Agave schidigera Shira ito no Ohi Culture
Agave schidigera Shira ito no Ohi Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10. Where winter hardy, best growth occurs in sandy/gritty, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerant of light shade. Also tolerant of drought, but best growth occurs when soils receive consistent moisture. Avoid wet soils. Sharp soil drainage is important. Poorly-drained soils may lead to root rot. Container plants may be grown indoors in a cactus-type potting mix. This agave may be propagated from seed or from suckers at the plant base.
Agave schidigera, commonly known as century plant, is a slow-growing, rosette-forming, perennial succulent that is native to rocky cliffs and exposed areas in Mexico. It is synonymous with and sometimes listed as Agave filifera ssp. schidigera. Each plant forms a large, evergreen, basal rosette of thick, succulent, lanceolate, hard, rigid green leaves with coarse margins and very sharp tips. Each rosette typically matures over time to as much as 1′ tall by 2′ wide. Each leaf features a waxy bloom, spiny tip, and showy white marginal hair-like filaments (fimbriate).
This plant is well-known for its infrequent but spectacular flowering spikes. Plants are monocarpic (bloom only once and then die). Common name of century plant suggests the plant will live 100 years before flowering. In reality, outdoor plants of this species typically bloom between the 10th and 25th years. Indoor plants rarely flower. When an outdoor plant blooms, it sends up a single, stout, erect, 10-foot tall flowering stalk from the center of the basal rosette of leaves. The flowering stalk resembles a narrow telephone pole with horizontal branching near the top. Greenish-yellow flowers (each to 2-3″ long) bloom in panicles at the branch ends in July-August. Once a plant flowers, the main crown dies. Plants of this species rarely offset.