With their perfect shapes, agaves are versatile plants that add drama in sunny gardens but also in pots. Evergreen succulents of outstanding beauty and structural form, they form handsome rosettes of usually thick, rigid, fleshy leaves with marginal teeth and often a sharp terminal spine. Sometimes compared to giant stylized roses or artichokes, they thrive on neglect. Agaves tolerate most soils as long as they have good drainage, need only modest amounts of water, and rarely require fertilizer.
In gardens with limited space or where the growing conditions might not be optimal to grow these striking beauties, try growing them in containers. Agaves make excellent container plants because of their relatively sparse root system and their tolerance for crowding. Containers also offer the advantage of finding the right amount of sun or shade, and make it easy to shelter plants from too much rain or cold.
Belonging to the Asparagaceae family, Agave is a genus of about 300 species available in a wide range of sizes, colors and amazing array of leaf shapes. While any agave can be grown in a container, smaller species are safer picks. Planting young versions of large agaves varieties (such as Agave americana or Agave franzonii) in pots might lead to crack your container as a result of their strong root pressure.
If your heart is still set about planting a large agave variety in a container, be aware that you will have to do regular root pruning (at least once a year). When your agave emerges from dormancy, remove it from the container, wash the roots and cut them in half and then repot.