Do you know what agave is? It’s a type of succulent plant that can be used for many different purposes, including as food. Types of Agave are plants that come from the genus Agave, and they’re often seen in gardens, farms, or even home landscaping. Different types of Agave can be found all over the world! There are 38 amazing types of agave that we’ll talk about today- each with its own unique flavor and uses.
There are over 100 different varieties of agave and not all produce the same results when it comes to creating drinks or food products. Types such as Blue Weber, Salmiana, Tequilana, and more can be found in many places throughout Mexico!
Some companies use a variety called Agave Karoo which is often used for cattle feed in South Africa. However, the Karoo also produces a sweet sap that can be turned into a low-alcohol drink or food product.
Agave Nectar is oftentimes made from Agave Karoo and other types of agave around the world! Types of agave such as Tequilana are commonly used to make wine products.
What is agave?
Agave is a succulent plant that grows natively in Mexico and parts of the Caribbean. While it’s most commonly known as an ingredient for tequila, this versatile plant has many other uses! Agave plants are actually part of the lily family and come from the same cactus genus as century plants (which take 100 years to bloom).
38 Types of agave plants
Agave americana, popularly known as the century plant, are types of agave that are native to Mexico. It grows in dry areas and produces yellow flowers when it reaches maturity (after about 25 years). The sap of this plant is used to make tequila.
The century plant has tall, narrow leaves that grow upward from a thick stem and form a rosette with numerous branches. When it flowers about 25 years after planting, the inflorescence stalk grows up to 30 feet tall (about nine meters) and blooms during the summer months. The flowers are bright yellow and open at night. After blooming, the plant dies.
Agave attenuata (Foxtail Agave)
The agave attenuata is a native of California and Mexico that has become popular as an ornamental plant for hot, dry areas around the world because it only needs light water once or twice a month.
These types of agave are a small-growing species, rarely more than two meters tall. Its leaves are narrow and pale blue-gray in color with age. It also has numerous sharp teeth on the margins of its leaves which point back towards the stem of this plant.
Agave attenuata has a rosette of grey-green leaves and is native to the coastal regions in Mexico. The plant usually grows up to four feet tall, but can grow as short as nine inches or taller than ten feet depending on growing conditions. It produces spikes with bright yellow flowers that bloom for about three days at a time throughout the summer months.
Agave Celsii (Candelabra Plant)
Agave celsii are types of agave that are native to the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, and Madeira. There are some beautiful specimens of this plant growing in Portugal on the edge of roads where they have been planted as part of landscaping projects.
The agave Celsii has a rosette form that can spread up to three meters wide. It grows gradually and can take up to 20 years before it blooms. The flowers are yellow (or white) in color and open during the summer months, but they will only last a day or two.
Agave Victoriae-Reginae (Royal Agave)
The Agave Victoriae-Reginae are types of agave that have been cultivated for more than 100 years. It is most commonly used as an ornamental plant, but the sap can also be fermented into tequila.
These particular types of agave live in very specific conditions and require their own climate to grow successfully. The specific climate requirements for this type of agave are what make them so popular as ornamental plants.
The Agave Victoriae-Reginae can grow up to ten feet tall and has a blueish, gray color with white stripes on its leaves. These particular types of agave also only bloom once before dying – which means that they can be a very expensive type of agave to purchase.
The Agave Victoriae-Reginae also has the nickname of “queen” or “empress.” That is because it was originally cultivated for its sap, which turned into alcohol and could then serve as an alternative source of income for farmers in Mexico.
A monocarpic agave, it is native to Southern California and Baja California where it grows in coastal sage scrub habitats. The flowers are pollinated by bats or bees but can self-pollinate due to their anthesis (opening) before other plants have opened their flower stalks.
Agave Blue Glow is an agave the grows best in the USDA Zones of 11 through 12. This plant can grow to be about three feet tall and loves lots of sun exposure, so make sure you put it outside during the summer months. The blue glow will turn white when exposed to excessive heat or direct sunlight for long periods of time.
These types of agave are a great solution for hanging baskets and mixed planters. Plant it outside in the ground to add some color around your pool or patio areas.
Agave Filifera (Thread Leaf Agave)
The agave filifera is a wild variety of agave which used to be very common in the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico. The plant has a long history as a food source for Native Americans, who harvested them by cutting off leaves from the stalk at ground level with stone tools.
Agave parryi (Parry’s Agave)
The agave parryi is a species of agave native to Southern California, Arizona, and Baja California. It can be found in desert scrubland habitats below 2000m. The plant has pale blue-gray leaves with slight white striations on the margins that are up to three feet long by two inches wide.
