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Agave Lophantha [A-GAH-vee Low-FAN-tha] is an evergreen succulent belonging to the Asparagaceae family (formerly Agavaceae).
It’s mistaken at times an aloe plant or cacti, but the Agave genus has unique features. There are more than 200 Agave species.
This native to Mexico and the southwestern United States, Lophantha is also known as Agave Univittata.
You’ll find several varieties available in nurseries including:
- Agave Lophantha ‘Quadricolor’ – a variegated form also sold as Agave Univittata ‘Quadricolor’
- Agave Lophantha cv. Goshikibandai is a small agave species perfect for containers
The common names for Agave Lophantha include:
- Center Stripe Agave
- Thorn-crested Agave
- Center Stripe Agave
- McKelvey’s Agave
- Thorncrest Century Plant
- Quadricolor Century Plant
Agave Lophantha Plants Care
Size & Growth
This succulent slowly grows about 2′ – 3′ feet long and 2′ feet wide.
It has flat, saw-like leaves growing in an outward spiral from a thick rosette base.
The shades of the foliage vary in color as per the cultivar.
The Agave Lophantha ‘Quadricolor’ plant has a pale green midstripe and dark green leaves with yellow edges. The sides of the leaves have dark-reddish teeth lining.
The majority of these species are typically slow in growing and take plenty of time to outgrow their pots.
Don’t touch this plant too much as these plants prefer to be left alone.
Flowering and Fragrance
The A. Univittata takes plenty of years to bloom. When it does, it grows greenish-yellow flowers which reach a height of 12′ feet tall.
Similar to other Agave plants, this plant also blossoms once and dies after.
Light & Temperature
This plant prefers to grow in full sun, but also tolerates light shade. Partial shade is preferred during the summer season.
The outdoor plants are drought tolerant and have the ability to take more heat.
The Agave Lophantha tolerates the temperature to 11° degrees Fahrenheit (-11° C).
The USDA hardiness zones of this plant are 8 – 11.
Watering and Feeding
The Agave cv. Goshikibandai grows well in dry conditions and tends to start rotting when overwatered.
Therefore, minimal watering should be given to the plant. Water only once the soil dries out completely.
However, it needs more water during the summer season for optimal growth. Allow the soil to dry out between watering.
Feed this plant occasionally with slow-release fertilizer for a rich, full look.
Soil & Transplanting
This plant needs well-drained soil with loamy texture, loaded with nutrients.
Sandy succulent potting soil mix is recommended. The suitable pH level is between 7 and 8.
However, once this plant has been established, it is able to grow in slightly acidic soil as well.
Grooming and Maintenance
The Agave Lophantha is not difficult to grow and maintain. This plant grows slowly and even thrives when neglected.
Place it under full sun, and it will add a distinct and robust accent to your patio or garden.
Be careful when handling the plants with its sharp thorns.
Be sure to add in the fresh potting mix when repotting and check if the plant is anchored firmly in the pot.
Avoid potting too deep as this can lead to stem rotting.
How To Propagate Quadricolor Agave
The propagation of this plant is done using seeds and cuttings.
The most reliable and fastest propagation method is through cuttings and offshoots.
The offshoots, or suckers, grow at the base of the mother plant and are easily removable.
Be sure to include a portion of the stem in the cuttings, and remove them during the summer or spring season.
Dry these cuttings for a few days before planting them in compost.
Propagation through seeds results in a large number of plants which grow fairly quickly.
Use a sterile, moist soil mixture which includes equal parts of sphagnum peat and perlite to germinate the seeds in a warm spot with indirect light.
Keep the soil slightly moist until the Agave is established.
Cover the plant with clear plastic for the first three weeks or until it starts growing.
Quadricolor Agave Pest or Diseases
While this plant is able to tolerate dry conditions and warm temperatures, it is vulnerable to plant-eating pests.
Be on a lookout for cactus longhorn beetle, soft scale, and agave snout weevil.
Brown spots, drying or withering leaves are common infestation signs.
Use broad-spectrum insecticide on infected plants and monitor the health until it becomes normal.
Overwatering results in root rotting, and it might be vulnerable to infections like Phyllosticta pad spot and Anthracnose which occur due to fungus spores.
Prevent these infections with an anti-fungal agent.
Affected plants must be removed immediately to avoid spread.
Is This Plant Invasive?
Some varieties of this plant outgrow the area eventually unless growing in a big greenhouse.
This plant is aggressive, so be sure to grow in a large area or prune to maintain the required size.
The sap of this plant may be irritating, and its sharp thorns might cause injuries.
Agave Lophantha Uses
The Agave Univittata ‘Quadricolor’ is utilized as a focal point in a desert garden under partial shade.
This plant works well as a small shrub, barrier, in bed and borders, patio and containers.