AZ Arboretums

Agave americana variegata

Variegated century plantCommon: Variegated century plant
Family: Agavaceae
Origin: Mexico
Sunset Zone: 10,12-24
Light: Full sun
Soil: Tolerant of poorer soil conditions
Water: Drought tolerant

The Agave americana variegata is a bold sculptural plant used in desert gardens and xeriscape, and is an excellent accent or container plant. It has a rigid form reaching 3-4 feet high and spreading as wide. Its broad, pointed, variegated gray-blue leaves with yellow stripes taper to a poisonous sharp spine. Varieties have yellow or white striped leaves with serrated edges, overall rosette leaf pattern, and rough texture. The fast growing flower stalk looks like giant asparagus until horizontal arms bearing greenish yellow blooms appear. The flower stalk grows quickly, 6 to 14 inches a day, reaching upward near 20 to 35 inches tall. Flowers are in flat, plate-like clusters and appear only after 8 to 10 years of growth. Plant dies after flowering.

The poisonous tip of this plant may be cut off in public areas or areas with children. As old leaves become messy, they can be cut off as near to the base of the plant as possible. This agave makes offshoots which can be detached and grown into new plants. The roots are used to make tequila, and the fibrous leaf has been used for weaving baskets.