How To Care For Agave Parryi (Artichoke Agave)

Agave Parryi, commonly known as Artichoke agave, is an evergreen perennial succulent. A member of the Asparagaceae family and you can trace its roots in northern Mexico, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. It contains glorious serrated blue-green thick leaves with the tips having wicked barbs. 

artichoke agave
Artichoke agave @Pinterest

Often, it goes by familiar names like Parry’s agave, Mescal agave, and Artichoke agave. The leaves form a tight rosette that grows over time. The rosette can span 3-4 feet and grow 2-3 feet tall. 

It takes a long to mature. Some may take ten years to flower, while others may take 25 years to blossom. Fortunately, the wait is always worth it. The flowering spikes can grow to 5m or 15ft. 

The stalks can grow up to 12 feet, or 3.67 m in length. When artichoke gave blooms, the rosette died. But this doesn’t mean it’s the end of its life. It produces basal offsets that grow into new plants. You can leave the basal offsets in place of artichoke or divide it away from the dying plant and plant it elsewhere.

When the flowers are in the bud, the buds are red. However, when the bud opens, the flowers turn bright yellow. The leaves are rigid, thick, smooth, and elliptical or oval in shape. These leaves are either blue-grey leaves or evergreen greyish green.

 Agave isn’t considered an invasive plant. It mainly grows in its native settings. Since it takes longer to grow and doesn’t possess tolerance to wet weather or winter hardness, it’s hard to believe it is invasive outside its native desert habitat.

Agave Varieties

  • Agave Americana (Century Plant) – An Maguey in Mexico. It has beautiful blue-green leaves and saw-toothed spines. However, some plants have a solid blue color
  • Agave Filifera (Thread Leaf Agave) has dark green leaves with a slightly bronze cast. Each leaf is edged with white thread-like filaments. Typically, this type is medium size only.
  • Agave Tequilana  (Blue Agave Plant) this type is used to make tequila. Aside from that, it is also known as a landscaping plant, perfect for your home garden.
  • Agave Angustifolia (Caribbean Agave) – This type is a rosette-forming one that grows up to 4 feet. It has pale green leaves with creamy-white margins and sharp spines of the tips of its leaves
  • Agave Salmiana – This type grows bigger up to 6 feet and typically spreads up to 12 feet. When this plant matures, it will develop large, dark green leaves with sharp, serrated margins.

How To Plant Artichoke Agave Plant

Artichoke agave grows in warm regions. It’s a smaller agave you can grow in a container or in-ground. It’s drought-tolerant, hence has medium water needs.  Once the plant has been established, forget watering it as long as your area receives moderate rainfall.

It doesn’t necessarily need fertilizers to thrive. It mainly grows in warm rocky areas in the wild, like edges of chaparral, grassland, pine, desert scrub areas, juniper woodlands, and oak forests for it to thrive.

The plant is excellent for city borders, succulent gardens, beds, and borders, rock gardens, Mediterranean gardens, or succulent gardens, as long as those places need coverage. It’s ideal in decorative containers. They look amazing when you plant them in a sunny garden or large containers.

Soil

Well, before planting it, ensure that the soil is humus-rich. If the soil is compact, you will be forced to add grit. To achieve this, you can add gravel, rock, or sand. Make sure to test it to check if the water will drain quickly. For this, you will need to dig a hole, fill it with water and observe it draining.  If it takes 15 or more, add more grit.

Light

This plant needs whole light for it to thrive. However, it can grow in partial shade. It can tolerate dry cold areas and not wet cold areas. Hence, plant it indoors and move it inside during winter when you live in a cooler climate.

You will need to shelter it from the harsh afternoon sun or reflected heat in hot summer areas.

Temperature & Humidity

Your Artichoke Agave prefers a warm temperature of 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It can also tolerate temperatures of 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit during winter. Locations with low humidity are also preferred as high humidity levels can lead to root rot.

If you plant it where foot traffic occurs, it would be best to prune the barbs at the edges of the leaves. You need to remove the sharp spines on the leaf tips, which can be dangerous to pets and humans.  The plant attracts hummingbirds and it’s resistant to deer.

To grow the artichoke from the offsets, you need a sterile pair of scissors or sharp knives.  Remove the offset from the dying planet, and leave it to be callous for a few days before placing it in well-draining soil—constantly water when the soil has dried out completely.

Artichoke Agave Propagation

This type of plant can be propagated through offsets. You may use your bare hands or a clean, sharp knife to remove the offsets from the mother plant. Make sure you hold the offsets on the base to avoid unnecessary damage. Once removed, allow the offsets to be calloused for two to three days. This is very important to avoid any fungal infection. When replanting your offsets, do not forget to use well-draining soil.

Artichoke Agave Care

After planting artichoke agave, could you wait for a few days before watering it? The best part about the plant is it rarely needs water to grow unless it’s in the hottest seasons. You should place the plant around gravel or non-organic material to prevent weeds from growing around it. And also to keep the soil warm. 

It isn’t bothered by most diseases, but overwatering can promote rotting diseases. When cutting it, use safety glasses and well-covered shoes. Ensure that you also have long pants and gloves.

As long as you provide plenty of warmth, sunlight, and well-draining soil, you shouldn’t encounter any problems with artichoke agave. It’s equally pet resistant. The thick and tough hard-to-pierce leaves render it less attractive to attacks by agave snout weevil.

Is Artichoke Agave Poisonous?

Agave is neither toxic nor poisonous. For years, it has been used as a source of food and drink. If you take out the agave’s central bud, the cavity you leave fills with a fluid (honey water) called Aguamiel.  

 You can use fermented Aguamiel to make an alcoholic drink known as pulque. Distilled pulque is used in making mescal or tequila. It’s pretty sweet just before the plant flowers.

 Native Americans discovered a way to trim agave leaves and harvest their heart. They would then cook for up to four days using a lengthy pit roasting process. 

The agave meat is speculated to be sweet, and it can be closely equated to the test of pineapples, molasses, and sweet potatoes. The meat is also fibrous. You eat it by chewing it and spitting out the tough fibers.

The agave roasted in this manner can also be pounded to form cakes. The cakes are dried and eaten later. 

Does Artichoke Agave Contain Any Benefits?

Agave has a variety of uses: soap, food, medicine, soap, and fiber. 

The sisal fiber is useful to make several items but is not limited to carpets, ropes, twines, filters, Fabric, and mattresses. 

Artichoke agave is an excellent plant in any garden. You only need to meet its growth requirements, and you wouldn’t have problems growing it.

Final Words

By the end of this article, we hope that you were able to have a better knowledge of how to take good care of your Artichoke Agave. It is a unique-looking succulent that forms rosette over time. Aside from its appearance, what is interesting about this plant is that it is also perennial. It might take ten years for some plants to bloom, while others might take 25 years to bear flowers. Witnessing your Artichoke Agave to flower is a fantastic experience for every succulent lover.

ABOUT ME

Richard Miller

Salute everyone. It's Richard, the author of this Succulent & Xeriscaping blog. I am a traveler and a nature lover looking for a connection with the wild green. In my journey, I found a love for succulents and xeriscaping. What attracts me is the long-lasting & unique beauty of every plant I have the chance to see with my own eyes. Welcome to my little blog and let's enjoy a good time together!

Contact me: richard.succulentcity@gmail.com

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Posted in Perennial Plants