The Agave Salmiana is a very large growing succulent that may also be referred to as the Giant Agave. These plants can grow to heights of 6 feet and may have a total diameter of 12 feet, with large flat green leaves. They are tropical, tender perennials that grow rather well in any warm climate. Originally these plants were cultivated in central Mexico, but today they can be purchased and shipped to any part of the world. Agave plants prefer warm tropical growing environments with access to full sunlight or partial shade. They are listed between 8b and 11 on the USDA Hardiness scale meaning they are hardy from 15 degrees F to above 40 degrees F.
It is best to not allow these plants to be subjected to cold temperatures. Agave Salmiana plants grow well in relatively poor soil conditions provided that the soil has good drainage. The roots will not handle too much moisture. Because these plants grow to be large in size, they need the proper amount of spacing when planted near other plants, usually about 10-12 feet apart. While these plants have fewer spines than most types of Agave plants, they do have sharp points on the tips of their flat leaves, which may be dangerous. It is a good idea to cut off these points to avoid accidental stabbings.
Agave Salmiana plants can be easily purchased from garden centers or online distribution stores. They can also be propagated by dividing the rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs.
If these plants are grown in pots they will often produce smaller agave plants at the bottom of the pot which may be easily increased in size when removed. In the garden the agave plant propagates through pup suckers and seeds. Seeds can also be collected by allowing the pods to dry and shaking off the seeds. Salmianas will only flower after they have reached about 15 years of age. The huge flower stalk will bloom in mid-summer and may grow to 20-40 feet in height. Its flowers are rather inconspicuous and the plant will die back after each bloom, leaving behind a vast array of suckers that will produce a replacement plant. This ability to be such a quality and large producing plant has made them a favorite with commercial growers.
One of the Agave Salmiana plants best attributes is its low water needs. It requires only infrequent watering and is a very drought hardy plant. This is one of the reasons that agaves are used in xeriscaping. This type of landscaping uses no supplemental irrigation and is perfect for areas with low access to water or areas that have been affected by climate change. The goal of xeriscaping to use specific plants and soil types that require little water and techniques to avoid losing water to evaporation or runoff. Because of their extreme resistance to drought conditions, agaves are often used in xeriscaping along with other low water plants like junipers, cactus, lavender and sedums.
The Giant Agave plant looks great in any landscape design. They are easy to care for and propagate and can handle some really tough environmental conditions. These plants help to create depth in the garden and have large a powerful appearance because of their size and shape. They can also be easily grown in less humid environments as long as they receive the proper amount of sunlight and have plenty of draining capacity for the roots. This makes them great for indoor pots and window gardens. Because of their size, shape and very sharp points, take care and be cautious when working near or handling these plants to avoid injury.