Agave potatorum is native to an area that goes from southern Puebla state down to central Oaxaca and Chiapas. It grows in semi-arid highlands (at 1200-2250 metres above sea level).
This smallish Agave forms a compact, symmetrical rosette; however, this species is really polymorphic, and size and clones are quite variable. The rosette is usally solitarly or slowly clumping, and stemless (or short stemmed). Leaves are fleshy but rigid, thickened at the base, and very variable in shape (usually ovate), size, colour. Generally, they’re up to 40 cm long, blue/silver-grey, with conspicuous bud imprints; they terminate in a characteristic, twisted, reddish-dark brown spine. Flowers are light green, tinged in red and protected by red bracts; they’re rised on a up to 6 m long spike.
This easy-to-grow species is less cold-hardy than many other Agaves (resistant to -3° C degrees in winter). It does well in full sun or light shade, but in summer it needs some shade. It needs a very well-drained soil. This plant will grow faster with a good amount of water (specially in summer, but letting it dry before watering again) and fertilizer. During winter, only water enough to keep the leaves from shrivelling. It does great both in containers and in the ground, but plants grown outdoors are more drought tolerant.
Propagation can be done by seeds or by basal suckers: remove them in spring or summer, let the cuttings dry for a few days before inserting in compost.
Agave potaturum owes its name to the latin word “potator”, which means “of the drinkers”.This is a reference to the use of this plant in making alcoholic beverages,like the traditional pulque and Bacanora.