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A Quick Look at Agave macroacantha



The Black-Spined Agave, A. macroacantha, may not be the sexiest Agave, but I have nine of them, more than any other of my 65+ varieties, so by that measure, I suppose it is my favorite. This diminutive species grows to 12" across and offsets freely, with mature plantings always presenting as clumps.

This is a very distinctive plant, no other Agave even remotely resembles A. macroacantha, with its powder blue color, narrow oval-ended leaves, and distinctive black spines. They don't mind shady spots too much, and thrive under full sun, even here in AZ.



A. macroacantha's one soft spot is they are just a bit tender, taking minimal damage at about 25°F. This 5-plant clump took some minor frost damage, but has recovered nicely from 20°F temps this past winter.




(Above) Two youngsters growing well in full sun. The second has just produced its first offset, seen on the left.


(Above) A comparatively rare A. macroacantha verde. I picked this guy up at a local nursery that was unaware of the scarcity of the green variety.


Their size makes them idea container candidates, and provides opportunities to fill unique landscape niches other Agaves could never manage.

Author: Ron Parker, Arizona

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