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Agave wercklei – A Costa Rican Rarity


The Agave wercklei makes a fantastic container plant and often flourishes when taken care of and watered in a container over specimen in the wild.

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Agave wercklei – A Costa Rican Rarity

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The Agave wercklei makes a fantastic container plant and often flourishes when taken care of and watered in a container over specimen in the wild. The Agave wercklei is a rarity from Costa Rica which grows along the Rio Grande, and only in recent years has the Agave wercklei spread from it’s home. We acquired our specimens from collector, John Lemish . The Agave Wercklei is an incredibly beautiful plant with pleated leaves and flowers that have deep bulbiferous panicles in a deep golden yellow color.
This is a  small to medium-sized agave with pretty silvery-green colored leaves that are edged with small reddish brown teeth and brown terminal spines. It has a nice form with straight to slightly recurred leaves which are narrow at the base and widen in a spade shape before narrowing again at the tip. Leaves show some nice patterning from the bud, but it is not as pronounced as in some other agave species.
This is a monocarpic plant with golden-yellow to orange colored flowers. The flower spike can reach 20-25 feet and is covered with bulbils after it matures. It is somewhat frost sensitive and may need protection from hard frosts in inland areas. A. wercklei is native to the Rio Grande region on the Pacific slope of Costa Rica where it in grows hot, sparsely populated grasslands alongside ceiba trees and vanilla orchids. It is uncommon in the wild but becoming somewhat more available in the nursery trade and is grown as an ornamental plant in Central America.

Has a very long flower stalk that is bulbiferous and is very coveted. This plant is not cold tolerant but does very well in high heat as it is used to the weather in northern Costa Rica along the Rio Grande and surrounding the general area.

Horticultural Data

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Names and Synonyms: Agave werklei
Family: Agavaceae
Origin: Costa Rica and Central America
Size Label: 1 Gallon
Height: 3-5′
Width: 4-6′
Cold Tolerance: 20 to 25°F
Heat Tolerance: Very high
Light Requirement: Partial to full sun
Water needs: Very drought tolerant but can use some summer irrigation in hottest months.
Maintenance: Remove/replant pups and remove dead leaves as desired. Trim terminal spines if desired.
Uses: Beautiful decorative Agave.This is a beautiful, ornamental plant that’s great in landscape borders, rock gardens, succulent gardens, raised planters or xeriscape plantings. Leaves have teeth along their margins and a longer spine at the tip so take care to locate this plant away from foot traffic. Makes a dramatic statement in a large container as well. Deer and rabbit resistant. Attracts nectar-feeding birds when in bloom.
Propagation: Remove bulbs from flower stalk. Replant offshoots. Seeds and plantlets can be collected and planted after flowering. Retain the spent flower spike after blooming has finished to allow plantlets to fully develop.
Problems: Very sensitive to cold, not frost tolerant. Root rot can develop in cool winters due to poor draining soils.

Research Links:

Howard, S. G. (1982) . Agaves of Continental North America. Tucson, Arizona: The University of Arizona Press.

Shipping & Availability

Description | Horticultural Data | Shipping & Availability | Top

There is a minimum purchase of any 4 plants for online orders. All plants shipped bare root. Other sizes may be available for pick up from our growing grounds in Fallbrook, CA. For more information, give us a call at 760-990-4762.
Click here for complete Price List.