Growing the Whale’s Tongue Agave Houseplants

Agave ovatifolia, commonly known as whale’s tongue agave, is an evergreen perennial succulent that is characterized by a super-thick rosette of powder blue and gray leaves—a striking color combination—on its stems. According to the plant’s name, it is a member of the Asparagaceae family and is a lovely succulent for adding texture to coastal, city, and xeriscape gardens.

Agave ovatifolia is a species of Agave that is native to northern and eastern Mexico. It was brought into cultivation in the mid-1980s by the renowned nurseryman Lynn Lowrey, who hails from Texas. The plant is very resilient and can endure even the worst winter conditions. This plant’s blue foliage will undoubtedly provide a lovely tone to your yard.

Agave ovatifolia growing guides

Let’s go over to the nursery and pick up an Agave ovatifolia whale’s tongue so that we can learn how to properly care for this stunning blue plant. Agave ovatifolia is a single succulent that may grow up to 3-4 feet tall and 6 feet wide if left alone. It has a circular rosette with leaves that are notably cupped and have a lot of texture to them. The leaves contain tiny teeth along the edges and a terminal spine that is 1 inch long.

The plants develop in around ten years and blossom just once throughout that time. They yield thick clusters of greenish yellow blooms on majestic blooming spikes that may grow up to 12–15 feet in height, and they bloom in the spring and summer. After blooming, the rosette will die. However, like other agave species, the whale’s tongue agave may reproduce by bulbils and seeds, much like the rest of the family.

Agave ovatifolia and Related Plants

Agave ovatifolia variety

The whale’s tongue agave is a member of the genus Monocota, which includes plants that are endemic to dry and hot parts of the Americas. A large number of perennials of the same species that are closely related to Agave ovatifolia may be found in the wild.

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It is also known as the Century plant, and it is a considerably bigger rhizomatous species of Agave that can withstand extreme temperatures and droughts. Because it grows by seeds and rhizomes, it has the potential to invade unwelcome areas if not maintained under control.

Agave attenuata, sometimes known as Foxtail Agave, is the second closest relative. In contrast to Agave ovatifolia, this variety does not pose any spike-covered threats to humans. It may grow to be 4-5 feet tall, with gorgeous gray rosettes that are completely safe.

Growing Whale's tongue agave in pots

Agave tequilana, also known as Blue Agave, is the third member of the agave family that is closely related to the others and is used in the creation of tequila. This variety of succulent may have blooming stems as long as 20 feet in length.

The Care of the Whale’s Tongue Agave

Whale’s tongue agave is a low-maintenance succulent that is drought resistant, winter hardy, and winter hardy. Despite the fact that the plants prefer full light, they may thrive in somewhat shaded conditions. Agave ovatifolia is a succulent that grows well in well-drained soil and requires little water. It is ideal for use as an accent plant near a sunny window.

Light and Temperature Levels

Because they are drought resilient, the plants thrive in USDA Hardiness Zones 7–11, where they may be grown in full sun to moderate shade. It is because of their sluggish growth and ability to flourish under adversity that they are ideal for use in succulent gardens. When the weather gets hotter, the plants are able to withstand more shade.

How to care for Whale's tongue agave

Water and Humidity Factors

The water requirements of the plant are minimal. However, with constant watering, they increase in size and soon establish themselves in undesirable regions. For the first month after transplanting young seedlings outside, water them every 4–5 days for the first month.

Then water them once a week for the first several weeks, gradually decreasing the number of times you water them to every other week until they are completely grown. Once they have been established, water them on a regular basis—once every couple of weeks in the summer and once a month in the winter—to ensure that the roots remain healthy. Additional water should only be used when the top inch or two of the soil seems to be dry.

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Soil and Fertilizer

Despite the fact that they may grow in any well-draining soil, agaves prefer sandy or rocky soils the most. The pH of the soil isn’t important to the plants’ growth. If at all possible, grow them in direct sunlight from the start, rather than transferring them later on.

It is not necessary to fertilize the plants. Feeding in general promotes flowering, which would be fatal for the Agave Ovatifolia if it were allowed to continue. As a result, if you want your plants to survive for a longer period of time, avoid fertilizing them at all.

How to grow Agave ovatifolia


Adding this succulent to your garden is a simple process that can be completed in a few minutes.

  • To begin with, put on a pair of strong leather gloves since the plants contain sharp spikes on the sides of their leaves.
  • Select a pleasant location in your yard with dry, sandy soil and plenty of sunlight. Remove it from its container and dig a hole that is somewhat larger in diameter than the root ball.
  • To trim the agave, gently tip it on its side and cut away any roots that seem to be fractured, infected, or mushy.
  • Carefully raise the agave and insert it into the hole with its stem erect. It is necessary to adjust the amount of dirt added or removed in order for the agave’s base to be level with the top of the soil.
  • Back-fill the hole with dirt and press the earth down firmly with your hands.
  • Place 3–5 stones around the base of the plant, spaced 2-4 inches apart, to serve as a foundation for the plant’s roots.
  • If the weather is very hot and dry, a shade cloth should be draped over the agave plant. Make a point of removing it as soon as fresh growth begins.
  • Give the plant plenty of water and enough sunlight to thrive.
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How to grow Whale's tongue agave

Plant’s Pruning and propagation

Seeds and bulbils of Agave ovatifolia may be used to reproduce the plant. Because it does not generate offsets, you may plant the seeds in early spring when the temperature is between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (13 and 21 degrees Celsius). Because agave plants have sharp teeth, avoid planting them along roadsides or in close proximity to dogs or children. Because they are solitary, pick a location in your garden that is well-lit and out of the way for propagation.

Ideally, the whale’s tongue agave should be trimmed near the conclusion of the winter season. Trim dead leaves from the plant, reshape it, and keep it from becoming overcrowded by using a clean, sharp knife. Cutting the succulent too much, on the other hand, might cause it to get stressed and hinder its capacity to retain water.

Whale's tongue agave care

Troubleshooting Guides

If you’re planting Agave ovatifolia in your yard, you won’t have to do much to keep it looking good. The plant will grow in a neglected environment as long as it receives plenty of sunlight and just a little moisture. The plant is fairly resilient, and it typically avoids being attacked by pests and diseases.

Keep an eye out for the agave snout weevil, which may deposit its eggs in the middle of the plant, causing the succulent to collapse as a result. It’s unfortunate, but the only thing you can do is remove the damaged plant and inspect the healthy ones for grub infestations.

Whale's tongue agave growing guides