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Agave attenuata is a species of agave sometimes known as the "lion's tail", "swan's neck", or "foxtail" for its development of a curved stem, unusual among agaves. Native to the plateau of central Mexico, as one
Agave attenuata is a species of agave sometimes known as the "lion's tail", "swan's neck", or "foxtail" for its development of a curved stem, unusual among agaves. Native to the plateau of central Mexico, as one of the unarmed agaves, it is popular as an ornamental plant in gardens.
Cultivation: Agave attenuata is an excellent plant which works well with other succulents or even tropical plant material. It is well suited for a container inside or a sheltered warm spot outdoors. It is a frost tender plant and it will usually be severely damaged in temperatures below -2° C. Although Agave attenuata survives in poor soils and can tolerate full coastal sun to to full shade, it does best in rich but well-drained soil mix ( 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part of pumice) with half sun exposures.
The plant is extremely drought tolerant but does better with ample moisture and grows quickly if kept well watered and nourished (Slow release fertilizer applied once or twice a year is usually sufficient). During the winter months, one should only water enough to keep the leaves from shrivelling. Plants cultivated outdoors are more drought tolerant and can take some heat and full sun. It tolerates seaside conditions too. Protect from snails which can also disfigure the plant.
Offsets or 'pups' can be removed to maintain the strong architectural lines of the agave and provide great additional plants, or left to form a clump.
Propagation: By seeds or by removing suckers produced at the base of older plants or using the thousands of small bulbils produced on its' entire flower stalk length. Seeds germinate readily when they are fresh. The basal suckers can be removed in spring or summer, letting the cuttings dry for a few days before inserting in compost.
As plants get older, they produce smooth curving trunks, often branched, that rise 40-100 cm tall (unusual among agaves) and eventually old leaves fall off, leaving them naked and visible.
Agave attenuata is a species of agave sometimes known as the "lion's tail," "swan's neck," or "foxtail" for its development of a curved stem, unusual among agaves. Native to the plateau of the State of Jalisco in central Mexico, as one of the unarmed agaves, it is popular as an ornamental plant in gardens in many other places. It is reportedly naturalized in Madeira and Libya.
The stems typically range from 50 to 150 cm (20–60 in) in length, and eventually old leaves fall off, leaving them visible. The leaves are ovate-acuminate, 50–70 cm (20–28 in) long and 12–16 cm (5–6 in) wide, pale in color, ranging from a light gray to a light yellowish green. There are no teeth, nor terminal spines, although the leaves taper to points that fray with age. The inflorescence is a dense raceme 2.5 to 3 meters (8 to 10 ft) high, with greenish-yellow flowers.
Specimens were sent to Kew by the explorer Galeotti in 1834, from an unspecified location in central Mexico. More recent study has reported it from Jalisco east to Mexico, in small colonies at elevations of 1,900 to 2,500 meters (6,200 to 8,200 ft), but there have been few sightings, suggesting this agave is rare in the wild.
In cultivation, Agave attenuata is said to prefer relatively moist loamy soil, although it can cope with poor soil and dry conditions. It should be protected from direct sunlight in summer and from long periods of frost.