The agave parryi is sometimes referred to as the “century plant” and holds up to 200 flowers that emerge on a tall spike, usually in late May. These open over several days and produce yellow to white petals with reddish-purple tips about six inches long by two inches wide (15cm x five cm). The plant dies soon after the flowers have been pollinated by a variety of night-flying insects.
These types of agave are often planted as ornamental plants in California and throughout the world, where they typically use up to ten years or more to reach maturity before flowering for the first time (after 20–30 years).
Agave Petoriana (Pelona Agave)
The agave pelona is native to Mexico. It has smaller leaves than most other species of agaves, growing up to twenty inches long by ten wide and having teeth along the margins which are 0.75-inch long (two cm). The plant produces a solitary flower spike reaching two meters tall and bearing green to yellow flowers with a white throat.
The agave pelona is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental plant, but it can be difficult, taking up to ten years or more before flowering for the first time.
Agave Parryi var. neomexicana (New Mexico Agave)
The agave parryi var. neomexicana is a variety of agave native to the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas in the United States as well as Chihuahua and Sonora in Mexico. It can be found on rocky slopes up to 2000m above sea level growing along with various species of grasses, yuccas, cacti, and other agaves. This variety is distinctive in having leaves with white striations on the upper surface which are up to seven inches long by three wide (18cm x eight cm).
The agave parryi var. neomexicana produces solitary flower spikes one meter tall with greenish-yellow flowers which have white throats and reddish-purple tips.
Agave Lophantha (Lace Agave)
The agave lophantha is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae, native to the states of Chihuahua and Sonora in Mexico. It can be found growing up to 1700m above sea level on rocky slopes among scrubby vegetation such as yuccas, cacti, and other agaves.
These types of agave produce solitary flower spikes one meter tall with greenish-yellow flowers which have white throats and reddish-purple tips.
The plant is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental or it can be used for making large quantities of mezcal although the yield from this species is not as great as from other agaves.
Agave Lophantha can be propagated by removing offsets that are produced around the base of mature plants, although this takes longer than propagation using seed or suckers.
Agave Lechuguilla (Lechuguilla Agave)
The agave lechuguilla are types of agave flowering plants in the asparagus family, native to Chihuahua and Coahuila in Mexico. It can be found growing up to 2800m above sea level on rocky slopes among scrub vegetation such as yuccas, cacti, and other agaves.
The agave lechuguilla produces solitary flower spikes one meter tall with greenish-yellow flowers which have white throats and reddish-purple tips.
Agave Lechuguilla can be propagated by removing offsets that are produced around the base of mature plants, although this takes longer than propagation using seed or suckers.
The agave lechuguilla is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental plant, but it can be difficult, taking up to ten years or more before flowering for the first time (after 20–30 years).
Agave Parviflora is commonly known as the “Blue Agave”. It’s a species of succulent plant that grows in Mexico. It has light green leaves, sharp teeth along its edges and on the tip of each point, there are small spines covering them all over. The blue agaves produce sugars called “polynosas”, being used to produce tequila.
Agave Marmorata (Marbled Agave)
It’s a beautiful succulent plant with blueish/gray leaves and can reach up to two meters in height. It has sharp spines that cover the entire leaf edge of this species, produced by either green or purple flowers during autumn.
These types of agave have beautiful, thick, and dark green leaves with very sharp spines along with each point. It’s commonly found in Mexico near to the west of Veracruz state at an altitude around 200 meters above sea level. This species produces flowers that are yellowish-green during springtime.
Agave Pumila (Miniature Agave)
The leaves of these types of agave are long and thin. It’s commonly known as the “Dwarf Agave” or the “miniature agave”. Its flowers are white with green, orange, or yellow tones that appear after summertime. The roots can go up to 15 meters in depth where they find water which is used during droughts periods.
These types of agave plants are commonly known as the “Copper Agave”. It has sharp and strong leaves that have a beautiful copper color, which makes it one of my favorite types of agave to have. The flowers are white with some purple tones during autumn time.
The leaves of this beautiful succulent plant have a copper color on some parts, while others are green. It has sharp spines along with each point and it’s commonly found in Mexico near the Jalisco state at an altitude around 600 meters above sea level. The flowers are yellowish-green during springtime.
It’s a beautiful succulent plant that has thick, strong, and shiny green leaves. The flowers are white with purple tones during autumn time. These types of agave species are commonly known as the “Parras Agave”, it can be found in Mexico at an altitude around 1200 meters above sea level.
Agave Kewensis are types of agave plants known for their large silver leaves and tall flower stalk. However, it should be noted that this plant can take up to 30 years before producing flowers!
