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Scientific: Agave angustifolia (Synonym: Agave vivipara)
Common: Caribbean agave, maguey lechugilla, narrow-leaf century plant
Family: Asparagaceae (subfamily Agavoideae)
Origin: Unknown, but possibly around the state of Jalisco in Mexico in west central Mexico south into central America.

Invasive alert: Caribbean agave has naturalized and become invasive in Florida and northeast Australia (Queensland).

Pronounciation: A-GA-ve an-gus-ti-FOL-ee-a

Hardiness zones
USDA 9-11

Landscape Use: This is an interesting accent agave for intermediate-sized desert gardens and xeric landscape design themes. It can be planted singularly, in groups, or used as a container plant.

Form & Character: Robustly branched, rosette like, stiff and foreboding with coarse, sharp leaf tips, formal.

Growth Habit: Evergreen, succulent and fibrous, herbaceous perennial, monocarpic (individual rosettes die after one reproductive cycle - flowering and fruiting), grows to 4 feet in height with a variably greater spread. The size of Caribbean agave is highly variable depending on the varietal selection. It has a unique growth habit amongst Agave species in that it will simultaneously branch (caulescent) and grow basal offshoots (acaulescent) forming a broadly dense, rosetting clumps with age.

Foliage/Texture: Stiff, relatively narrow gray green leaves that taper to a very sharp, stiff, dangerous point, usually with a finely serrate margin, cultivars typically have pattrns of leaf variegation; coarse texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Produces many green to yellow flowers on a 10 to 16 feet tall panicle; occasionally flower stalks will produce bulbils instead of fruits.

Seasonal Color: None, except when flowering.

Temperature: Hardy in Phoenix to 25oF, otherwise heat tolerant.

Light: Filtered sun to full sun is best, some protection of intense western sun is advisable for variegated selections.

Soil: Sandy, some loam, well-drained soil is best.

Watering: Some supplemental water should be given only occasionally during the summer. Keep in mind that as with most plants, supplemental water applications increases growth rate.

Pruning: Pruning is not attempted with Caribbean agave mostly because the pruner will lose the battle as this agave is so dangerous (Where is Danger Man when you need him?).

Propagation: Division of basal offshoots, more rarely separation of flower stalk bulbils.

Disease and Pests: Agave snout weevil (Scyphophorus acupunctatus) can attack variously most agave species in the low desert.

Additional comments: This is a very handsome, but very dangerous, intermediate-sized agave with a strong branching habit. The varietal selection marginata is the most popular form of Caribbean agave seen in the Phoenix area. Less common is a variety called variegata.