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Zones 13, 16, 17, 19-24, H1, H2
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Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Furcraea

Agavaceae
Cacti and succulents, Perennials

Agave relatives native to Mexico and South America. These bold specimen plants bring an exotic look to the garden. Large, fleshy, sword-shaped leaves are held in huge rosettes (up to 8 ft. across) that grow into attractive fountain shapes in some species and are held like a pinwheel atop a trunk in others. Mature plants (at least 10 years old) send up spectacular bloom spikes, to 25 ft. tall, lined with dangling, greenish white, bell-shaped flowers that are powerfully fragrant in some species. Plants die after bloom, but the small plantlets (bulbils) that develop from the flowers can be easily pulled off and planted to reproduce the parent. Provide rich, well-drained soil and allow it to dry between waterings. Plants need little water in winter but thrive with moderate summer irrigation. Protect from frost.

Furcraea foetida mediopicta (photo courtesy of Jerry Pavia)
Furcraea foetida mediopicta (photo courtesy of Jerry Pavia)

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Furcraea foetida

Forms a practically stemless clump to 5 ft. tall and 8 ft. wide. Glossy, deep green leaves up to 8 in. wide and 8 ft. long have slightly wavy margins, suggesting undulating ribbons. The species was once grown commercially for the strong, hemplike fibers in its leaves. Considered invasive in Hawaii. Leaves of popular F. f. mediopicta have a broad central stripe of creamy white.

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