This particular variety produces sweet nectar over a long period. The flavor isn’t the best but many people enjoy drinking or eating products made from it because of its long production time.
Agave Tequilana (Blue Agave Plant)
Agave tequilana, also known as blue agave plant and mezcal is a species of Agave native to Jalisco and the states of Colima, Nayarit and Michoacán in Mexico. It has been used for at least one thousand years by indigenous peoples such as the Tepecanos (Mexico) and the Chichimeca to produce infusions of “pulque”, a fermented beverage.
Agave Desmettiana (Smooth Agave)
Agave Desmettiana (Smooth Agave) are types of agave plants that have long green leaves and yellow flowers. It can grow up to 15 feet tall, with each plant only flowering once before it dies. Although this species was thought by many to be extinct after the 1900s, it was rediscovered in Mexico during the 1980s.
This species is native to Jalisco and Guanajuato in Mexico, where it grows on limestone ledges between 1800-2600 meters above sea level. It has a short growing season from late February through March with an average temperature of 17°C. However, its large rosette can survive very harsh conditions and can remain dormant for a long time.
This species is commercially used for the production of tequila and mescal, but it must be harvested at an extremely young age because older plants have very tough leaves that cannot be used in drinks. In fact, the average plant only produces enough material to make one liter of liquid!
Agave Geminiflora (Twin Flower Agave)
The Agave Geminiflora is a species in the genus “Agave”, or better known as agaves. It is native to Mexico and has been documented to grow around southeastern parts of Arizona and the southwestern United States such as New Mexico and Texas too. These types of agave plants feature rosettes of leaves that are blue-green in color and can grow around three to four feet (91.44 cm) wide.
These types of agave have symmetrical, tubular-shaped flowers that bloom yellow at the end of summertime or fall season. The blooming period for this species is rather short as it takes about two weeks, and then the agave dies shortly after the blooming period is over.
The Agave geminiflora isn’t grown as a commercial plant, but it can be used for landscaping purposes due to its attractive appearance and beauty.
Agave Vilmoriniana (Octopus Agave)
The Agave Vilmoriniana is also known as the octopus agave and it’s a species that is part of “Agave”, or better known as agaves. It can be found in Mexico and has been documented to grow around parts of Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. These types of agave plants feature rosettes of leaves that are green-blue in color and can grow around two to three feet (60.96 cm) wide, depending on how old the plant is.
This agave has flowers with brownish-purple petals at the end of summertime or fall season which lasts about five weeks. The blooming period is rather short as it takes about two weeks, and then the agave dies shortly after the blooming period.
The Agave Vilmoriniana isn’t grown as a commercial plant either but can be used for landscaping purposes due to its attractive appearance and beauty.
Agave Potatorum (Butterfly Agave)
The Agave Potatorum, or better known as the butterfly agave, are types of agave plants that have part of “Agave”, more commonly referred to as agaves. It can be found in Mexico and has been documented to grow around central parts of Chihuahua. This species features rosettes of leaves that are green in color and can grow around four to five feet (121.92 cm) wide, depending on how old the plant is.
This agave has flowers with light yellow petals that bloom at the end of summertime or fall season which lasts about two weeks. The blooming period is rather short as it takes about one week for the flowers to open, and then the agave dies shortly after its blooming period is over.
The Agave Potatorum isn’t grown as a commercial plant either but can be used for landscaping purposes due to its attractive appearance and beauty.
Agave Angustifolia (Caribbean Agave)
The Agave Angustifolia is a species in the genus “Agave”, or better known as agaves. It can be found throughout parts of Mexico and has been documented to grow around Yucatan Peninsula. These particular types of agave feature rosettes of leaves that are blue-green in color and can grow up to five feet (152.40 cm) wide, depending on how old the plant is.
These types of agave plants have showy flowers with yellow petals that bloom at the end of summertime or fall season which lasts about two weeks. The blooming period for this species is rather short as it takes a week to open and then dies shortly after its blooming, which is around two weeks.
The Agave Angustifolia isn’t grown as a commercial plant either but can be used for landscaping purposes due to its attractive appearance and beauty.
Agave Ovatifolia (Whale Tongue Agave)
The Agave ovatifolia is the most commonly found agave in Mexico. It can be easily recognized because of its long green leaves that are narrow at the end and have a characteristic rectangular shape.
It is a small agave with an average size of about two meters. It has white flowers that bloom during the summer and it takes eight to twelve years for them to fully grow. These types of agave plants provide a very sweet sap used by the natives as one of their main sources of carbohydrates in ancient times.
