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Description

Fox tail agave gets its name from the dramatic flower stalks produced by mature plants. Single plants will grow 3-5 ft. in size and produce many small plants around the base to form large clumping colonies. This agave is valued in many landscapes for its pale-bluish to yellow-green leaves that are soft, fleshy and without spines on the margins or tips. Most plants grow for many years before flowering and can develop 2-3 ft. tall trunks. Thousands of small yellow and cream colored flowers mature on 10-15 ft. long arching flower stalks. Flowering occurs among plants in late fall, winter and spring, and provides a dramatic floral display for 1-2 months; the flowering plant dies after it flowers, leaving behind a large group of younger plants.

Fox tail agave needs protection from harsh winter cold and grows best with low to very low amounts of supplemental water throughout summer. From a landscape perspective, Fox tail agave is a highly versatile accent and special interest plant. It grows well in containers, on banks and as a solitary specimen or grouped for mass effect. It can be combined with the Mediterranean and Southwestern plant palettes. Several attractive gray-blue foliage cultivars are available from different nurseries.

Water Needs

Fox tail agave is well adapted to all parts of the Inland Empire in sunny exposures with normal winter rains and low amounts of summer irrigation. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains often provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates Fox tail agave can grow with varying amounts of water; little supplemental water is needed during summer following the flowering cycle.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

 
0"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
0"-2"
0"-2"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, click here.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Agave
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Rigid, Clumping
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.
Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Pale green, Blue green, Olive green
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Season: Insignificant
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: Wind, Drought, All day sun, Partial sun
Function: Residential spaces, Raised planters, Near pools and water features, Hummingbird plant, Grouped, Container plant, Commercial spaces, Civic spaces, Borders, Banks, Background plant

Maintenance

This is an easy to grow Agave that actually looks best in light to partial shade in inland gardens. It also grows well in full sun but may experience some leaf burn in direct summer sun. Plants grow in clumps with smaller "pups" growing near the base of the larger rosettes. After a number of years in the garden, larger rosettes will form a dramatic flower stalk. After this flower stalk fades, the rosette it emerged from will die and will need to be removed. Usually by then a number of smaller rosettes have grown at the base and will be ready to fill the space left open. Plants smaller pups can be easily removed and replanted. To propagate or move, simply cut the stem, leave in the shade for the cut to "scab over" for a few days, and replant with the stem in the ground in the new desired location. Stems easily send out roots and re-establish the plant in the new location. Clumps of Fox Tail Agave can get wide, so it is best not to plant it too close to the edges of paths or driveways where it might need to be constantly hacked back (S).

References

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