Agave, or Century Plant, is a native of most of the tropical Americas. It’s name “century plant” refers to the long time the plant takes to flower. Dependent upon the individual variety of plant and the richness of the soil and the climate (during these years the plant is storing in its fleshy leaves the nourishment required for the effort of flowering), flowering occurs only once every twenty to thirty years.
Above you see some of the very unique displays in the Riviera Maya (the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico). I love the large grouping and think it is a fantastic idea to use in our own gardens back home. Although most of us in the U.S. cannot grow agave in our gardens, we can take a lesson from this technique of mass plantings and try it ourselves.
Although Agave’s require water, they are extremely hardy and drought tolerant, so represent a wonderfully sustainable solution should you live in a zone to support the tropical heat-loving plant. Agave’s get quite large – below you see me standing next to an agave which towered above everything around it. The plant is at the edge of a thick jungle, which you can see behind me. I had to be very careful standing next to it as the tips of the plant are needle sharp and were ready to shish-ka-bob a body part to protect itself.