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There are numerous species of agave, which have many characteristics in common but also differ in terms of the size reached by the plants, the color and shape of the leaves.
A characteristic common to most species is that of flowering only once in their existence, in the late spring or early summer, when the plant is now adult and ready to ripen its fruit, after which the 'Agave dry and die.
In all the different species the Agave looks like a bush plant, with leaves arranged in a rosette, elongated and very thick, in general the edge of the leaf is equipped with small pushes and on the tip there is a sting.
During its existence the plant produces the flower stem that will support the flowers when the time comes, the stem develops at the center of the rosette of leaves and, depending on the species, it can even reach a height of several meters. The flowers manifest themselves with clustered inflorescences while the fruit is a capsule composed of three parts.
The most known species
This kind of succulent plant includes many different species that develop best if planted on the ground, here are the main and most well-known ones:
- Agave Americana: its leaves are elongated and have a characteristic greenish gray color, it has spikes on its tip, it reaches maturity over a few years and is the most widespread in areas where the climate is rather hot thanks to its resistance to different types of temperature and to the fact that it can also be grown in pots and kept within rather small dimensions
- Agave Stricta: its leaves are a very intense green color, not very fleshy, up to half a meter long and equipped with a large spike, while the stem reaches a maximum of two meters in height
- Agave Victoriae Reginae: it is perhaps the most characteristic thanks to its elongated and thin leaves that have white streaks on the margins and inside the leaf that create irregular shapes. Being a plant typical of Mexico, it loves calcareous or desert soils and is one of the smallest species, its leaves form a very compact bush, the flowers are very large and the stem can easily exceed two meters in height.
Cultivation and watering
This plant finds its favorite environment in environments with a particularly mild climate or in temperate zones that are closer to its origin areas as climatic conditions. The ideal temperature for the growth of these majestic succulents is between twenty and thirty degrees and it is essential to choose a sunny and well-lit location both during the summer and winter seasons. The Agave loves the outdoors even though it can also be grown in pots, but it is very important in this case to move the pot outdoors as soon as the temperatures become more intense.
This plant does not need large amounts of water, the ideal solution is to water it a little and regularly: during the winter the plant is in a vegetative quiescence phase and therefore does not need much water, it is sufficient to keep its soil slightly damp. From March onwards, with the arrival of spring and with the vegetative restart, the waterings must be intensified gradually, taking care to keep the soil moist but never wet, stagnant water would be lethal to the plant. When autumn approaches, towards the month of September, you need to start to thin out the waterings.
For potted plants it is essential that in the saucer there is never any water, furthermore it is very important that the watering operation is carried out from under the leaves, or if it is done from above it is necessary to dry any residues that could stop in the rosette of the leaves.
Planting and fertilization
The soil suitable for cultivation is calcareous and sandy, to prepare the pot you must have a specific soil for cacti that must be added with fine sand to improve the drainage capacity of the soil. If, on the other hand, the agave is placed on the ground, it is good to choose a not particularly rich soil and make it soft with a chopping operation, and in this case adding sand, in a generous quantity.
The pot size should not be excessive, the roots of this plant in fact do not grow rapidly, therefore with a pot too large the risk of stagnation increases due to the non-use of the soil by the plant.
The pots for planting must be in terracotta to improve soil breathing.
The repotting is done at the beginning of the spring season, just before the vegetative growth, in the case of large plants every year, while for those of reduced dimensions it is sufficient to carry it out every other year or even less often.
The plant does not need to be fertilized during the cold seasons, while during the growing season it must be supported with a specific fertilizer for cactaceae, fertilization must not be too frequent (once every three or four weeks it may be sufficient), it must be administered by diluting liquid fertilizer in the water of the watering.
This plant should not be pruned, it is only appropriate to remove the leaves at the base when they begin to dry to avoid infestations by parasites, taking care to use a knife or a pair of sharpened and disinfected scissors to have a clean cut that will heal. in a short time without becoming infected.