Agave attenuata

This graceful accent plant has light, bluish-green, smooth, pliable foliage that forms a rosette of growth to five feet tall and wide. It has arching leaves and does not produce spines. The variety ‘Nova’ is smaller with wider, bluish-green leaves and an erect flower stalk. ‘Kara’s Stripes’ is a newer, hybridized plant with butter yellow foliage marked by narrow, green stripes; it requires more sunshine to produces its color. All the varieties bloom once after about ten years, with a seven- to fifteen-foot tall flower stalk that has yellowish-green blooms that arch downward. After the plant flowers, offsets will develop to help the plant reproduce. The foxtail agave should be planted in partial shade to avoid sun-burning the foliage. While drought-resistant and salt-tolerant, it likes additional, weekly irrigation during the hot, dry season. It is frost sensitive below thirty degrees Fahrenheit, so protect it by covering during the coldest nights. The foxtail agave also tolerates most soils as long as they are well-draining. Use it as a background plant or as an understory in the protected shade of a large canopy tree. It can also be planted in shaded entryways and large planters for tropical effects. Use it around fountains and pools, or where bold foliage is needed. This is a great background plant in annual and perennial color plants or as an accent in cactus and succulent gardens. It is a rare species and is native to mountain habitats in central Mexico.

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