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The tequila cactus or the common name Blue Agave plant (Agave tequilana) needs high altitude and lots of sun to flourish. It is only hardy in USDA zones 9b and 10.
It will not do well in temperatures below 50° degrees Fahrenheit.
The Blue Agave plants are a stunning plant that can reach a height and width of eight feet.
When mature, this monocarpic plant sends out a fifteen-foot high, edible asparagus-like flower stalk and produces large numbers of pups at its base.
How to Keep Blue Agave Indoors
To keep blue agave plants (or any agave) indoors in the winter, you should locate a sunny window that provides at least six hours of direct light exposure daily.
If you do not have a window with that much sun exposure, choose your best window and add artificial light to supplement.
Blue agave and other large species (Agave americana aka century plant) can do very well as potted plants and container plants while they are small. Root crowding is not a problem for agave.
As long as you provide a good, free-draining planting medium, your agave will be happy. Use either a prepared cactus or succulent mix or make your own.
Remember that you will not need to water much during the cold months. Even if your plant is warm and cozy indoors, you don’t need to encourage growth, so just water sparingly whenever the top half of the potting medium is dry.
Some sources recommend providing a diluted fertilizer treatment every couple of months during the winter, but this is not necessary.
With a good potting medium, your plant should not need extra supplementation. Again, your goal in the winter is not to encourage growth, and you certainly don’t want to encourage flowering.
Other interesting Agave species Include:
- Agave Parryi (Artichoke Agave)
- Agave victoriae-reginae
Grow Blue Agave From a Pup Step-by-Step
The easiest way to grow any agave is from a pup. Here are instructions to help you get your plant started and care for it on an ongoing basis.
#1 – Choose the Right Location To Grow Agave
Begin by placing your blue agave pup into well-draining, sandy potting mix in a garden location that receives a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight every day.
These plants prefer a rich, sandy soil; however, almost any quality well-draining potting mix is acceptable.
Be sure to select a landscape location that is high enough to allow excellent drainage as these plants cannot tolerate wet feet.
You must also take care to protect the plant from chill. Sheltering trees or bushes that provide a wind block but do not block the sun can be helpful.
Leave plenty of space for the plant to grow to its full and imposing height and breadth.
Remember that its spears are rigid and sharp and equipped with thorny spines (leaf tips), so place your blue agave well away from footpaths and play areas.
Also, keep in mind the fact that you will need to remove the remains of the plant after it blooms (some thirty years down the line) so don’t put it in an area that will be difficult to access and work in when that time comes.
#2 – Water Agave Plants Carefully!
Once you have located a good spot and planted your blue agave, be sure to keep it watered until the roots become well-established. Water deeply, once a week for about four weeks. If you get substantial rain, don’t water.
Once the plant is established, water one or two times a month during the growing season, always taking natural rainfall into account.
Don’t water in the wintertime. When watering, water the plant thoroughly and evenly, but do not overwater and leave the plant standing in water. Wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again.
Don’t worry that your plant will be thirsty. It is far better to under-water than over-water. All succulents store extra water in their leaves, and your plant will have what it needs.
#3 – Fertilize Agaves Very Sparingly or Not At All
You can give your blue agave a half dose of diluted liquid fertilizer specially formulated feed for succulents and cactus if you wish. This really is not necessary, though.
Once established, your plant should be able to glean all the nourishment it needs from the soil.
Mulching around the plant with chopped leaves in the cooler months should help replenish nutrients in the soil and provide more nourishment for your agave if it needs it.
Remember that excessive fertilizer will spur your plant to flower, and that will be the end of your plant!
#4 – Protect Agave Plants Against Cold
Blue Agave succulents can withstand an occasional freeze if you take extra precautions. Be sure to cover your plant with blankets before it freezes. Your cover should extend all the way to the ground to hold in the heat of the earth.
If you can surround your plant with bales of straw or bags of leaves to help hold the blankets in place, it is helpful.
If you are expecting temperatures below 28° degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period, you should dig your plant up and bring it indoors if it is small enough to do so.