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Agave ovatifolia

Pronunciation: Uh-gah-vay oh-vay-tih-foh-lee-a
Family: Agavaceae
Common Name: Whale's tongue agave
Plant Type:
  • perennial
  • succulent and cactus
Height to: 4'
Width to: 5'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
Notes for Identification: Origin: from the mountainous regions of northeastern mexicohardiness zones sunset 12-24 usda 7-10 landscape use: strong gray accent, focal point for desert gardens; oasis and xeric landscape design themes. Great for use around desert and oasis ramadas and patios, even in large containers. Often effectively used in mass or groups spaced at 6' to 8' on center. Form & character: broadly spreading, wide, exposed, stiff and pointed, imposing. Growth habit: solitary (non-offsetting) with a hemispherical rosette reaching anywhere from 2' to 4' tall by 3' to 5' feet across; eventual size much influenced by available water. Foliage/texture: broad leaves are presented in a regular rosette pattern, somewhat reflexed, strap-shaped, succulent, grayish to 2' long. Leaves are coarsely serrate and taper to a distinct sharp, grayish black spiny tip, coarse texture flowers & fruits: whale's tongue agave will produce a paniculate inflorescence that is about 10' to 14' tall and consists of several side branches (arborescent), each branch densely clustered with large, greenish yellow flowers, can produce bulbils in urban conditions. Seasonal color: none except when flowering. Temperature: very cold hardy to 5of, heat tolerant also. Light: filtered shade of a small desert tree is best. Leaves will yellow a bit when grown under full phoenix sun conditions. Soil: well-drained best watering: apply only occasional water once established. It readily responds to water by increasing growth and eventual size. Pruning: none propagation: seed disease and pests: root rot if soil is wet additional comments: this is a striking and imposing "smaller" agave. The gray color accent of the foliage is striking with juxapositioned to nearby landscape greenery.
USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • 60 to 90 days ZONE 7
  • 90 to 120 days ZONE 8
  • 120 to 150 days ZONE 9
  • 150 to 180 days ZONE 10
  • 180 to 210 days ZONE 11
Seed photo: 0
Located in: Succulents
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