Agave: how to grow the plant that can stand the heat

Agave: how to grow the plant that can stand the heat


L'agave it's a fat plant more properly said "succulent", perennial, among the oldest, native to the Caribbean islands, South America and Mexico. The name "agave" comes from the Latin "agavos" and means wonderful due to the well-known beauty of the stems and leaves of this plant. It is said that the first Indians who settled in these areas used it for dozens of uses, from medicinal to culinary to textile. From the stem of the plant in fact it is possible to obtain one resistant fiber for the production of fabrics, ropes or paper. There sap instead it is used as a medicine and for the production of pulque or an alcoholic beverage produced by fermentation and which, together with the tequila, it is considered the second Mexican national drink.

There are many species of agave and of size very different; in general we can say that the structures can grow in diameters ranging from twenty centimeters to five or six meters wide, while in height they develop between 15 centimeters and 2 and a half meters at most.

They exist beyond 200 varieties of this plant that today we can also find on the Mediterranean coasts and in Southern Italy where the climate is milder. Among the many better known and marketed species, the following certainly stand out:american agaveL'agave attenuataL'blue agave also said techilana agaveL'agave stricta and theagave victoria reginae.

American agave

American agave

L'american agave it is certainly a scenic-looking plant with very large and fleshy green/grey leaves dotted along the entire length by large thorns that end in a large sting. This is by far the most widespread species as it is also very resistant to pot culture. It grows mainly in areas with a warm climate and fears humidity.

Agave attenuata

Agave attenuata

Agave attenuata

This particular species of agave is very rare. It lives on the hilly areas of Mexico, it is a plant that can reach one and a half meters as an adult and its completely thornless structure is made up of long and wide leaves that can reach seventy centimeters. L'agave attenuata it prefers hot climates to harsh ones, in fact it loves direct exposure to the sun and usually requires monthly watering.

Agave tequilana

Agave tequilana

Agave tequilana

This type of agave, as the name suggests, is mainly used in South America for the production of Mexican techila from the fermentation of its juice. L'techilana agave it is also said "blue agave" for the green / bluish color of its fine and long leaves which can give it a diameter of two meters. Precisely because of its structure, it is advisable to grow it in the ground so as to guarantee it more space available for its natural growth but it is also possible to place it in an obviously very large vase. It is a species that fears frost.

Agave stricta

Agave stricta

Agave stricta

This type of agave, unlike the others, is small in size, its structure is in the shape of a hemisphere, its leaves are 30 to 40 centimeters long, narrow and hanging. It flowers between July and September and grows mainly in areas with a semi-desert climate.

Agave victoriae reginae

Agave victoriae reginae

Agave victoria queen

This type of agave is slow growing even if it too has a very suggestive appearance. The leaves of this plant are fleshy and of a very intense green, the terminal part of which is provided with a brown thorn. It produces cream colored flowers in summer and grows well in sunny locations. Like all succulents, it suffers from water stagnation, therefore pay attention to irrigation which must be at short intervals in spring until interrupted in summer.

Cultivation

To grow agave it is necessary to have one available mother plant from which to take the small 10 cm long shoots that grow at the base of the plant. Once cut, they should be left to dry for a few days and then buried about 10-15 centimeters deep. The growth of this plant is not very fast, but it will pay off in beauty once it becomes an adult plant.

What soil to use

The best soil for growing agave is definitely sandy formulation mixed with gravel which serves to avoid stagnation of liquids which as we know is the main cause of death when we talk about succulent plants.

Watering

Succulents fear frequent watering as we know, especially the agave requires the maximum amount of two monthly glasses of water in the autumn/winter periodwhile in summer it will be good to monitor the humidity condition of the soil which must never suffer setbacks and therefore dry out to prevent the plant from suffering too much from the heat.

Flowering

The agave has the particularity of producing a single flower throughout its life cycle. In fact this one flowering that occurs in the warm period between May and June, will lead to the birth of a single tall and majestic flower resembling a tree. Once the growth of this flower is complete, the plant will be close to the end of its life cycle.

Edible plant

The agave is used for multiple uses as we have already said, one of these which is fundamental above all for some populations of the world, is theedible use. During the winter and spring period the leaves of the agave are rich in sap also called honey water due to its particular sweetness and once picked with sterilized tools, they can be eaten. Furthermore, it is always possible to produce it through the extraction of the sap Maple syrup used as a low calorie sweetener. Lastly, from the fermentation of the sap we obtain the pulque and the tequilaboth alcoholic beverages.



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