Agave nickelsiae (King of the Agaves) is a decorative, small, slow-growing Agave up to 18 inches (45 cm) tall and wide. It forms an open rosette of stout, triangular, blue-green leaves with narrow, longitudinal, white bud imprints that usually form a triangle shape. The margins of the leaves are dark reddish-brown and spineless, terminating at the blunt leaf tip in a stout spine of the same color. The inflorescence is spike-shaped, up to 13 feet (4 m) tall, containing many paired flowers of various colors, often with shades of purple-red.
Scientific Name: Agave nickelsiae Rol.-Goss.
Synonyms: Agave ferdinandi-regis, Agave victoriae-reginae var. laxior, Agave victoriae-reginae f. nickelsiae.
Common Names: King of the Agaves, King Agave, King Ferdinand’s Agave, Pinguino
How to grow and maintain Agave nickelsiae (King of the Agaves):
It thrives best in full sun to light shade. A south or south-east facing window works great.
It prefers to grow in well-drained soil. Use standard succulent or cacti potting mix.
It prefers warm spring and summer temperatures 70ºF/21ºC – 90ºF/32ºC and cooler fall and winter temperatures 50ºF/10ºC – 60ºF/15ºC.
In spring, water this plant when the top inch of soil is totally dry. Don’t let the soil become completely dry. In the winter and fall, when growth is suspended, water very lightly. Too much water can cause root rot or cause the leaves to become pale and flop.
Fertilize with a standard liquid fertilizer every two weeks during spring and summer. Do not feed during fall and winter.
It can be easily propagated from offshoots which is the fastest and most reliable method of agave plant production. Agave plants put out offshoots from the base of the mother plants that are easily removed to begin a new plant. Growing agave from seed produces a large number of plants quickly. A moist, sterile soil mix containing equal parts perlite and sphagnum peat is ideal for germinating seeds in a warm location with indirect light. The soil must stay lightly moist until the plants are established. A clear plastic covering helps keep the soil moist during the two to three weeks until the seeds sprout, then a daily misting keeps the seedlings moist until ready to transplant.
Pests and Diseases:
It has no serious pest or disease problems. Watch for mealybugs and scale.