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Products > Agave asperrima
Agave asperrima - Rough Century Plantave

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Agavaceae (now Asparagaceae)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Synonyms: [A. scabra]
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 4-5 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Agave asperrima (Rough Century Plant) A medium sized agave growing to about 4 feet tall with thick blue-gray 3 foot long leaves that are 4 to 6 inches wide at the widest point towards the middle and deeply guttered lengthwise with a tapering tip ending in a long dark brown spine and with large teeth along the margins. The flowers are bright yellow in peduncles of a 15 to 20 foot tall spike. The flowers attract nectar feeding birds but as with other agave it doesn't bloom often and afterwards dies with new plants emerging at the base. Plant in full sun. Irrigate occasionally to not at all this desert species is very drought tolerant in our climate and one can do more harm than good by irrigating in the summer. Cold hardy to around 15 degrees F and useful in USDA Zones 8a and above. This species comes from 4,000 to 7,200 feet elevations in the Chihuahuan desert. It has long been called Agave scabra but due to a taxonomic mix up this name was later considered invalid with Agave asperrima winning out. The specific epithet comes from the Latin word 'asper' meaning "rough" in reference to the sandpaper-like texture of the leaf surface. This is one parent with the Agave nickelsiae, the king form of Agave victoriae-reginae, of the very popular Agave 'Sharkskin' and 'Sharkskin Shoes'. It is a very attractive medium sized agave but, as with others in the genus, care must be exercised when choosing to plant. Give it plenty of room and situate it away from traffic and use care when working around or trimming any Agave. Not only are the spines wicked and cause a painful swelling if one is poked, but the sap of many species is caustic. Many a person has regretted using a chainsaw, which throws the juices back at the user, to trim an agave.  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We will also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information about this plant, in particular if this information is contrary to what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Agave asperrima.