Agave attenuata (Foxtail Agave): Grow and Care Tips

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Agave attenuata, more commonly known as the Foxtail Agave, Swan’s neck agave, Lion’s tail, or Dragon-Tree Agave, is a lovely evergreen succulent with a rosette of silvery-green leaves which grows on the top of a thick stem. 

When it flowers, it produces an arching stem with masses of yellow flowers. The plant will flower in summer and the flower stem can reach a height of 5 feet.

How to Grow Foxtail Agave

In areas with mild winters and warm summers, Agave attenuata can be grown outdoors. It prefers to receive a fair amount of sunlight but requires a little protection from the really hot afternoon sun. It’s the ideal plant for rockeries, slopes and as an edging plant when mass planted.

This Agave is also suitable for container growing and this is preferred in areas that experience very cold winters as this plant is frost-tender. When growing indoors, make sure that you place the plant in a bright spot that receives plenty of indirect light.

How to Propagate Agave attenuata

Agave attenuata produces offsets from the base of the plant and these are ideal for propagation. You can sever these from the mother plant with some roots attached if there are any. Place these into a pot filled with well-drained potting mix. Keep moist but not too wet until you start to see some new growth appear. The best time to remove these offsets is in the cooler months when the plant is dormant.

Sometimes Agave will also produce stolons. These are lateral stems that grow close to the ground and will set down roots to produce new plants. You can cut these away from the mother plant and pot them up to form a new plant.

agave attenuata care

Care and Maintenance

Foxtail agave is one of those plants that virtually thrives on neglect. It requires very little maintenance except for some regular watering during the warmer months. Here are some Agave care tips:

Soil

Agave attenuata likes well-drained soil that is slightly acidic and not compacted. It grows best in loamy or sandy soil.

If you’re growing this Agave in a pot, which it’s well suited to, use a quality potting mix that is free-draining.

Water

Don’t let the soil dry out during the warmer months. However, you can give the plant less water in the fall and keep it dry in the winter. In fact, this Agave is quite drought-tolerant.

When growing in containers, don’t let the roots sit in water. During the warmer weather, water when the top inch or two of soil feels dry. Keep the plant dry in winter when it’s dormant and then water again as you see it produce new growth in the spring.

Fertilizer

When grown outdoors or in a quality potting mix, foxtail agave plant doesn’t require any additional fertilization. 

Sunlight

Agave attenuata prefers to grow in full sun but needs some protection from wind and likes to be sheltered from the very hot afternoon sun.

Temperature and Humidity

This Agave is frost tender so must be moved indoors or into a sheltered position if you get very cold winters. It does not tolerate temperatures below 28 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Pruning

Agave attenuata does not require any pruning except to remove any dry or dead leaves when necessary.

Pest and diseases

The most common pest that might be found on your Agave is the scale insect. This can easily be wiped off with a damp cloth dipped in insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Conclusion

Foxtail agave is a hardy succulent that is very easy to grow. It can be grown outside in areas that experience only mild winters. Otherwise, the plant is best grown in a pot and moved indoors when the temperatures start to drop.

It only requires minimal water in the summer months and no extra water in winter when the plant becomes dormant.

See more agave varieties and other succulent plants you can grow.