How to Easily Propagate Agave?

Agave is a succulent plant. There are hundreds of species, with some looking like aloe, others growing wide and leafy, and still others that have little to no foliage at all. Before you attempt to propagate agave, it's best to understand the different ways plants can be propagated.

Agaves are luscious plants well known for their spectacular leaves. There are two varieties of agave: the spiky succulent, which produces juice used as a sweetener, and the aloe vera succulent, which is used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.

Also known as the Century Plant, agaves can grow as high as 20 feet to as wide as 10 feet, so make sure there is plenty of space to walk around the plant if you grow the large variety.

Agave requires little attention as it requires occasional watering and well-draining soil. Propagating agaves is very simple. Before you get down to business, wear heavy gloves and goggles. Use sharp, clean tools to avoid disease transmission.

Methods of Propagation

The main propagating methods are:

Vegetative Propagation

This approach depends on the plant’s ability to regenerate roots and stems from stems or leaves. The period of the year strongly influences the result of plant propagation. First, find out which species will thrive in warm weather. If the cuttings are taken during unsuitable months, rooting may not occur.

Agave plants are slightly toxic because they have oxalate crystals in their leaves that can result in severe irritation. Avoid skin irritation by wearing gloves or direct contact with plants. Collect cuttings from sound plants. Do not breed spotted, shriveled, or diseased cuttings.

Agave plant.
They have oxalate crystals in their leaves that can result in severe irritation.

 The cuttings might be significantly small or several feet long, depending on the species and size of the mother plant. Rooting hormones are not necessary but can help with boosting root growth. All cuttings must be air-dried until the wounded soft tissue closes.

Seed Propagation

Seed propagation is the most economical way to multiply plants. As seeds multiply, the chances of developing seedlings that are unique or have unusual parent plant characteristics are high.

Agave seedlings are easy to handle and less susceptible to seedling diseases than most cacti.

Always use fresh and clean seeds. Plant seeds in shallow, wide containers and use a soil mixture with good drainage, ventilation, and organic matter.

Agave seeds on hand.
Seed propagation is the most economical way to multiply plants.

 For excellent blends, combine equal parts of inorganic matter like perlite and composted organic matter like sphagnum peat. Do not use animal manure as it may interfere with the establishment of seedlings. The best temperatures for good germination and growth are between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius.

How to Propagate Agave From Stem Cuttings

Cut the stem and let the wounded pieces dry for about a week. Once the cut end has become callous, replace the crown. Do not water until new growth occurs; new growth indicates root development.

Agave stem
New growth indicates root development.

How to Propagate Agave From Pups

Agaves can be easily propagated by extracting the pups, also known as offsets from the mother plant. Pups are outgrowths that appear at the mother plant’s base and can be used in propagation.

During transplanting, remove the young pups only because they have a high chance of surviving propagation. On the other hand, Bigger pups will not have sufficient roots to support their large and fleshy leaves.

Agave pups on hand.
Pups are outgrowths that appear at the mother plant’s base and can be used in propagation.

Agaves have shallow roots that extend, so make sure the hole is wide when digging. Some species of agave that produce plantlets on the flower stalk. These may be taken out and potted individually. The roots should appear in a few weeks.

Steps for spreading agave from offsets

  1. Use a sharp trowel to detach the offset of the mother plant, leaving a small part of the stem that connected the pup to its parent. Cutting too close to the base may result in the roots not forming.

2. Take out the damaged roots and leave only a quarter of an inch of the roots on the pup. To remove the offsets, stir them one at a time until they are free of the mother plant and soil.

3. Place the pup in a shaded, airy area for a few days for the root to form a callus.

4. Prepare a rooting mix that drains quickly. For example, you can mix equal parts of potting mix and coarse sand. Or use equal mixtures of succulent mixture and soil.

5. Gently put the agave pup into the rooting medium

6. Place the container in a bright, hot place and lightly moisten the soil.

7. After the offsets take root; they will begin to grow. You can add soluble fertilizers regularly at this stage.

8. Agave offsets can be planted directly in 3.8 L containers and remain in them for as long as a year without being transplanted. Water the plant when the topsoil is dry and be careful not to saturate it.

