One of the easiest to grow agaves for cold, wet climates, the Mountain Agave (Agave montana) is native to the mountains of Northern Mexico so it is no stranger to cold. Forms a solitary rosette, meaning no agave “pups” coming out from the sides, and looks like a massive blue, spiny artichoke once it reaches maturity. At anywhere between age 20-30 they will flower, sending up what looks to be a gigantic extraterrestrial asparagus shoot that eventually opens up to reveal many flowers. Plants die after flowering so it is a bittersweet but extravagant affair!
Specimens in the Northwest have taken on massive proportions, and one even became a local celebrity, complete with new infrastructure to direct foot traffic, when it flowered in the spring of 2020. Some people chalked it up to the pandemic making everybody a little bit stir crazy but we think it would have caused a stir no matter when it flowered! It was awesome!!!
Plant in extremely well draining soil in the brightest conditions if planting in ground. Otherwise it makes a fantastic container specimen and can be brought indoors when very cold weather is in the forecast.
Latin Name: Agave montana
Site and Soil: Full sun and very well-draining soil. Very drought tolerant once established and will need little to no supplemental watering during the summer season, though an occasional monsoon in the hottest months speeds growth.
Hardiness: Hardy to approx. 0º F, possibly lower with great drainage.
Size at Maturity: 3 ft. in height by 6 ft. wide
Bloom Time: late spring to summer, every few decades
Pests & Diseases: Not bothered by pests or diseases.
USDA Zone: 7a