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Zones 13, 16, 17, 19-24, H1, H2
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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 fountainshapes in some speciesand are held like a pinwheelatop a trunk in others. Matureplants (at least 10 years old)send up spectacular bloomspikes, to 25 ft. tall, lined withdangling, 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 winterbut 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 growncommercially 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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