© RHS / Tim Sandall

Introducing...

Agave

Common name: Century plant

Grown for their striking appearance, these sculptural succulents cannot withstand frost so are usually grown in containers in conservatories or greenhouses. Outdoors, they can be used in summer bedding schemes or in large containers to make a focal point.

Looks

Thick, firm, succulent leaves are pointed at the tip and can have spiny margins or curling, thread-like filaments. Most are greyish-green, sometimes edged with creamy white or yellow.

Likes

Agaves need very free-draining, gritty soil, in full sun. In containers, use cactus compost or other good quality compost with added grit for drainage.

Dislikes

Agaves dislike overly fertile soil, especially if permanently moist. They will not grow in shade.

Did you know?

Commercially, agaves have long been cultivated for their fibres (sisal) and to make alcoholic drinks, including tequila.

Growing guide

Useful advice

Containers: summer selection

Containers: summer selection

Gravel gardens

Gravel gardens

Houseplants: choosing the best

Houseplants: choosing the best

Houseplants: holiday care

Houseplants: holiday care

Plants for coastal areas

Plants for coastal areas

Other plants you may like

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.