How to Care for Variegated Smooth Agave (Agave desmetiana)

Agave desmetiana ‘Variegata’, also known as Variegated Smooth Agave, Agave regeliana, Agave miradorensis, Agave desmettiana, and Variegated Dwarf Agave, is a beautiful, evergreen, and showy plant belonging to the Agave family. This stunning succulent is known for its striking variegated foliage, which adds a touch of color and texture to any garden. In this article, we will guide you through the essential aspects of caring for this unique plant, including watering, light care, soil care, growing region, growth rate, height, size, spread, season, temperature, pruning, flowering, pests, and more!

Main Caring Considerations


As a succulent, Agave desmetiana ‘Variegata’ requires low water levels to thrive. These plants are drought-tolerant and can withstand long periods without water. However, it’s essential to provide them with a deep watering when the soil is completely dry, usually every 2-3 weeks during the growing season, and less frequently during the winter months.

Light Care

Variegated Smooth Agave enjoys full sun to partial sun exposure. It can tolerate direct sunlight for several hours a day but appreciates some shade during the hottest part of the day to prevent sunburn on its delicate leaves.

Soil Care

This agave prefers well-drained soil with an acidic to neutral pH level. Loam and sandy soils are ideal, as they allow for good drainage and prevent root rot. It’s crucial to ensure that your plant is not sitting in waterlogged soil, as this can lead to root damage and disease.

Growing Region

Agave desmetiana ‘Variegata’ can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 12. It adapts well to various climates, including coastal and Mediterranean areas. This plant is also salt-tolerant, making it suitable for gardens near the ocean.

Growth Rate, Height, Size, and Spread

Variegated Smooth Agave has a moderate growth rate, reaching a height of 2 to 4 feet (60 to 120 cm) and a spread of around 48 inches (120 cm). Its compact size makes it an excellent choice for small gardens, beds, borders, and container planting.

Season and Temperature

This evergreen succulent can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, from moderate to hot zones. However, it’s essential to protect it from frost and extreme cold, as it is not frost-hardy. In colder climates, consider growing it in containers, so you can easily move it indoors during winter months.


Agave desmetiana ‘Variegata’ is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 12. It can withstand drought, salt, and deer, making it a resilient and low-maintenance choice for many gardeners.


Pruning is generally not necessary for this agave, as it maintains a neat, compact shape naturally. However, you can remove dead or damaged leaves to promote healthy growth and maintain an attractive appearance.


Variegated Smooth Agave produces a tall, branched flower stalk that rises above the foliage when it reaches maturity. The flowers are greenish-yellow and attract pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds. It’s important to note that this plant is monocarpic, meaning it will die after flowering. However, it often produces offsets, or “pups,” which can be separated and replanted to continue the plant’s legacy.


Agave desmetiana ‘Variegata’ is generally pest-resistant, but it can occasionally be affected by common pests such as mealybugs, scale insects, and snails. Inspect your plant regularly and treat any infestations promptly to prevent damage.


This agave attracts bees and hummingbirds during its flowering stage, providing essential nectar for these pollinators. It is also deer-resistant, making it a suitable choice for gardens in areas with deer populations.

Garden Styles

Variegated Smooth Agave is versatile and can be incorporated into various garden styles, including city and courtyard gardens, coastal gardens, gravel and rock gardens, informal and cottage gardens, and Mediterranean gardens. It’s also an excellent choice for beds, borders, patios, and containers.

Companion Plants

Agave desmetiana ‘Variegata’ pairs well with other drought-tolerant plants, such as Euphorbia, Sedum, and Yucca. It also looks stunning when planted with ornamental grasses, as their contrasting textures create visual interest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Agave desmetiana ‘Variegata’ toxic to pets?
Yes, this plant is toxic to pets, particularly cats and dogs. It contains saponins and other compounds that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other health issues if ingested. Keep this plant out of reach of pets to prevent accidental ingestion.

Can I grow Variegated Smooth Agave indoors?
Yes, this agave can be grown indoors as a houseplant, provided it receives enough light. Place it in a bright, sunny spot, such as a south-facing window, to ensure it gets the light it needs to thrive.


Agave desmetiana ‘Variegata’ is a stunning, low-maintenance plant that adds color, texture, and interest to any garden. With proper care, including adequate watering, light, and soil conditions, this versatile succulent will thrive and bring beauty to your outdoor or indoor space for years to come.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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