Position: Full sun
Flowering period: Summer
Soil: Moist, well drained
Eventual Height: 50cm (flower spike 2.5m)
Eventual Spread: 50cm
Hardiness: 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11
Sub Family: Agavoideae
Agave filifera is a slow growing, evergreen, rosette forming perennial shrub. Its fleshy dark green leaves have lighter green banding to their centres, have white fibres peeling off their margins, are strap shaped with entire margins and a terminal spine, up to 40cm long, 5cm across. Its leaves are arranged in a rosette. Its white/ green flowers appear at the top of erect flower spikes. Each plant flowers once after which it dies. It produces rhizome like offsets which helps the spread of this plant. Its root system is shallow and fibrous.
Agave filifera, commonly known as the Tread Agave, is native to central Mexico. In its native habitat it grows on free draining soils.
The etymological root of the binomial name Agave is derived from Greek mythology being the daughter of Cadmus, who supposedly founded the city of Thebes. Filifera is derived from the Latin meaning ‘thread bearing’.
The landscape architect may find Agave filifera useful as a dramatic specimen plant suitable for xeriscaping. It also is suitable for planting in pots. This makes a suitable houseplant given adequate light conditions. Once established this plant is drought tolerant.
Ecologically, Agave filifera flowers are attractive to nectar loving birds and pollinating insects.
The Royal Horticultural Society have given Agave filifera their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1994.
Agave filifera prefers moist, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It will not tolerate wet soils.
When maintaining Agave filifera as a houseplant its soil should be watered regularly. Watering should be reduced during the winter months. Its preferred active growing temperature rages from between 16ºc to 24ºc, although it will tolerate temperatures below freezing. Feeding with weak fertiliser solution should be carried out once a month during the growing season.