Agave Attenuata “Foxtail Agave” Care

agave attenuata

Last updated on August 9th, 2022 at 11:47 am

Agave attenuata is a slow-growing succulent that reaches maturity at approximately 12 feet tall and wide. It can be found in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Belize. A mature plant has a rosette of fat leaves with sharp teeth on the margins. The flowers are yellow, orange, or red and they grow from the center of a panicle on an 18-30 inch tall stalk.

The leaves are poisonous to humans in large doses because they contain compounds that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps if ingested. The plant is very common but it grows slowly so harvesting for food production must be done carefully!

Agave attenuata is an Agavaceae that grows in the Mexican highlands and can reach up to ten feet tall. The leaves are gray-green in color with a serrated edge, while flowers range from white to yellow. It prefers dry soil and has low water needs. This plant does not have any known pests or diseases, so it is an easy plant to grow.

If you are looking for a houseplant that can withstand cold temperatures, agave attenuata may be the perfect plant for you. This agave is native to the mountainous regions of Arizona and New Mexico in North America. The agave attenuata plants grow up to 3 feet tall with long, sword-shaped leaves that make them an attractive addition to any home or garden.

The agave plant produces flowers that are pollinated by bats and insects, however, they have evolved not to produce nectar or pollen because their main pollinators cannot handle cold conditions!

They are also often called ‘Foxtail Agaves’ because of their long, flexible leaves that resemble the tail of a fox.

Origin and Description

agave attenuata

A native of the Chihuahuan Desert and northeastern Mexico, Agave attenuata is a member of the Crassulaceae family. It was first discovered in 1808 by botanist Karl Ritter von Goeppert during an expedition to New Spain (Mexico).

Agave attenuata is a slow-growing house plant that reaches heights of up to three feet tall. It features long, narrow leaves with pointed tips and smooth margins. The base color varies from greenish blue to bluish-gray, while the leaf margin can usually be found in shades of purple or pink. Its flowers are similar to those of a century plant but tend to be smaller.

The Agave attenuata is sensitive to cold temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and should not be exposed to drafts or sudden changes in temperature. It can thrive under indirect sunlight for most of the day. The average home humidity level suits this houseplant well, as it prefers dry air. It can be found growing in its natural habitat at elevations up to 7000 feet and requires very little water with regular fertilization every few months during the spring and summer seasons.

Agave attenuata is an excellent choice for those looking for a unique house plant with distinctive coloring throughout the entire year, as it only blooms after reaching a mature age of around five years.

Agave atrovirens (Pulque Agave)

Agave attenuata propagation

agave attenuata

Cut the offsets from the parent plant and let them dry for a few days. The number one rule is that you should absolutely never cut into an agave’s flesh or remove its leaves with your bare hands. You can use garden shears, though be aware that some sources say they’re too dull to work well on this plant.

Plant the offsets in pots with well-draining soil and direct sunlight for a few hours each day. Water them regularly, but not too much to avoid rotting roots – you need to let their shallow roots dry out between waterings.

If you want a large agave, put the plant in a spot with full sun and well-drained soil. The more sunlight it gets, the larger the flower head it will produce. This is not possible for plants grown indoors or those that are shaded too much by surrounding trees or buildings.

Keep an eye on your plant, as you might have to keep transplanting the offsets if they grow too large for their pots.

One major benefit of propagating your agave is that it allows you to share with friends and family members, or even sell them online. The same way a new baby cactus can easily be watered every day by adding just a cup of water to the pot, planting offsets of an established cactus is just as easy.

Make sure that your agave has plenty of room for its roots by repotting it every few years or so. Once the plant’s leaves start turning yellow and falling off, you can begin harvesting some of them before they completely die off.

Agave attenuata can also be propagated by seed or stem cuttings although this is not easy for most gardeners to do since it requires specialized equipment such as a mist chamber, humidity dome, and fungicide solution.

It is possible to root a leaf in water or moist soil. However, this method can be difficult, and rooting often fails.

If growing agave attenuata indoors it will need repotting every year due to the slow growth of its roots. It should also be watered sparingly since overwatering leads to rotting roots which kill the plant.

Agave attenuata care

agave attenuata

Care for Agave attenuata ‘Foxtail Agave’ is relatively easy. The plant does not require any special care during the dormant period, which can last up to four months. During dormancy it’s recommended that you water your agaves sparingly, only when needed and let it dry out between irrigation cycles.

In order for the agave attenuata to thrive, it requires a soil that drains well. The plant is able to grow in full sun and partial shade conditions as long as either area receives at least six hours of sunlight each day. In addition, the earth should be kept on the dry side because agaves prefer not having excess water around their roots.

Agave karwinskii (The True Mezcal Agave)

Agave attenuata care involves the following:

Light requirements

Agave attenuata is sun-loving. It needs full, uninterrupted sunlight to thrive. If it does not get enough sunlight, the leaves will turn yellow and fall off as they slowly die back from neglect.

You will want to place this plant in a sunny garden or an area outside where it can get plenty of sunlight. If your climate is one that has cold winters, you may need to move the Agave attenuata inside for the winter months so they don’t die from lack of light and exposure.

Soil/potting mix

Agave attenuata can be grown in a variety of soil types including clay, loam, and sand. It prefers to have its roots kept dry but it will tolerate very wet conditions once the plant is established. A good potting mix that drains well is ideal for growing agave attenuata indoors or outdoors.