Agave Macroacantha (Black-Spined Agave)
Agave Macroacantha, also known as Black-Spined Agave or Buffalo Cane, is a plant in the genus Agave. This species of agave has relative to other types of agave narrow leaves that are blueish-green and have black spines at their tips.
These plants grow rapidly reaching full maturity around five years after they are planted. This agave plant can grow to be 15 feet tall and its flowers form on a stalk that reaches up to four meters in height.
Agave deserti (Desert Agave)
Agave deserti is a plant in the genus Agave. It is also known as Desert agave or mescal. These types of agave has long, narrow leaves, and flowers will only grow near the top of this particular succulent.
The average growth height for these types of agave can be anywhere from three to five feet tall making it a great choice for those who want to add some height and texture to their landscape.
Agave Bracteosa (Squid Agave)
Agave Bracteosa (Squid Agave) has long, sharp gray leaves that curve inward and resemble tentacles. These types of agave plants are also known as Squid Agave or Spider Lily because of the way it flowers at the end of its life cycle with a tall flower stem like a lily growing out of each rosette. It is native to the coastal hills of South and Southeast Mexico.
Agave bracteosa will die after it blooms, but there are offsets that may be taken from this plant while it’s still alive if you would like more plants for your garden! These types of agave plants were once considered a part of Agave Americana.
Agave Disticha (Hardy Century Agave)
The Hardy Century Agave, also known as the Maguey Lace or Pita Real is native to Northeastern Mexico. It has long, narrow leaves that grow in a spiral form out from the center of its rosette and are lined with minute teeth along each side. The very center of this agave is also lined with teeth, but they are longer and more pronounced than the ones on the leaf margins.
These types of agave thrive in dry climates so they can survive long periods without water, making it a great choice for areas that have cold winters or only get sporadic rainfall! Because of its hardiness, Agave Disticha has also become a popular choice for landscaping projects in the American southwest.
Agave Montana (Mountain Agave)
These types of agave are a symbol of strength and resilience, which makes sense given that they can live for 100 years or longer.
These types of agave can be found in Mexico’s highlands between elevations from 2000 to 3000 feet with distinctive yellow flowers.
They are also found in parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas within the United States.
It is a member of the Agave family that has rosettes up to 20 inches across with bluish-gray leaves that grow to 60 centimeters long by two wide at their bases. The flower stalks can reach five feet tall and bears cream or yellowish blooms.
This is an agave that has very spiky leaves, and it looks like a prickly pear. Its nectar is usually used to make tequila because of its low content in sugars. It is the main ingredient in the production of tequila.
Agave Stricta (Hedgehog Agave)
Agave stricta is a small, blue-green plant that has sharp spines on its pointed leaves. It grows to about two feet tall and produces multiple rosettes of fleshy leaves with serrated tips. Agave stricta will bloom at five years old and reach maturity in 15 years – growing flowers nearly six feet tall!
Agave Colorata (Mescal Ceniza)
Agave colorata is native to central Mexico. It has light green leaves with black-tipped spines and the bloom stem grows up to 12 feet tall but can take years before it blooms.
Agave Titanota (Rancho Tambor Agave)
These types of agave plants are one of the largest varieties, with mature plants capable of reaching over 16 feet in height. It often blooms before it reaches 18 inches tall.
It is also more cold-resistant than most agaves, capable of withstanding temperatures as low as -13°F.
This makes it a good choice for colder climates and regions where frost occurs early in the growing season.
Agave Titanota can be planted outside year-round in USDA hardiness zones: Zone 12a – Colder climates with mild summers and Zone 12b – Slightly cooler climates.
Agave salmiana ferox has small spines. It is native to an isolated region of Jalisco, Mexico, and grows in dry mountainous areas between 900 m (3000 ft) and 2000 m (6500 ft) above sea level.
Agave shawii (Ferocious Giant Agave)
This is a large species and very slow-growing. It takes several years to reach reproductive maturity when grown from seed.
It has been known for some time that the juice of this agave contains saponin compounds similar in structure and effect on animals (especially rodents) to those found in Yucca rostrata (soap-tree). It has been used as a soap for washing clothes and hair.
These types of agave are sometimes called Agave ferdinand-regis, but it should not be confused with the true Agave ×leopoldii which was once widely cultivated in gardens under that name.
Agave karatto (Karat Agave)
These special types of agave are not often grown in cultivation, but almost every part of it can be used for something. The leaves are serrated on the margin and grow to about 40 cm (16 inches).
They have a central spine up to 15 mm long with smaller spines along the margins. Flowers are produced over an extended period at the end of the summer, at the base of a 60 cm (24 inches) flowering stem with several branches.