Agave striata minima

Agave striata minima

Agave striata minima

This is a beautiful dwarf plant, whose leaves are quite stiff and ...delightfully painful. It is particularly suited for pot culture because its maximum size is less than 25 cm.
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This is a beautiful dwarf plant, whose leaves are quite stiff and ...delightfully painful. It is particularly suited for pot culture because its maximum size is less than 25 cm.

Family: Agavaceae

Scientific name:  Agave striata Zucc.
Nova Acta Phys.-Med. Acad. Caes. Leop.-Carol. Nat. Cur. 16(2):678. 1833
[Flora 15: 2(Beiblatt 2):9, 1832

Origin:  Mexico (coahuilia, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Queretaro, puebla)
'minima' form is probably a nursery produced cultivar.

Habitat:  It is limited to drier valleys and plains, with rainfall /year less than 500 mm.

Ecology: It is one of the few non-monocarpic agaves.  The initial rosettes, after the flower stalks finish blooming in mid-summer, branch and continue to grow, eventually creating a stack of porcupine-like balls.

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Common Names include: Needle agave


  • Agave ricurva Zuccarini 1845
  • Agave striata var. ricurva (Zuccarini) Backer 1877
  • Agave ensiformis hort, ex Backer 1977
  • Agave striata mesae A. Berger 1915

Agave striata "minima" (= nana)
A dwarf plant that looks quite different from the wider leafed agaves with its long, very narrow, gray green leaves that can reach only 10-15 cm tall.  The leaves are quite stiff and delightfully painful.

Description: Agave striate is a dense, suckering rosette succulent with unique spiny pencil-like foliage, with nice spherical growth that branch profusely from the base. Older clumps can be to 2-3 m broad. Due to the wide area of distribution, this species shows many different forms, particularly for general habit and leaf form, and to a lesser extent in flower structure. It very similar to Agave stricta, and can be easily confused with a yucca.
On the contrary the A. striata "minima" – here described - is a dwarf plant that only reach a maximum size of 15-25 cm.
Stem: Very short.
Leaves: Very numerous, linear, straight to arching, rather turgid, convex above, smooth or scabrous along the keels and below, with no marginal spines, 25-100 cm long, pale-green, silvery-grey or rusty, that turn a dark purplish-brownish apically below the terminal spine.
Spine: One apical, subulate, very pungent, about 1-5 cm long, dark reddish-brown or grey.
Inflorescence: Erect 1,5-2,5 km tall, rather laxly flowered.  Flowers greenish-yellow to purplish in fall.

Cultivation: A. striata nana is a versatile and very hardy plant that can be grown in half-shade to full-sun. It can take moderate to severe freezes, and is extremely drought tolerant.  It tends to be more slow-growing than the standard species plant, hence the price. In winter watering this plant can be done once every 1-2 months, there is no need to mist the leaves. Agave striata is theoretically hardy to -3° C. Particularly when dry but it is best to avoid severe freezing temperatures. Heat Tolerance: Excellent.

Propagation: Relatively easy to propagate by by suckers (if available) Remove the basal suckers  in spring or summer and let the cuttings dry for a few days before inserting in compost.