It may help to add a good amount of organic material to the soil such as compost, aged manure, or leaf mold.

The plant will do well when grown in containers with a fast-draining potting mix.

It is best to avoid planting it directly into the ground if you live in an area that has long periods of frost since this can kill the plant.


A fertilizer with an NPK ratio of about 16-16-16 is ideal for agave attenuata. It should be applied during the growing season at a rate of one-third of the recommended dosage each month to ensure healthy growth and flowering. Too much or too little fertilization can prevent it from flowering.

It is also beneficial to add a slow-release fertilizer in the soil when re-potting agave attenuata or planting it outdoors.


Although this plant can tolerate long periods of drought, watering regularly will help ensure that the leaves do not wilt and shrivel up. The best time to water is in the morning so that excess water can drain away by nightfall.

Overwatering will lead to rotting of the roots and leaves, but under-watering results in dry or wrinkled foliage which may eventually die off.

Pruning the foxtail agave

There are few major pruning tasks for agave attenuata since it can be left to grow into a large shrub. It is best pruned after flowering and in the springtime.


The Agave attenuata species is a succulent plant that can withstand extreme temperatures. They are known to grow and thrive in areas with temperatures up to 107-118 degrees Fahrenheit (42-48 degrees Celsius).

Agave attenuata plants have been noted for their ability to tolerate very high heat, which makes them an ideal candidate for desert landscapes.


agave attenuata

One aspect of agave attenuata care is humidity. This plant does best with high levels of humidity and it dislikes dry air, especially during the winter months when heating systems are being used. In general, this species prefers humid conditions year-round as long as there is a good supply of water to keep up moisture levels in the soil.

Agave lophantha (Thorncrest Century Plant)

The humidity in the room can impact this plant’s growth and water intake, especially if it is located in a dry area of the home or office with no nearby plants to help in adding additional moisture into the air. Luckily, there are some ways that agave attenuata caretakers can maintain high levels of humidity for their plants even when the air is dry.

One way to increase humidity for this plant and other houseplants during colder winter conditions, especially when heating systems are being used, is by using a humidifier . The amount of moisture added into the surrounding environment can make all the difference in agave attenuata care as well as how much water it takes from the potting soil.

Another way to maintain high humidity for this species is by using a pebble tray . This method works great if the plant will be located in an area of the home or office with no other plants nearby that can help increase moisture levels in the air. A small dish filled halfway with water should work well as long as the base of the pot is sitting in water. The idea is that moisture from the evaporating water will add humidity to the surrounding air and increase soil moisture for this plant as well.

The ideal humidity for this plant is between 60% and 80%, with the most ideal level being around 70%.

When to repot the plant

The best time for most plants is in early spring when they are still dormant. This means that you should wait from March until May before deciding to re-pot your Agave plant. Ideally, it will be dark and cool outside which makes an excellent environment for the plant to start growing.

What are some benefits of repotting?

Repotting your Agave will help it grow stronger and healthier while increasing its lifespan. It also encourages new growth as well as preventing root rot and other problems. If you do not repot, then your soil may become compacted or the plant may be stunted and not grow properly.

The most important thing to remember is that repotting should never be done in the fall, as this will lead to a dormant period for your Agave attenuata. You can always wait until next spring if you want it to become accustomed to its new environment before putting it outside again.

What are the disadvantages?

The main disadvantage of repotting is that it can be hard on your plant. In order to prevent this, you should only do so every two or three years and make sure to water well after each repotting.

Agave victoriae reginae (Queen Victoria Agave Plant)


Agave attenuata is a type of plant that requires dormancy. During this time, agave attenuata’s growth will stop and the leaves will begin to die off. If you notice any dead or dying leaves on your plant, it means they are dormant and need more time without water before continuing with regular watering.

Before the plant enters dormancy, stop watering it and let it dry out for a few weeks before fertilizing or planting again.

Flowers & Fragrance

The white bell-shaped flowers are the main attraction of the agave attenuata, but they’re often hidden until nightfall. They emit a sweet fragrance that you’ll smell when visiting this plant in your garden at night. The leaves also have an interesting shape and color, adding visual appeal to this beautiful desert succulent.

Agave attenuata growth rate

The agave attenuata is a slow-growing plant. If you want the Agave to grow fast, look for a variety of ‘Foxtail’ that grows about an inch per day.

It grows slowly, especially when young. Older plants tend to speed up their rate of growth as they age.

USDA Hardiness Zones

Agave attenuata is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zone 11 and can sustain the coldest winter temperatures, but it will likely die back to its roots and return with new growth in spring.

Pests and diseases

When it comes to pests and diseases, there are a few that can be harmful to your Agave attenuata. The most common of these is root rot, which often occurs because the plant has been over-watered or not watered at all.

There are also some less common issues – powdery mildew and mealybugs may attack your plant, but these can be treated with the right kind of fungicide.

Insects are another issue you might face if your plant is in a garden or other area where there are pest problems. These include caterpillars and slugs which will eat away at the leaves, making them turn brown and wither up.

The best defense is to use organic pest control. This includes using a natural pesticide, which will kill the pests on contact and ensure they don’t return or come back in other areas of your garden.

Susceptibility to cold damage can also occur when plants are exposed to temperatures below 0°C (32°F). Agave attenuata grows best at a minimum temperature of 15° – 20°C (60°-68°F).

Agave attenuata uses

Agave attenuata is majorly used as an ornamental plant.