Agave ovatifolia

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Common name:  Whales Tongue Agave


My favourite Agave to grow. A simply breathtakingly beautiful Agave from Nuevo Leon, northeastern Mexico, where it grows in a small, rugged mountain area between 1100 and 2100 m. Nurseryman and Agave expert Greg Starr and José Villarreal described it formally in 2002. Agave ovatifolia will grow into a large, soiltary (occasionally produces pups if pot grown) plant with broad, lightly keeled, almost unreal, powdery grayish white leaves in a dense rosette that can reach to 2m across. For me it should replace A.americana as the most widely planted Agave in the UK given how well adapted it would seem to be to our cold wet winters provided drainage is good and will take severe freezes with zero damage. If you don’t grow this already you really must!


  • Hardiness: H4: hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5) possibly lower
  • Position/Aspect: Full sun or partial shade, free draining gritty gravelly soil. Prefers to be planted out but will tolerate pot culture for several years
  • Drought tolerance: Excellent
  • Size: up to 120cm in height and 2 meters diameter
  • Seed grown at the Kent nursery: yes