The name Agave means noble. Native to the Americas occurring from Utah in the north through Mexico and the West Indies to Central America. Agaves occur in widely differing habitats, from mountains at heights of 2,700m to coastal sand-dunes. Some are susceptible to frost damage and others such as Agave huachuensis survive severe frosts and may be covered with snow in winter. Agaves from the West Indies are frost tender. Usually the life span of an agave is eight to twenty-five years. They are generally monocarpic, though often form offsets around the base, or plantlets on the inflorescence, and so continue though the main plant dies. Agaves tend to prefer full sun and need good drainage. Some such as Agave attenuata are happy in partial shade . Although agaves come from generally arid areas, we have found growing them outdoors in Auckland, that given well drained soil they tolerate our wet winter conditions well. We have grown them successfully on clay banks.

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