Furcraea foetida

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  • Furcrea_foetida
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Furcraea foetida is a very nice structural plant for medium to large drought tolerant gardens. It makes a bold accent and can also be grown as a large potted plant.

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Furcraea foetida

  • Names and Synonyms:  
    Furcraea gigantea, Agave foetida
  • Common Names:  
    Mauritius Hemp, Mediterranean Hemp, Malagache Aloe, Giant Cabuya, Giant Mexican Lily, Cuban Hemp, Green Aloe
  • Family:  
    Agavaceae
  • Origin:  
    Native to Costa Rica, Northern South America and the Southern Caribbean.
  • Height:  
    4-5'
  • Width:  
    6-8'
  • Cold Tolerance:  
    25 to 30°F; -3.9 to -1.1°C
  • Heat Tolerance:  
    Very high heat tolerance
  • Light Requirement:  
    Full sun to light shade
  • Water needs:  
    Drought tolerant but likes some irrigation in warmer weather.
  • Maintenance:  
    None
  • Uses:  
    This is a very nice structural plant for medium to large drought tolerant gardens. It makes a bold accent and can also be grown as a large potted plant. It looks great on hillsides or popping up out of a low succulent or drought tolerant ground cover or among flowing grasses. Leaves are softer and less armoured than most agaves so it can be used near walkways and pedestrian traffic. The deep green leaves give the plant a more tropical appearance than most agave relatives. It could be used near dry stream beds etc to create the illusion of a more tropical riparian environment.
  • Propagation:  
    This plant can be grown from bulbils which form on the inflorescence.
  • Problems:  
    Snails can damage the handsome foliage.
  • Special notes:  
    This moderately fast growing plant forms a large rosette with 4-5 foot long, flexible, sword-shaped leaves. Leaves are stiff and upright, but more flexible than an agave. The plant uses CAM metabolism and can withstand some drought. In certain sub-tropical environments it can be invasive. After about 10 years of growth Furcraea foetida will bloom by sending up a 15' flower spike. The bell shaped flowers hang from the inflorescence branches and are greenish yellow, strongly scented, and very attractive to bees. They are followed by thousands of small plantlets that cover the inflorescence. The main plant will die after flowering. Although the plant is somewhat frost tolerant, leaves should be covered during frosts to avoid damage. In Mauritus and St. Helena the plant's leaves have been used to produce a fiber similar to sisal.