Agave salmiana var. ferox

Giant Agave
Magnificent jumbo takes the form of a frozen green flame. More aggressively thorned than traditional form. Prolific of-setter.
height 5–12ft
width 10–15ft
tolerates Coast, Cold, Cool Summers, Drought, Fog, Gophers, Heat, Neglect, Salt, Wind
Agave plants are extremely drought tolerant, and this one needs no supplemental irrigation even of hotter areas of coastal California. It will, however, look better and grow faster if given additional water, especially during summer.
exposure Part Sun – Full Sun
drainage In Ground: Cactus Mix, In Pots: Cactus Mix, Tolerates Sandy Soil
fertilizing All Purpose 1/2 Strength, Low Needs
origin SC Mexico
8, 9, 12–23

Sunset Zones Map

Outdoor Exposure Guide


Full Sun
Six or more hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Shade
Three to five hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Sun
One to two hours of sun beams directly landing on the plants leaves.

Full Shade
The plant is never fully lit by sun beams, but is in a bright spot or has dappled sunbeams playing over the leaves throughout the day.

Deep Shade
The plant never has dappled light on the leaves, and is in a place that feels dim, even on a nice sunny day.


Growing Notes

Like most agave this one is monocarpic, meaning that a head will grow larger and larger over time, building up energy, then send off a spectacular flower, after which they decline and die. With pupping varieties, they grow from stolons and rhizomes at the base, constantly replacing the older bloomed-out heads with new ones, which then grow larger and flower, continuing the life cycle.
Take care when pruning or removing agaves, as many have a toxic sap that causes inflammation and rashing. Removing spent agave heads can also be tricky as they are often ringed with other armed agaves. If you like the look of agaves, but are threatened by the terminal spikes, they can be removed. It’s easiest to cut these off when they are coming out of the rosette as you’ll be able to prune the thorns off many layers of leaves at one time.
You can ‘pineapple’ your agave by removing the lowest leaves. This is best started while it is out of the nursery can, but before planting, when you can access leaves from the bottom. This gives the plant a short trunk, textured similar to many palms, and allows you to get under the plant for weeding or removing pups.
Can be grown in large pots, but isn’t the best choice as this one gets quite large.

Special Interest

Flowers recorded up to sixty feet tall, but are generally 15-20 feet. Flowers after 15-25 years.

More Info

Used in Van Sweden & Brady garden at Cornerstone.