Agave filifera subs. Schidigera cv. Shira Ito No Hoi
Agave filifera var. filamentosa
A. filifera is native to Mexico Central, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Southwest
A. filifera is a perennial succulent belonging to the Agavaceae botanical family. The plant is solitary and rarely produces offsets. The succulent can reach up to 30 cm tall and up to 60 cm in diameter. The plant produces a dense rosette of leaves. The leaves are thick, fleshy, dark green in color with creamy white edges, narrow at the base and largest at the tip and the entire leave is covered with white long hairs. The apex of the leaves bears a sharp reddish spine. Blooming occurs when the plant ripe and reach the maturity and forms red purple buds. The flowering produces fascinating reddish green, bell-shaped flowers borne on a large central stem which may reach up to 2.5 meters high.
This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The plant does not like temperatures below 6°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.
The Mesoamerican civilizations have long exploited the agave properties: it was used to get drinks, syrups, animal feed, textile fibers, medicinal packs. Some of these uses are still standing: the tequila, for example, is made by Agave Blue. The sap of A. filifera is used for the production of a traditional Mexican liqueur called “pulque”.
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