasana

This is a relatively small agave variety growing just 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide however, it has a tall spike of about 20 feet, with red flower buds that open to yellow when flowering. Its blue-green leaf color brings contrast to your garden design, and its slow-growing nature means you get to enjoy it for long before it dies. This is an exciting species that produces suckers of new plants before it dies.

13. Squid Agave

Botanical name: agave bracteosa

It is also called spider agave because of its leaves that look like a spider. It is a drought-resistant plant that will fit nicely in a desert landscape. Its size also means it can be grown in containers it grows about 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide with a 5-foot spike when flowering. Its leaves are green and soft so that they can be increased along pathways without the fear of injury. The spider agave is among the few agave species that produce suckers of new plants before they die off.

14. Thorncrest Century Plant

Botanical name: agave lophantha

It is also known as agave univittata and is common in Mexico and some parts of the United States. It is typically green in color, but some variegated species have yellow stripes and a green midline. Thorncrest century agave grows 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide with flat leaves growing in an outward spiral. It is slow-growing, but it produces greenish-yellow flowers when it does bloom.

15. Butterfly Agave

Botanical name: agave potatorum

Commonly called butterfly agave because its leaves look like a butterfly. It is a slow-growing, medium-sized agave that can be controlled by growing it in a container. It comes in several colors some can be blue-grey, green variegated with yellow or pale green. Whichever color variety you get, your garden is sure to receive a facelift.

16. Octopus Agave

Botanical name: agave vilmoriniana

This is a large agave variety that can grow up to 4 feet high and 6 feet wide with its spike reaching 20 feet tall. It got its name from its swirly leaves that look like an octopus’s legs if it isn’t apparent already. Its leaves tips curl inwards to form this attractive shape. It forms yellow flowers after a decade of growth. It can grow under full or partial shade but does not have a frost tolerance.

17. Smooth Agave

Botanical name: agave desmettiana

This is a people-friendly agave with soft, smooth leaves. It can grow up to 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide when planted in the ground as containers limit its size. It has a rosette leaves pattern with a deep green color. When it flowers, it produces pale yellow flowers sitting on a 10-foot spike.


Cactus and Succulents forum→Agaves that don't get huge

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Agave "Kissho Kan" and its variegated cousin are excellent candidates for a smaller space. They will offset but not out of control. Probably cold sensitive but no more so than attenuata, I would imagine. Not an issue here.

Agave "Cream Spike" will take a while to get big, especially when constrained in a container. You want to start with a solitary plant that's a gallon size or bigger (say 8" diameter or so) as the smaller ones go through a phase where they offset like crazy. this tends to abate once the plant transitions to its adult (erect) phase.

Agave "Bloodspot" is a very pretty smaller plant that's similar in shape to macroacantha, but tends not to get as big or offset as much. (A. macroacantha is a very nice smaller plant but it does tend to grow in clumps and the spines are serious enough to make that difficult to sort out if you let it go.)

Agave colorata comes in various sizes but the more common form around here is relatively small and might work for you. It's a nice chunky plant.

There are a few smaller agaves which I would not recommend (esp. in a wet situation). A. utahensis is a very pretty plant but can be a bit tricky in cultivation (water sensitive).

If you would like to see pictures of any of the above I can rummage around to see what I've got.


I've had this one for a few years A. "retro choke". Don't think it is going to get much bigger.



It's probably a good idea to point out that agaves tend to be different sizes depending on how they are grown, so what may be a medium sized plant for me here in the ground (zero supplemental irrigation, months-long summer drought every year) could end up being quite large with more attention (ie. to water, exposure, nutrients). Agaves grown in the sun in poor soil with little water will grow to half the size they might under friendlier conditions.

Photos from the public garden here (most plants growing in day-long sun).


A. parryi truncata, "Bloodspot"




The one thing to remember with Agave attenuata is that it will grow a trunk - so while it may not get too big in circumference, it will get taller than its normal circumference might imply. And by trunk I do not mean the eventual flower stalk.

Another Agave that does that is Agave decipiens, which also would fall within the 18" or so category, but again grows a trunk.

Other smaller sized agaves in addition to those mentioned here already are: Agave filifera, multifilifera, victoriae reginae, nickelsiae, xDianita, xleopoldi, and quite a few more.


Just a quick ID note fyi, since some names may be confusing. At one point schidigera and multifilfera were lumped with filifera, but the latter is different from the other two (among other ways) in that it offsets regularly. However you find them labeled, this is an important practical distinction.

You can expect agaves to grow on the large side under the conditions you describe (afternoon shade, lots of water). So choose plants that are smaller to start with. Agave attenuata is pretty common around here in larger planters (it's the go-to agave in these situations because it is spineless) and it seems to handle constrained space pretty well, growing as a sort of dwarf version of the plants in the ground.

You might want to consider mixing in some aloes between the agaves. They would be compatible culturally and lend some seasonal color & hummingbird interest when they flower.



Baja_Costero said: Agave decipiens is an extra large species (several feet wide and tall) that I would not recommend long term in a window planter.

Just a quick ID note fyi, since some names may be confusing. At one point schidigera and multifilfera were lumped with filifera, but the latter is different from the other two (among other ways) in that it offsets regularly. However you find them labeled, this is an important practical distinction.

You can expect agaves to grow on the large side under the conditions you describe (afternoon shade, lots of water). So choose plants that are smaller to start with. Agave attenuata is pretty common around here in larger planters (it's the go-to agave in these situations because it is spineless) and it seems to handle constrained space pretty well, growing as a sort of dwarf version of the plants in the ground.

You might want to consider mixing in some aloes between the agaves. They would be compatible culturally and lend some seasonal color & hummingbird interest when they flower.

It must be the conditions here then, because all A. decipiens I have seen here are on the order of a foot and a half wide, some have impressive trunks. so I would not expect the rosettes to grow much bigger.

Thanks for the ID note, the Agave guys I talk to a lot have them all separate, hence my keeping them separate - I can distinguish them relatively well.

I think the Aloes are a really good idea, if you get the right ones they will fill those planters up really nicely and they reward you with a yearly flower display.


Regarding the speed of the Queen Victoria agave (and its ally, nickelsiae). these are supposed to be very slow growers, like some other agaves (eg. "Cream Spike"). They certainly are, at least in comparison to americanas and the like. But in my experience that's only relative. Maybe that's because our growing season is year round. One plant here went from a 6" pot to a 12" pot (stepwise) over the course of 3 years, to give you some idea of the pace. There are a few different varieties of the QV agave, the main two in cultivation being a larger, solitary form (grown from seed) and a smaller, offsetting form, which will never reach the same mature size.


I've been keeping it in a pot for the last few years. It is now starting to have pups.


Watch the video: Agave Needle and Thread


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