Artichoke Agave

What is Artichoke Agave?

Artichoke agave is an evergreen perennial succulent. A member of the Asparagaceae family and you can trace its roots from 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 common names like Parry’s agave, Mescal agave, and Artichoke agave. The leaves form a tight rosette which 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 10 years to flower, while others might take up to 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 dies. 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 oblong 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 and can’t be considered invasive outside these areas. Since it takes longer to grow and doesn’t possess tolerance to wet weather or winter hardness, it’s hard to consider it invasive outside its native desert habitat.

How to Plant Artichoke Agave Plant

Artichoke agave grows in warm regions. It’s a smaller agave that you can grow in a container or in-ground. It’s drought-tolerant, hence has medium water needs. For those who might care: Xeriscaping – a drought-tolerant landscape is getting trendy ahead of traditional landscaping.

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’s found 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. Additionally, they look amazing when you plant them in a sunny garden or large containers.

Well, before planting it, ensure that the soil is well-drained. 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.

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

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

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 would 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. 

How To Take Care Of the Plant

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 and 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. The heart or the core is what’s is used as food. It’s pretty sweet just before the plant flowers.

 Native Americans discovered a way to trim the leaves of agave and harvest their heart. They would then cook 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. It can be used as soap, food, medicine, soap, and fiber. 

The sisal fiber can be used to make several items, but 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.