Walton's Plant Library
 
shrub

Rough Agave

Agave scabra

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Rough Agave (Agave scabra) at Walton's Garden Center

Rough Agave

Rough Agave

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Plant Height:  3 feet

Flower Height:  15 feet

Spread:  5 feet

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  7b

Other Names:  Century Plant

Description:

As an ornamental, this variety is a moderately large, open rosette with curved, lance like leaves that are blue-gray to light green; heavy marginal teeth and a rough surface; takes many years to produce a tall spike of yellow flowers, then dies

Ornamental Features

Rough Agave features bold spikes of yellow pincushion flowers rising above the foliage in late summer. It has grayish green foliage. The succulent sword-like leaves remain grayish green throughout the winter. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Rough Agave is a multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its strikingly bold and coarse texture can be very effective in a balanced landscape composition.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and usually looks its best without pruning, although it will tolerate pruning. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Suckering
  • Spiny

Rough Agave is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Rough Agave will grow to be about 3 feet tall at maturity extending to 15 feet tall with the flowers, with a spread of 5 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn't necessarily require facer plants in front. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This shrub should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in poor soils. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This species is native to parts of North America. It can be propagated by multiplication of the underground bulbs.

Rough Agave makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Its large size and upright habit of growth lend it for use as a solitary accent, or in a composition surrounded by smaller plants around the base and those that spill over the edges. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag - this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Accent  Garden  Container 
Applications
Flowers  Texture  Plant Form 
Ornamental Features