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The Artichoke agave is a good name for this round clumping species that produces a tight rosette of broad gray leaves with strongly toothed margins and stout pointed tips. Single plants grow 2-3 ft. in diameter; when plants mature they produce a 12-18 ft. tall flower spike with golden yellow flowers during summer. This species dies after flowering.

Artichoke agave is native to Arizona and Mexico where it has adapted to sun,heat, aridity, cold and summer drought. It is a highly popular plant in ornamental landscapes for its color and perfect shape. In addition to this species, one variety, Agave parryi var. truncata has a clumping behavior and will produce large and sculptural groupings over time.

Water Needs

Artichoke 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 Artichoke agave can grow with varying amounts of water; little supplemental water is needed during summer.

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"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Agave
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Symmetrical, Rigid, Clumping
Growth Rate: Slow
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.
Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Blue green, Blue gray
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Season: Insignificant
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Rocky soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Frost, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Rock gardens, Hummingbird plant, Grouped, Container plant


Many agave species and cultivars tend to grow "pups." These are small new plants that grow off of the "mother" plant and are attached underground. Pups are often directly at the base of the mother plant, but can also grow some distance away, depending on the species of agave. These pups can be removed with a shovel at any time to preserve the appearance of the mother plant and to prevent overcrowding. Pups can often be either planted elsewhere in the garden, or rooted into pots for later planting or to give to someone else.

Agaves are "monocarpic," which means that after years of growing, they only flower one time, and then the main plant dies. Often pups remain, providing new plants to replant in the same place if desired. The length of time from planting an agave until it flowers varies and is related to multiple factors including growing conditions and plant species.

Over time, some of the lower leaves of agaves naturally die and dry out as new leaves grow. This is normal, and dry leaves can be carefully pulled off or cut with a small sharp saw or serrated blade. Be careful not to remove too many leaves, or you might lose the beautiful natural form of the agave and end up with something looking more like a pineapple!

The most important factor in keeping agaves as a low maintenance plant is to understand how large mature agaves of each species and cultivars will be (listed above), and provide for that much growing space in planting plans. Often people plant agaves which at maturity will be far too large for the space they are put in, but look nice when they are newly planted and young. If they do not have enough space to grow, many agaves become hazardous near paths and sidewalks when their spines reach into places people are walking. This leads to them having to be cut back on a regular basis, creating an ugly plant that is no longer low maintenance and is hazardous. Do things right: plant in the right place with enough space and enjoy a beautiful low-maintenance plant!



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