Whale’s Tongue AgaveAgave ovatifolia
|Category||Desert Accent Plant|
|Size||6' x 5'|
|Exposure||Full sun or lightly filtered shade|
The striking agave is admired for its light blue to powdery, whitish-blue and slightly cupped foliage. It grows three to five feet tall and three to six feet wide, forming a dense rosette of short, wide distinctive leaves. Its foliage is similar to Agave parryi. Along the edges of the leaves, it develops sharp, grayish-black spines and a long, sharp, brownish-red leaf tip. At the end of its lifetime it produces a ten- to fourteen-foot tall flower stalk with many branches that are densely clustered with large, yellowish-green flowers. In its native habitat in Mexico, the flowers are sometimes harvested for cattle food. This agave does not produce offsets. Use it in containers, in low planters, as an accent, near boulders, in groupings with other agave species or low-water-use plants, or under the light shade of a tree. This agave was introduced in the United States, where it was recognized as a new species and renamed early in this decade. It is native to the Sierra de Lampazos Mountains of Nuevo Leon in northeastern Mexico where it grows from 3,700 to 7,000 feet.
The whale’s tongue agave should be planted in full sun or lightly filtered shade. It is hardy to just below ten degrees Fahrenheit, and is tolerant of most soils as long as they are well-draining. This plant is also drought-resistant, but grows faster with supplemental irrigation.