Blown Away by the Gorgeous Long Flower From This Agave Attenuata - Commonly Known as Foxtail

Did you see this agave variety blooming ever before? The flower this long and beautiful only occurs once in a lifetime for the Agave Foxtail.

By: THURSD. | 01-03-2022 | 4 min read

Agave Attenuata is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae. The plant is commonly known as 'Foxtail', a name that refers to its development of a curved inflorescence, which is unusual among agaves. It’s native to central Mexico in the state of Jalisco where it produces long, curved flower stalks with greenish-yellow flower color. This one grows in Spain, near Calpe. 

Agave Attenuata or Foxtail

A week ago a garden in Spain, looked like this. Woooooow, a Foxtail Agage - what a great plant, and what a flower! Foxtail Agave gets its name from the dramatic flower stalks produced by mature plants. Single plants will grow 1 to 1.5 meters in size and produce many small plants around the base to form large clumping colonies.


Agave Attenuata Commonly Known as Fox Tail - on Thursd


This agave is valued in many landscapes for its pale-bluish to yellow-green leaves that are soft, fleshy, and without spines on the margins or tips. Most plants grow for many years before flowering and can develop 50-100 centimeters tall trunks. Thousands of small yellow and cream-colored flowers mature on 3-5 meters long arching flower stalks. Flowering occurs among plants in late fall, winter, and spring, and provides a dramatic floral display for 1-2 months. 

Once in a Lifetime

It takes 10 to 15 years before the plant is flowering. And it only flowers once. It takes all its strength to produce small new plants. The flowering plant dies after it flowers, leaving behind a large group of younger plants.


Agave Attenuata Foxtail Botanicals on Thursd


Warm Climate

Foxtail Agave needs protection from harsh winter cold and grows best with low to very low amounts of supplemental water throughout summer. From a landscape perspective, Foxtail Agave is a highly versatile accent and special interest plant. It grows well in containers, on banks, and as a solitary specimen or grouped for mass effect. It can be combined with the Mediterranean and Southwestern plant palettes. Several attractive gray-blue foliage cultivars are available from different nurseries.

How Agave Attenuata Got the Name Foxtail?

The arching flower stalk curves back towards the ground and sometimes feature a second arch, resembling a foxtail. The Foxtail Agave produces many 'suckers' or offshoots. These offshoots increase the clumping of the foliage, resulting in thicker growth. When the inflorescence blooms, the flower stalk features small, greenish-yellow petals. These flowers eventually fall and are replaced by seed pods, making agave propagation easy.



How Much Water and Fertilizer Does the Plant Need?

The Foxtail has low water needs. It is drought tolerant and only requires occasional watering to keep the ground from completely drying out. Luckily, it’s hard to overwater the Foxtail Agave plant. During the summer growing season apply a balanced liquid fertilizer to the Foxtail Agave. In general, the plant requires little additional fertilizing. During the summer, thoroughly water the plant about once per week. As the temperature cools, you should need to water it less frequently. In fact, during the winter, you hardly need to water the plant at all. When watering, you don’t need to water the leaves. For potted plants water the soil thoroughly and allow the water to drain completely. Do not allow the plant to sit in water.


Agave close-up flower, once in a lifetime - on Thursd


Foxtail Soil and Transplanting Needs

The plant should be grown in a sandy well-drained soil mix with lots of gravel. The soil should offer good drainage and remain dry most of the time. However, the Foxtail Attenuata can be planted in almost any soil that offers good drainage. The sandy soil just makes it easier to ensure that the soil will drain well.

NOTE: It’s also important to avoid planting it in an area that gets a lot of strong breezes or cold temperatures.

When planting multiple plants in the landscape, keep them about eight feet apart. This offers enough space for the plants to reach their maximum spread of eight feet. You should also use caution when transplanting. The Foxtail Agave doesn’t hold up well to sudden changes in lighting. Transplanting plants from partial shade to full sun may burn the leaves.

When placing it in a container or pot, the plant does not need a deep pot. The root structure doesn’t go very deep. While the plant still grows in deep soil, it’s simply a waste of soil. The soil should also be replaced every two years when the plant is planted in a container or pot. You can remove the offsets when transplanting or repotting, especially if they’re crowding the mother plant.



How To Propagate The Foxtail Agave

To propagate Foxtail Agave, simply collect the offsets or collect the seed pods. Remove the pods in the spring or summer and let them dry for several days. The agave seeds germinate when fresh and should be placed in good potting soil.

Pruning, Grooming, and Trimming Agave Plants

You only plant grooming required is if you’re worried about the leaves getting too large. You may want to remove the basal suckers for aesthetics or propagation purposes.


Agave Attenuata Foxtail Agave Close-Up Flower on Thursd



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