How to Care for Harvard Agave (Century Plant)

Agave havardiana, commonly known as Harvard Agave or Harvard’s Century Plant, is an evergreen, showy succulent that makes a stunning addition to any garden. Its striking appearance and low-maintenance nature have made it a popular choice for various garden styles, including city and courtyard gardens, coastal gardens, gravel and rock gardens, and Mediterranean gardens. This versatile plant can be grown in beds and borders, as well as patio containers. In this article, we will explore the main caring considerations for Agave havardiana, including watering, light care, and soil care, as well as important information on its growing region, growth rate, height, size and spread, season and temperature, pruning, flowering, pests, and more.

Main Caring Considerations


Agave havardiana requires low watering, making it a perfect choice for drought-tolerant landscapes. It is essential to allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings to prevent root rot. In general, watering once every two to three weeks during the growing season and once a month during the winter months should suffice.

Light Care

Harvard Agave thrives in full sun exposure, making it an ideal plant for areas that receive plenty of sunlight. It can tolerate some partial shade but will not grow as vigorously or produce as many flowers if it does not receive enough light.

Soil Care

This agave prefers well-drained soil with a pH that can range from acidic to alkaline. It can grow in a variety of soil types, including chalk, loam, and sand. Make sure to provide good drainage to prevent root rot and other moisture-related issues.

Growing Region

Agave havardiana is native to the Chihuahuan Desert in Texas and Mexico. It is well-suited for USDA hardiness zones 7-10, making it a great choice for gardens in warmer climates.

Growth Rate, Height, Size, and Spread

Harvard Agave has a slow to moderate growth rate, reaching a height of 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) and a width of 3-4 feet (90-120 cm) at maturity. Its leaves can grow up to 48 inches (120 cm) long, forming a dense rosette that adds visual interest to any landscape.

Season and Temperature

Agave havardiana is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, including periods of extreme heat and cold. It can withstand temperatures as low as 10°F (-12°C), making it suitable for gardens in colder climates as well.


Pruning is generally not required for Harvard Agave, as it maintains a neat and compact shape on its own. However, you may remove any dead or damaged leaves as needed to maintain the plant’s appearance and health.


Harvard Agave produces a tall flower stalk with yellow or red flowers that attract birds, butterflies, and hummingbirds. It is important to note that this agave is monocarpic, meaning it will die after flowering. However, it produces offsets or “pups” that can be propagated to create new plants.


Agave havardiana is relatively pest-free, although it can occasionally be affected by common succulent pests such as mealybugs and scale insects. If you notice any pests on your plant, treat them with an appropriate insecticidal soap or pesticide.


Harvard Agave is known for attracting birds, butterflies, and hummingbirds to the garden with its showy flowers. It is also deer-resistant and can tolerate drought, dry soil, and rocky soil conditions.

Garden Styles

As mentioned earlier, Agave havardiana is a versatile plant that can be incorporated into various garden styles, including city and courtyard gardens, coastal gardens, gravel and rock gardens, and Mediterranean gardens. It makes a striking focal point when grown in beds and borders or patio containers.

Companion Plants

Harvard Agave pairs well with other drought-tolerant plants, such as yucca, sedum, and ornamental grasses. It can also be combined with colorful, flowering plants like salvia, penstemon, and gaillardia for added visual interest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Agave havardiana toxic to pets?
Agave plants, including Agave havardiana, contain compounds called saponins that can be toxic to pets if ingested. Keep your pets away from the plant to prevent any issues.

Can I grow Agave havardiana indoors?
Yes, you can grow Harvard Agave as an indoor plant, provided it receives plenty of sunlight and is planted in well-draining soil. Be sure to water it sparingly to avoid overwatering and root rot.


Agave havardiana is a stunning, low-maintenance plant that adds a unique touch to any garden. With proper care, it can thrive in various climates and garden styles, making it an excellent choice for gardeners looking to add a touch of desert beauty to their landscape. By following the care tips provided in this article, you can enjoy the striking appearance and benefits of this remarkable plant 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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