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November 2011
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Agave Americana also known as the Century Plant, American Aloe and maguey is an agave

Image of Agave Americana plant at Google

Agave Americana, which is also known as the Century Plant, American Aloe and maguey, is an agave that is native to Mexico-North America and grows in the regions of Europe, South Africa, India, and Australia. This plant is pollinated by bat named Leptonycteris nivalis. It is an ornamental plant that can spread wide of about 10 feet.

This plant has gray green leaves that are 2 m (6.6 ft) long and has a spiny margin with spike at the tip which is very sharp. The spike is known to be sharp as to pierce a bone. The spike is 10 inches wide and 6 feet long. The flowers are yellow in color and can grow up to a height of 8 m (26 ft). The plant is known to die after flowering.

The Subspecies are:
– Agave americana var. americanas
– Agave americana var. expansa
– Agave americana var. latifolia
– Agave americana var. oaxacensis
– Agave americana ssp. protamericana

This plant’s flower is used to make pulque. The leaves fibers are used for making rope, matting, and coarse cloth and for embroidery of leather in a technique known as piteado. Agave nectar which is also known as agave syrup is a natural sugar substitute.

Growing/Caring conditions for Agave Americana:
– This plant can be propagated from seed.
– The plants should be watered around the soil to ensure soil to root contact.
– The plants should be spaced 6 feet apart for enabling the plant to spread at the base.
– The plant is best grown in USDA zone 8-9.
– This plant need full sun to partial shade but prefers lots of sunshine.
– This plant needs at least six hours of direct sunlight every day.
– This plant needs moderately fertile and well drained soil.
– It needs high humidity and hence it should be maintained.
– Mulch with a 2-inch layer of bark or gravel mulch around the base for the plant to retain moisture.
– Maintain evenly moist soil.
– Overhead watering is recommended as the leaves are shaped to funnel water to the base.
– During summer watering the plant after three to four weeks will let the leaf be green and upright.
– Do not water clog the plant.
– Care should be taken from a condition known as anthracnose that can attach. itself to the plant as a result of watering or during rainy and windy conditions. Infected leaves should be removed from spreading.
– Snout weevil is a major problem hence care must be taken.
– Soil-borne pathogens can cause crown or root rot hence this fungal infection should be avoided.

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