Agave utahensis (Utah Agave) is an ornamental, rosette-shaped succulent plant up to 30 cm tall, having blue-green sharp-spiked leaves. The raceme inflorescence is very tall, reaching up to 4 m. It is generally yellow or yellow-green with bulbous yellow flowers. The fruits are capsules up to 3 cm long and containing black seed.
Scientific Name: Agave utahensis Engelm.
Synonyms: Agave utahensis subsp. utahensis, Agave newberryi, Agave eborispina, Agave nevadensis, Agave utahensis var. discreta
Common Names: Utah Agave, Yant.
Benefits of Agave utahensis (Utah Agave):
- The plant was used for food and fiber by local Native American peoples. Seed may be ground into flour. The flower stalk, roasted, & the Root cooked. The heart of the plant, which is partly below ground, is very rich in the saccharine matter and can be eaten when baked. It is sweet and delicious and can be dried for future use or soaked in water to produce a flavourful beverage. Sap from the cut flowering stems is used as syrup. The sap can also be tapped by boring a hole into the middle of the plant at the base of the flowering stem. It can also be fermented into ‘Mescal’, a very potent alcoholic drink.
- It has very good fibers which withstand hard wear and are water-resistant, that are used mainly in brush making, but they are occasionally used for textiles.
How to grow and maintain Agave utahensis (Utah 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 Suckers or seed. Remove the basal suckers (if available) in spring or summer and let the cuttings dry for a few days before inserting in compost. 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.