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, and its flowers are greenish-yellow. The plants doesn’t die after blooming (which usually happens 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. Agave attenuata can do its best in half-sun exposure, in a rich, well-drained soil mix. A good watering and feeding will make it grows quickly: apply a slow release ferilizer once or twice in a year. During winter, they need only a little water, not to get dried. This plant is really resistant to drought, especially when cultivated outdoors (just beware of snails!). Offsets can be removed to maintain the strong structure of the plant, or left to form a clump. Agave attenuata is an excellent plant, and it works well with other succulents and tropical plants.
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.