Agave americana pot culture

mateopava(8 El Paso, Tx)December 2, 2013

I have been thinking of growing one of these on my patio in a pot. They get far too large for my patio, and I do not wish to grow something that I will eventually be forced to find a new home.
Is it possible to restrict growth, perhaps by keeping it root bound, so that it will not exceed 3 feet in diameter?
Some of the research I have done indicates pot busting roots, so perhaps it is not possible to keep root bound for long.
I'm just wondering if anyone has had success keeping these small for the life of the plant.
Thanks in advance.

Matt

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I have one in a pot, and I really don't think they can be dwarfed effectively - by which I mean, root-pruning will only work for a while, and then the plant's vitality and looks will begin to suffer. I'm about to give mine to a friend who has a nice property.

Josh

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 6:23PM
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chadec(N.C.7b)

Yuccado nursery sells protoamericanas that are much smaller and hardier. Will do fine in a pot.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 6:49PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

keep an americana to 3 feet? bahahahahahaha!

pick a different agave.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 8:58PM
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GeeS 9b

What these guys said, pick a different Agave. Almost any Agave is a better choice than a potted A. americana.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 9:31PM
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mateopava(8 El Paso, Tx)

Already have many of the species that stay 2 feet or less. Was wondering about the possibility of root pruning, Greenman28.
I've been looking at that protoamericana, chadec. I've heard it is easier to keep small in a pot.
Are there any of the large Agaves that might be easy to keep small in a pot?

Thanks for the input.

Matt

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 10:33PM
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GeeS 9b

No. You might try A. palmeri or A. chrysantha, though I would categorize them as mid-sized rather than large.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 10:53PM
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mateopava(8 El Paso, Tx)

Yeah, I guess I pretty well knew the odds were against it. I've done quite a bit of research on the matter. Thought I would ask anyway. Time to switch to a different genus. Thanks again, GermanStar.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 11:23PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I have had good luck with Agave Montana, A. montanna 'Baccarat'. Agave colorata, Agave parryi.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 2:45PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

The A. americana medio-picta alba version stays at about 3', even in the ground. It's also prettier than plain A. americana.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 5:46PM
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mateopava(8 El Paso, Tx)

Awesome, I'll take a look at all of your suggestions. Really appreciate it.

Matt

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 10:06AM
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lzrddr(91360)

I have found that this plant does tend to keep smaller when put in a small pot... eventually it tends to decline a bit.. .but I have not had one literally break a pot (though I suspect that will eventually happen), even after being in the same pot for 10 years. This is an Agave americana striata that has been in that pot for 5 years (and this was 4 years ago)... I just took it out of pot this year. Not an ounce of soil left in pot... just a pot-shaped ball of roots.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 2:04PM
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mateopava(8 El Paso, Tx)

Nice one lzrddr, It is a beauty. What diameter did that Agave attain by the time you removed it from that pot?

Matt

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 11:09AM
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lzrddr(91360)

you're looking at it... Just got a bunch of suckers, but the main plant looked just about like that

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 11:54AM
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Sharon_in_Houston(9a)

I am getting an A. attenuata pup this coming week. I'd like to know if I can start it off in a large planter which was large enough to hold an adult aloe vera.

The aloe I had died on me. It was the living room facing a western window and was thriving. Suddenly, it contracted some nasty mold which resulted in my having to throw it away. The soil was really damp and colored with some sort of yellow mold. I suspect my Michael was surreptitiously putting water in the pot, an act he swears he didn't do.

In any case, I cleaned up the pot this morning with mild dish soap and bleach just in case I can use it for my new plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pup being purchased from Ebay

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 11:12AM
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cactusmcharris

Sharon,

Likely not, as the rootball of the pup sounds like it will be dwarfed by the pot.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:10PM
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cactusmcharris

And that's a differently wonderful plant, Geoff.

