Agave cernua Berger
Native to the plateau of Central Mexico, this Agave is rare in the wild, where it grows in small colonies, at elevations of about 2000 meters.
Agave Attenuata may appear acaulescents, but the plant produces smooth, curving, and often branched trunks. The stems can reach 50 to 150 cm in length. When old leaves usually fall off, they leave the stems naked and visible. The leaves are wide and soft, pale in color (from light gray to a yellowish green), ovate-acuminate, 50–70 cm. There are no teeth, nor terminal spines. The inflorescence is a curved, dense raceme 2.5 to 3 meters high; flowers are greenish-yellow. The plants may bloom after 10 years of life.
Agave Attenuata is pretty versatile: it can do as well inside, in a container, as outdoors, in a warm protected spot. It fear frosting and will get badly damaged in temperatures below -2°C. This succulent can do its best in half-sun exposure, in a rich, well-drained soil mix. A good watering, and annual application of slow release fertilizer will make it grows quickly. During winter, they need only a little water. This plant is really resistant to drought, especially when cultivated outdoors (just beware of snails!). You can remove offsets to maintain the strong structure of the plant, or leave them to form a clump.
Propagation can be done by seeds, which will germinate fast if fresh, or by removing the basal suckers produced by older plants – remove them in spring or summer, and insert them in compost after few days of drying. You can also use the thousands of small bulbils which blooms all along the flower stem. 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 them in compost.
Agave attenuata is also known as the “foxtail”, “lions’s tail” or “swan’s neck” for the unusual -among agaves- curved development of its inflorescence.