Agave potatorum is an attractive, small to medium-sized solitary Agave. It has broad gray leaves that form in an open symmetrical rosette up to 60 cm tall and 90 cm wide. The many up to 45 cm long leaves are slightly reflexed back near the tips with chestnut brown spines. The 2.5 cm long terminal spine is slightly wavy and the short marginal spines are on tubercle-like prominences. The flower spike can be up to 6 m long when fully developed and bears pale green and yellow flowers tinged with red and subtended with red bracts.
Scientific Name: Agave potatorum Zucc.
Synonyms: Agave amoena, Agave auricantha, Agave elegans, Agave latifolia, Agave pulchra, Agave quadrata, Agave saundersii, Agave schnittspahnii, Agave scolymus, Agave verschaffeltii.
Common Names: Butterfly Agave
How to grow and maintain Agave potatorum (Butterfly Agave):
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 start 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.