Agave celsii (Agave mitis) is a beautiful succulent variety of agave that originated in Mexico, and the popular trend of growing it as an indoor plant has spread to the US and other parts of the world, too. It’s commonly referred to as Mexican blue agave or blue agave, but you might also hear it called by its more accurate Latin name, Agave celsii.
Agave celsii (Agave mitis) and Agave mitis var. lindbergii are often used synonymously and can be commonly found in the nursery trade as Agave mitis or Agave celsii even though there are botanical differences between the two species that may lead to one to choose one over the other in some instances.
Origin and distribution
Agave celsii is native to southern Mexico and Guatemala. It is found in semidesert habitats and at lower elevations as a shrub or small tree, up to 15 feet tall. Its habitat includes dry slopes and rocky outcrops.
This species has also been cultivated in other tropical areas of Central America, such as Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia. In addition, it is widely grown as an ornamental plant throughout its range.
The specific epithet celsii refers to Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius (1794-1868), a German botanist who collected plants in Brazil and Mexico during his lifetime. In 1823 he published Florae Brasiliensis Systematis Naturalis Index Locupletissimus (A very rich index of Brazilian flora), which included descriptions of many new species from Brazil.
Agave celsii propagation
Agave celsii is easy to propagate, in most cases, all you need to do is split off a piece of its large root and plant that or use a cutting. But if it’s not spring then you will have to wait until fall/early winter when they grow back their leaves before planting in order for them to get energy back.
If you live in an area where it freezes make sure to bring your agave inside during freezing weather. They can be very sensitive so be careful with watering them outside during the summer months as well. They are also very slow-growing plants so don’t expect much from them for quite some time after being planted.
I would recommend only watering when soil is dry about 2 inches down and never let the soil completely dry out between waterings as these plants can die from over-watering just like any other plant!
Agave celsii care information
Agave celsii is not as demanding as some other succulents and can be left alone for several weeks, which makes it a good choice for anyone who has difficulty remembering to water.
If you’re going on vacation or leaving your plant at home while you go off to school or work, make sure you thoroughly soak its roots before you leave. Watering should be minimal with such plants when they are used to growing in their native habitat.
Light is required for all agaves, including Agave celsii to reach their full potential, but too much will cause it to grow more leaves than desired and become thin and spindly.
The medium-light range is 16-20 hours of light each day. Ideally, during active growth periods when you want your plant to grow new roots and develop flowers for propagation, a full spectrum fluorescent bulb placed about 12 inches above your agave should provide adequate lighting.
A basic soil mix will be fine for your Agave celsii. In fact, you’ll want to use one that drains well, which is why it should not contain too much organic material. A 1:1 ratio of potting soil and sand or pumice is usually a good choice; even better if you can find a specific cactus mix with no organic matter at all.
The key here is drainage, if there are large clumps of dirt in your mix, they may prevent proper drainage from occurring. It’s also important to avoid using garden soil, it contains weed seeds and other unwanted pests.
You may also want to add some small-sized gravel or perlite for added drainage; either way, make sure there are plenty of holes in your container so water can drain through freely.
Agave celsii plant prefers a little less water than other houseplants. It is better to water it sparingly and allow it to dry out slightly between watering; letting it sit in soggy soil for too long can cause root rot. Allow your Agave’s soil to dry out completely before you water it again, but be careful not to let it get bone-dry.
If you are away from home for an extended period of time, consider investing in a self-watering planter or using an automated drip system so that your plants don’t suffer while you’re gone.
Fertilize a year-old Agave celsii with 1/4 cup of 20-20-20 fertilizer every other month from January to October. Apply in the early morning so that it has a chance to dry and break down before nightfall.
Alternately, for existing agaves over three years old, fertilize with 1/2 cup of 16-16-8 fertilizer every other month between January and October. Apply at midday so that it doesn’t burn tender leaves. Water thoroughly after application.
