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Variegated Smooth Agave

Agave desmetiana 'Variegata'

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Variegated Smooth Agave (Agave desmetiana 'Variegata') at Roger's Gardens

Variegated Smooth Agave

Variegated Smooth Agave

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Variegated Smooth Agave (Agave desmetiana 'Variegata') at Roger's Gardens

Variegated Smooth Agave foliage

Variegated Smooth Agave foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Plant Height:  3 feet

Flower Height:  10 feet

Spread:  4 feet

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  8a

Other Names:  Spineless Jade Agave


As an ornamental, this variety is usually grown in rock gardens, cactus and succulent gardens; large arching leaves are green with yellow edges; smaller when grown in containers; may take many years to bloom, then rosette dies; makes a great accent

Ornamental Features

Variegated Smooth Agave features bold spikes of yellow cup-shaped flowers rising above the foliage in early summer. It has bluish-green foliage edged in yellow with hints of chartreuse. The succulent sword-like leaves remain bluish-green throughout the winter.

Landscape Attributes

Variegated Smooth Agave is a multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its strikingly bold and coarse texture can be very effective in a balanced landscape composition.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and usually looks its best without pruning, although it will tolerate pruning. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Suckering
  • Spiny

Variegated Smooth Agave is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Variegated Smooth Agave will grow to be about 3 feet tall at maturity extending to 10 feet tall with the flowers, with a spread of 4 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn't necessarily require facer plants in front. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This shrub should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. Like most succulents and cacti, this plant prefers to grow in poor soils and should therefore never be fertilized. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in poor soils. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. It can be propagated by multiplication of the underground bulbs; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Variegated Smooth Agave makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Its large size and upright habit of growth lend it for use as a solitary accent, or in a composition surrounded by smaller plants around the base and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag - this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Accent  Rock  Garden  Container 
Flowers  Texture  Plant Form 
Ornamental Features