How to Propagate Agave From Seeds

You can easily propagate your agave from seeds by following these steps:

  1. Spread the agave seeds evenly across the surface of a shallow container and lightly coat them with coarse sand. The container should have discharge holes in the bottom. If the agave seeds are larger, use pumice or perlite. Try not to cover the seeds too deep. The growth medium can be sterilized to prevent dampening during germination. Place it in a 176.7°C oven for approximately 30 minutes to sterilize your medium.

2. Place the container in an airtight container and fill it with water up to half the height of the container. Let the water dampen the medium from the bottom of the container. You can also use aerial irrigation because the agave seeds are significantly big. However, do not flood or soak seedlings, as this can lead to disease.

3. Move the pot into a bright, warm spot with plenty of indirect sunlight. We recommend a minimum temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the container with plastic wrap for moisture retention during the germination period.

4. Seed germination will take two to three weeks, according to the species. Reduce moisture after germination by raising the sides of the plastic wrap; remove the wrap entirely after a few days and monitor soil moisture.

5. After germination, maintain the correct humidity levels. To accomplish this, attach a spray nozzle to a garden hose. Do not allow the soil to dry up completely. Waterlogged soil is just as harmful.

6. Transfer agave plants into flat or individual pots when two to three true leaves are grown. We recommend 5.7 cm containers for this purpose.

7. Fertilise the plants when they reach a height of at least 1.3cm. Use a low solution of soluble fertilizer each week. We suggest using a 20-20-20 (N-P-K) fertilizer for general use.

8. Increase the light intensity as seedlings mature. Check that your plants have access to the morning sun or filtered light. A plant deprived of light will be lengthened and grow irregularly. On the other hand, yellowing on one side of the plant may mean too much light or too much water.

9. Water your plant every week when night temperatures are above 16°C. Check for humidity in the root area before watering. Ensure that the upper inch is dry before watering.

How to Propagate Agave in Water

Put your Agave Plant into a large pot of water. Ensure that the plant enjoys indirect sunshine and fills the water after a few weeks. Your agave plant will develop roots and massive growth.

How to Propagate Agave Through Bulbils

Bulbils are small bulb-like structures found at the axil of leaves or at the base of stalks that can form a new plant. Choose bulbils that are shifted instead of those in large bunches.

 If you opt for clumps, divide them up. Also, opt for bulbs that have already developed roots so that your roots grow faster. Then, let’s move on to the necessary steps for successful propagation through the bulbs.

  1. Gently twist off the bulbils using your fingers. If you use tools, you might cause more damage to the plant. Take care not to damage the base, which can lead to water loss and fungal rot.

2. Use a rooting hormone to reinforce the roots and speed up plant growth. First, soak the bulb’s base in water, then the rooting hormone so that the powder adheres to the plant.

3. Dry the bulbils for approximately 48 hours until the wounded areas harden and reduce the risk of fungal attacks.

4. Use rapidly draining soil such as cactus or a succulent blend.

5. It is possible to increase moisture by placing plants in a greenhouse. Heat and moisture play a vital role in root formation. Or use plastic wrap.

6. Place the bulbs in larger containers after three months when the roots form.

More Propagation Tips

To remove an enormous agave:

  1. Dig around the plant using a shovel at least 8 inches in depth.
  2. Keep digging towards the middle of the agave.
  3. Pull up the root ball when it is loose.

It is also possible to divide the block into manageable sections to make it easier to lift out of the ground.

 Water your agave plant more frequently during the early months, at least every four to five days. Once the plant has been established, it is sufficient to water it twice to three times a month in warmer periods or more in very hot conditions.

A freshly watered plant.
 Water your agave plant more frequently during the early months, at least every four to five days.

 Put your agave plant in a sunny window; we recommend a west or south side for a lot of sunlight. Water your plant thoroughly and ensure that the soil is half dry before you start watering again.

Bottom Line

Propagation of agave is not a unique process, but a personalized care plan can guarantee a 100% success rate.

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