This thing has gotten only larger. I've removed some pups and it still looks large.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:14PM
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Sharon_in_Houston(9a)

Hi cactusmcharris,

Then I will go with a much smaller planter then. Thanks. :-)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 8:37PM
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Sharon_in_Houston(9a)

Hi cactusmcharris,

Then I will go with a much smaller planter then. Thanks. :-)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 10:13PM
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Sharon_in_Houston(9a)

Can anyone tell me how long it takes for an agave plant to produce pups? I suspect it varies from variety to variety. I presently have an agave Americana, and I am expecting the delivery of an agave attentuata pup on Monday.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 1:28PM
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cactusmcharris

Neither takes all that long, but the variables in the equation preclude me from giving you an exact date. OK, OK, 74 days from now.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 1:32PM
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Sharon_in_Houston(9a)

@cactusmcharris: LOL! The reason I ask is I've heard agaves are slow growing, so I wondered whether it'd take years for it to produce pups. :-)

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 3:30PM
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cactusmcharris

Sharon,

Given where you are, not likely. Where I am, I've learned that plants taken from Arizona/California often take a year to adjust to these northern latitudes.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 11:10PM
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Sharon_in_Houston(9a)

Catusmcharris,

Thanks! My agave has arrived at the post office here in Houston. I can't wait for its delivery. :-)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 10:45AM
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Sharon_in_Houston(9a)

My new agave (agave attenuata) has arrived! It's a little worse for wear traveling from CA via USPS to Houston, TX but it's a healthy pup. Quite happy. :-)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:23PM
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Sharon_in_Houston(9a)

Here's another picture. :-)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:25PM
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Sharon_in_Houston(9a)

In keeping with the subject of the thread here, a picture of my agave Americana.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 2:24PM
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cactusmcharris

Sharon,

Far be it from me to tell you your growing conditions, but that soil looks too peaty for humid Houston. I'd cut it with some pumice / perlite (about 50% ratio is recommended).

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 12:01AM
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Sharon_in_Houston(9a)

CactusMcHarris,

It's soil especially designed for cactus and other plants that require fast-draining soil. I suppose adding pumic/perlite wouldn't hurt, especially with the summer heat we'll soon be getting. Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 12:14AM
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Sharon_in_Houston(9a)

Btw, I had just watered the agave after potting it. But if the store-brought cactus mix is a product people routinely doctor, I certainly can do that and add in some perlite/pumice.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 12:18AM
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hijole(9 Sunny California)

Mateopava, on a new note you could place it in a pot for perhaps a shorter time period, Sometimes I have to remind myself, hey no one said I was going to leave it there F O R E V E R... Kinda like paint, I say hey! It's just paint I can always repaint it :)

Change it up, I've been known to move my plants @ like furniture.

Greg

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 12:54AM
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Sharon_in_Houston(9a)

Hi,

Can anyone tell me if it's safe for the plant if its spines are clipped?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 1:51PM
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cactusmcharris

Sharon,

It won't kill the plant, but it will pile on the ugly, IMO. You wouldn't want it aesthetically displeasing, I'd also venture.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 2:54PM
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GeeS 9b

^ Plus 1.

Either plant it outside, or give it to someone who can. There are plenty of fine Agaves far more suited to container culture than what appears to be A. salmiana.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 7:20PM
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Sharon_in_Houston(9a)

Cactus McHarris: Well, if it is going to make the plant ugly, then I will leave it be.

@GermanStar: The plant is still a baby; I purchased at it Lowe's which sold it as agave Americana. Eventually the plant will have to be planted outdoors, but since it's a slow-growing plant it will be some time before that's necessary. In the meantime, we enjoy its presence in our living room.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 8:42AM
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GeeS 9b

Unless that is a lighting trick, A. americana does not have smooth, shiny leaves, A. salmiana (which can grow even larger) does. I have an A. americana that went from small pup to 5' tall in three years. They grow like weeds. In any case, enjoy your plant.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 10:39AM
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Sharon_in_Houston(9a)

No, my plant has a decidedly matte surface that is outlined by thorns on either side of the leaves with spikes at the end. When the time comes to move it, I will either plant it outside contingent on the landlord's blessings or give it to someone who can.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 10:51AM
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