Agave parryi (Parry's Agave)
Agave parryi Engelm.
Mescal Agave, Parry's Agave, Parry's Century Plant
Agave applanata var. parryi, Agave leopoldii, Agave parryi subsp. parryi
This species is native to Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico (typically found at elevations from 4,000 to 8,000 feet (1200 to 2400 m).
Agave parryi is a slow-growing succulent that forms attractive symmetrical rosettes of blue-gray to gray-green leaves with spiny margins and a dark brown to gray terminal spine. The rosettes grow up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall and up to 3 feet (90 cm) in diameter, producing offsets at the base and forming a colony of rosettes over time. The spectacular flowering spike emerges from the center of the mature rosettes, usually after 10 and 15 years. It grows up to 20 feet (6 m) tall, producing 20 to 30 branches with large clusters of pale yellow flowers. The rosettes die after flowering.
The specific epithet "parryi" honors Charles Christopher Parry (1823-1890), a British-born American botanist, plant collector, and mountaineer.
How to Grow and Care for Agave parryi
Light: Like all Agaves, this plant requires full sun to partial shade. If you are growing A. parryi indoors, choose a bright, sunny window with as much sun as possible. From spring to fall, it loves going outside.
Soil: A. parryi will tolerate most soils as long as they have good drainage, but its preference is sandy or rocky soil.
Hardiness: During the growing season, it likes warm temperatures, while in winter, when resting, this succulent enjoys cooler temperatures. A. parryi can withstand temperatures as low as 5 to 35 °F (-15 to 1.7 °C), USDA hardiness zones 7b to 10a.
Watering: From spring to fall, water thoroughly when the soil becomes dry. In winter, water sparingly about once a month. Plants in containers require more frequent watering than those in the ground.
Fertilizing: Give your A. parryi a small amount of fertilizer in the spring during the first two years. Established plants seem to take care of themselves.
Repotting: If you notice your A. parryi becoming pot-bound, repot it with fresh soil in a new pot that is just slightly larger than the old one. Give the plant a week or so to readjust before you water it again.
Propagation: Since it can take years to produce seeds, A. parryi is usually propagated by offsets. The best time to remove the offsets is in spring and summer. Sow the seeds in spring.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Agave.
Toxicity of Agave parryi
A. parryi is not toxic to humans, but it may be mildly poisonous to children and pets.
Subspecies, Varieties, and Cultivars of Agave parryi
- Agave parryi subsp. neomexicana
- Agave parryi subsp. neomexicana 'Sunspot'
- Agave parryi var. couesii
- Agave parryi var. huachucensis
- Agave parryi var. truncata
- Agave parryi var. truncata 'Huntington'
- Back to genus Agave
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Agave parryi Growing and Care Guide
- Scientific Name: Agave parryi
- Common Name: Parrys agave, Century plant
- Growing Zone: USA: 7 to 10, UK: H2
- Life Cycle / Plant Type: Indoor Plant, Perennial, Succulent, evergreen
- Plant Height (Inches): 12 to 24
- Plant Spread (Inches): 12 to 24
- Time of Bloom:
- Flower Details: White
- Leaf Foliage: Blue, Silvery
- Growth Form: Rounded
Ideal Growing Conditions
- Best Light Conditions: Partially shady to full sunlight
- Rate of Growth: Grows slowly
- Suitable Soil Types: Acidic, Alkaline, Clay, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Slightly alkaline, Well drained
- Soil Moisture: Dry
- Plant Care: Water frequently in the summer, reduce watering in the autumn, no watering in winter and spring. Feed four times a year with a low nitrogen fertilizer.
- Level of Maintenance: Low, container grown plants can be moved outdoors in the summer
- Propagation: Seed, or from offsets
- How to Prune: Not usually required
- Pests: Usually pest free, Agave weevil, slugs, scale insect
- Diseases: Usually disease free
- Can Attract: Birds
- Tolerant of: Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil
- Best Garden Use: Border, Container, Patio, Foundation, Ground cover, En masse , Rock garden, Specimen
- Family: Asparagaceae (Asparagus)
- Closely Related Species: Other family members include Asparagus fern, Thompson's Yucca, and Ornithogalum nutans.
- Miscellaneous: Entices birdlife to the garden, Attractive foliage, North American native, Some parts are poisonous, Flowers are rare, Attractive flowers / blooms. Traditionaly used by indigenous Americans to make soap. The fibers of the plant are also useful.
- Genus Detail:Agave, see also: Agave americana
- Further Reading and References:The American Southwest: Agaves and Missouri Botanical Garden Guides
I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Agave parryi. You may also enjoy the following succulent plant growing guides:
Agave parryi, known as Parry's agave or mescal agave, is a flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae. It is a slow-growing succulent perennial native to Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico.
The leaves are grey green and have a spine at the tip. One of the distinguishing features is that the point on the tip, which is typically dark tan, brown, or black, is darker than the leaf. Indentations of previous leaves show on the back of each leaf. The Huachuca variety grows in a rosette pattern as large as 2½ feet in diameter.
Because of its compact size, plus its low water use and low maintenance, Huachuca agave is considered a good landscaping plant for desert residential landscaping. It requires full sun. It is hardy to roughly −5 °F (−21 °C), though there are reports of specimens surviving temperatures at −20 °F (−29 °C).
Parry's agave is evergreen. Aged agave produce a twelve-foot stalk with bright yellow blooms. They then die after blooming, as all leaf and root resources are put into the stalk, flowers, and seeds. It can be propagated by either offset or seed.
'Cream Spike' Agave, Agave parryi minima variegata, Agave applanata 'Cream Spike', Agave parryi 'Cream Spike'
A charming and tiny variegated Agave, 'Cream Spike' is a highly ornamental evergreen succulent with small, solitary, rounded rosettes of blue-green leaves adorned with broad butter-yellow margins and dark brown spines. This Agave variety produces many offsets that can be easily pulled and re-planted elsewhere. It is perfect for small containers.
- Grows up to 4 in. tall (10 cm) and 6 in. wide (15 cm).
- Easily grown in sandy or gravelly, moist or dry,well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates part shade, particularly in hot desert gardens where light shade will prevent scorching of the foliage. Keep in a frost-free area in winter and put it out on the patio or balcony in summer. Irrigate little to occasionally. Drought tolerant.
- Ideal in decorative containers.
- Deer resistant
- Virtually disease free. Watch for slugs and snails.
- Agave parryi subsp. parryi
- Agave parryi subsp. neomexicana (Wooton & Standl.) B.Ullrich 
- ^ Hodgson, W. Puente, R. Salywon, A. (2020). "Agave parryi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020 . Retrieved 25 March 2021 .
- "Agave parryi (Parry's agave)". Royal Horticultural Society. 2012 . Retrieved 5 January 2018 .
- "The Plant List, World Checklist of Selected Plant Families".