Just about all agaves, yuccas and dasylirions are very low-fuss plants that have fairly simple requirements. The most fundamental of these is that the medium in which they are grown has excellent drainage. Read on to find more in-depth information regarding the plants of the Agavaceae family and how to correctly care for them.
For nearly all of these plants, the techniques for planting are the same: Spring is the best planting time, as the weather begins to warm up. This will allow the root system sufficient time to establish before winter. Most arid plants require an open, sunny site. For all plants, dig a shallow hole no more than the depth of the root ball and four times wider than the container in which it is growing. The roots of the agaves can be significantly pruned when planting. Pruning of yucca roots is not so simple and much care should be taken to avoid damage.
All plants require a well-drained soil for best performance. This will help to ensure that roots do not rot in cold and damp conditions. If the soil is not well-draining, consider improving the soil structure or at least planting in a raised bed.
Most of these plants rarely need fertiliser in open ground. At most, a light feed once or twice a year could be used.
Agaves, being succulent, are able to store water for future use. They should not be over watered, especially in the cooler months. Cool, damp soil is an excellent host for several diseases that will rot agaves. In general, for plants that are planted in the ground, it's poor practice to water those native to very dry conditions frequently and with a small amount of water. It's better to water them well, far less frequently - in most cases once or twice a month in dry conditions. In the UK, in most circumstances, yuccas, agaves and dasilyrions will happily survive with no more than the natural rainfall. Intermittent watering may only be necessary in very prolonged spells of hot weather. Be aware that although these plants are very drought tolerant, plants in containers do need additional water, especially in dry periods.
Growing in containers
Having a relatively small root ball, a great tolerance for root crowding, and their stunning appearance, make these plants excellent candidates for life in containers. Soil for container-grown plants needs to have adequate nutrients for good growth (without being too rich) and, more importantly, needs to provide excellent drainage. It is important to plant agaves and other stemless plants a little high in the pot. All leaves should be above the lip of the pot, and the crown should be above the soil line. Care should be taken to select a pot that is not too large because it is important for agaves and yuccas to be slightly under-potted compared to most other plants.
The vast majority of the agaves, yuccas and dasylirions that we stock vary between fairly hardy and very hardy. As a general rule, agaves with soft, pliable leaves are more frost tender than those with rigid, hard leaves.