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Can I move an Agave in winter?

Tropic Blunder
January 11, 2019

Tempted to buy a large 4ft by 6ft across Agave (Century Plant) that I have seen on eBay; the only issue I have, is that the buyer has to transplant the plant themselves which will mean digging it up now, and with several months of cold weather still ahead of us, there will be no chance for the plant to establish itself in it's new home. I just wondered if anyone has any advice or experience of moving this type of plant at this time of year?... Based in the South West of the UK, so winter temps of below freezing expected!

Thanks in advance peeps!

Comments (16)

  • Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6

    As long as you can dig the soil. Do so. Once planted, it will have several months to establish itself. Once frozen the soil will be like concrete.

    I have seen people here do this all the time with Christmas trees. The pre-dig the hole and even when frozen, they put the tree in and fill back in.

  • GeeS 9b

    It is risky. IMHO, your best shot is to dig it up and leave it out of the ground until evening lows are consistently 12°C or better. It should be able to survive for quite a long time as long as it's kept cold and dormant.

  • Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6

    Thinking about this more...... I don't know many Agave able to take cold. At least for very long plus must be kept dry during cold spells.

  • aloebot

    I would be hesitant to buy an Agave that big. Do you know the species? Many Agaves that have reached that size will bloom and die in the near future. I would go for one half that size so you have many years to enjoy it.


  • GeeS 9b

    ^ That's a fair point. Also, big old agaves aren't always so eager to root as younger plants.

  • Tropic Blunder

    It's an Agave Americana (standard blue variety)... grow like weeds in warmer areas of the US I believe?... though much less common in the UK.

    Will be digging it out of the ground, so the plant has proved it can stand up to our winters (if kept dry). I've read that moving the large specimens can sometimes force it to flower, but for the price I'm paying it's still worth the gamble... Plus I'll be left with the pups.

    Just hope it fits in the car now!! :

  • Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6

    Good point with having pups. Mine pupped all the time without blooming. Had to find homes for mine due to out growing my house. Had them in 5 gallon pots that was getting too hard to move in every winter. (zone 6 and wet). Could build a cheap 2 x 2 wood frame house covered with clear heavy duty plastic. Kept over it during the worse part of winter.

  • aloebot

    If it has pups, then it sounds reasonable for a good price. You also will get quite a show if it does happen to flower. You can expect maybe 20 feet of a spike and beautiful flowers. They really are very impressive if you have room for them.

  • Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6

    Can't say for sure but from what I know, transplanting an Agave or one in pot culture rarely blooms. But if a bloom stock was already forming inside, then it will bloom and not having a good root system most likely will not perform well as it might have. If by chance a bloom stock does appears, be sure to stake it well to keep from falling over.

  • Tropic Blunder

    This one was planted in the ground. Just got it home and potted it up. Pot is too small really, but will do until it's planted out in its permanent place. Weighs a bloody tonne!!



  • cactusmcharris, interior BC Z4/5

    TB, that thing's a beast, but what we'd like to know is the injury report - no punctures or lacerations of significance to report?


  • Tropic Blunder

    Surprisingly I managed to come away without even a scratch! Cant say the same for the guy I bought it from... he dug it up ready for me to collect and was covered in scratches, with a bit of a nasty gash on his head!!

  • Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6

    Sounds like me every time I moved mine that was 1/2 that size. I even cut the black tipes off but those side spines got me every time.

  • SpanishFly - (Mediterranean)

    Looks good - sometimes you have to do things when the time is not necessarily ideal. Good luck with it.


  • cactusmcharris, interior BC Z4/5

    If your climate remains dry, and you're able to water it in after a week or so of it being in the ground, I've found that some liquid vitamin B-1 or a transplant shock-reducer helps when you do water.

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