Agave Celsii is cold-sensitive and should be kept out of direct sunlight. Agaves don’t mind cool temperatures, but they are considered warm-temperature plants, so they prefer temperatures between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit during daylight hours.
Nighttime temperatures should not fall below 65 F. If you can keep your agave away from cool drafts and hot sunbeams, it will reward you with years of growth.
This plant grows best with a relative humidity of 50-80%. It will tolerate humidities as low as 40% and as high as 90%, but these extremes should be avoided if possible. Be sure to keep it away from heat or AC vents, which may bring in too much dry air.
Since agaves are monocarpic, meaning they die after flowering, pruning of suckers is not required. Pruning for health or aesthetic reasons is best done in late summer. The easiest method of propagation for agave celsii is by leaf cuttings. Simply sever a healthy leaf from an adult plant and stick it into well-draining soil; within two to three months, a new plant will sprout.
In addition, mature plants can be divided into multiple sections which can then be repotted as individual specimens. Plants grown from seed may take up to 10 years before blooming.
When to repot
It is necessary to repot agave every 2-3 years if you want it to stay healthy. You can repot your agave at any time of year, but keep in mind that most varieties do best when they’re repotted during their dormant period in early spring.
The best time to do so will vary depending on where you live, as well as what kind of agave you have and how fast it grows. In some regions, you can also successfully repot your plant in summer or fall.
If you live in zones 5, 6, or 7 and below, your agave is probably dormant. Keep it that way! Don’t be tempted to try to propagate it by throwing it in a dark corner or bringing it into your garage for winter storage. The results are often disastrous.
When you bring an agave out of dormancy too early, especially when temperatures are still in the 50s and 60s F., all bets are off, although any attempt at propagation will likely fail anyway. Wait until mid-February before even thinking about trying to get your plant to re-sprout. It should begin growing new leaves around April 1st.
At that point, you can begin watering normally again as well as fertilizing with half-strength fertilizer every two weeks through June 1st, then switch over to full-strength fertilizer every two weeks through September 1st.
This means you need to stop fertilizing your agave between September 1st and February 15th. If you have more than one plant, they don’t necessarily need to go into dormancy at exactly the same time; just make sure none of them start going dormant before November 15th if possible.
Agave celsii flower & fragrance
Native to Mexico, Agave celsii blooms once a year. The flowers smell sweet and are fragrant. They are pollinated by moths. Agave is known for producing a large amount of nectar – sometimes with an aroma that has been compared to honey or pineapple.
Like all agaves, Agave celsii requires full sun and well-drained soil, and so is sometimes used as an ornamental landscape plant in warmer climates like Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California.
This plant is relatively slow-growing and can take between 5-10 years to mature. It’s also a short-lived succulent, so don’t expect to get 10 years out of it before replacing it.
When grown well, they’ll reach between 3-6 feet in height and width with leaves reaching up to 6 long. This growth rate will vary depending on light levels, whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors, temperature variation from season to season, and care.
Don’t let its harmless appearance fool you. Agave celsii is toxic, just like many of its fellow succulents. The sap can cause skin irritation, and worse, there are even cases of poisoning. Because of its toxicity, it is not recommended to keep it as a houseplant, especially if children or pets are in the home.
USDA hardiness zones
Agave celsii thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11. It can also be grown as a houseplant but requires bright light and warm temperatures to do well.
Pests and diseases
This is a very common complaint amongst agave growers and one that you need to be aware of before making your purchase. Agaves are prone to aphids, mites, mealy bugs, and scale insects.
As with many succulents, scale insects can quickly infest your Agave celsii and can even kill it if not treated immediately. To minimize these pests in your houseplant ensure that you do regular checks of all areas of concern and apply treatment if any signs appear.
Agave celsii should be planted in a very sunny, hot area with good drainage. Agaves are extremely drought-tolerant and only need water once every three weeks or so. Like most succulents, they need to be planted in fast-draining soil. Because of their natural ability to withstand dry conditions, they do not do well when overwatered.