The striking agave grows in a single, dense rosette reaching three feet tall with a four to five foot spread. It has a short, terminal spine and numerous, medium-green leaves with many fibers growing along the leaf margins, creating a shaggy appearance. There are white colorations along the sides of the leaves, and the bottom portion is slightly convex, with a sharp, black spine at the end. The plant does not produce many offsets and once in its lifetime, it sends up a flower stalk sixteen feet high with waxy, green buds and dense, lavender blossoms. After the blooms start to decline, the mother plant will die. The shaggy head agave can be found growing natively at elevations of 4,500 to 6,500 feet in mountainous regions, where it grows amongst pines and oaks on rocky cliffs and shaded areas of Durango, Sinaloa, and Chihuahua, Mexico.
The shaggy head agave is hardy to twenty to twenty-five degrees Fahrenheit. It is very drought-resistant, needing supplemental irrigation occasionally during hot, dry weather. This plant tolerates most soil conditions as long as it is well-draining. It also likes full sun locations or partial to filtered shade. Use this slower growing agave in low-water-use and xeriscape situations. Mix it into cactus and succulent gardens or plant it in containers or raised planters.