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3 Tips for Growing Agave

The owner of Thistle plant shop fills out our tip sheet on how to care for this drought-tolerant, sun-seeking plant

By Sarah Pfledderer

With spiny leaves and flowers that tower, mature agaves demand all eyes on them in almost any garden—but they don’t demand much attention. Here, Melanie Freed, owner of Thistle plant shop, fills out our tip sheet on how to care for this drought-tolerant, sun-seeking plant genus that comes in hundreds of species.

Green Thumb: Optional

A lot of sun and a bit of space is all you need to grow a healthy agave plant. Some water is important, too, but this plant can withstand desert heat. After all, some varieties are native to Southern California. “Even someone with little or no plant knowledge could grow one,” says Freed.

Lighting Requirements

It’s full sun for the win when it comes to agave plants. Find the sunniest spot in your outdoor space and plop it right in. Ensure there’s plenty of space for it to expand over time, too, and that the area is free of plants that might overgrow and provide shade.

Watering Requirements

No time to water? No problem. Agaves have an impressively dry palate, making them an ideal landscaping addition, especially in San Diego. When you first plant them, water them multiple times a week in the first month. Once they’re established, you can tip the pail only a few times a month and trust the plants—and their leaves, which hold the moisture—to ration their sips until the next watering.

Planting Pointers

In addition to plenty of space to grow, agaves need very well-draining soil. Remember, they’re desert dwellers, so the sandier and more gravelly the better. You might consider mixing perlite or pumice into your soil to ensure these just-right growing conditions. Agaves don’t mind being treated as ornamental plants in a pretty pot. Just be sure your container has a hole at the bottom to avoid root rot.

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4822 Santa Monica Avenue, Ocean Beach


Agave Plant

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