Agave is an intriguing desert succulent with sturdy, sword-shaped leaves that grow outward in a rosette shape. Agaves are available in sizes ranging from dwarf varieties a few inches tall, to giants that will grow to heights of 40 feet and more at maturity. Although agave plants can be propagated by seed, the easiest way is to start a new plant from an offshoot, or "pup," that grows from a parent plant. Plant the new agave outdoors or raise it as a houseplant if you live in a climate with cold winters.
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Things you need
- Planting container
- Sand and commercial potting mixture or potting mixture for cactus
- Sharp, clean knife
- Scissors or garden shears
- All-purpose water-soluble fertiliser
Fill a planting container with half sand and half commercial potting soil, or a commercial potting mixture formulated for cactus. Any container will work, but a 1-gallon coffee can with drainage holes poked in the bottom will ensure that the new agave won't require repotting for at least a year.
Use a sharp, clean knife to cut an offshoot, or "pup," from the base of a larger, healthy agave. Include the stem that attaches the pup from the parent plant, otherwise there will be nothing to develop a new root. You may be able to remove the offshoot by hand, but wear gloves because most agave leaves have very sharp tips.
Cut off any damaged roots with scissors or garden shears and leave about one-quarter inch of roots on the pup. Dip the base of the offshoot in rooting hormone and plant it in the potting mixture.
Put the new agave outdoors in filtered sunlight or keep it indoors in bright, but indirect light. When you notice new growth, move the agave into full sunlight.
Keep the potting mixture slightly damp. Remember that rot is the enemy of all succulents. Don't allow the soil to be soggy and never let the bottom of the planting container sit in water.
Feed the agave an all-purpose, water-soluble fertiliser in April and again in July. Apply the fertiliser according to the directions on the package.
Tips and warnings
- If your new agave will be an outdoor plant, transplant it to a sunny location in spring or early fall.
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