Furcraea macdougalii is the tallest of the Agave relatives, growing to 20+ feet tall in habitat. Furcraea macdougalii is a tall growing and large succulent, which forms a rosette with 6 foot long, dark green, stiffly upright leaves featuring regularly spaced hooked teeth. These leaves grow up a trunk that can reach 15+ feet tall over time.
In the garden, Furcraea macdougalii flowers generally when its trunk reaches 8-10 feet tall, generally after 25-40 years’ growth. When it blooms, Furcraea macdougalii produces a long flower spike that rises 15-20 feet above the plant, with green-white flowers and bulbils at the flower spike’s base. It is these bulbils whose seeds perpetuate the plant’s life, because Furcraea macdougalii is monocarpic.
Of all plants in the Agave family, we believe that Furcraea macdougalii is the most spectacular and dramatic. Its habitat is limited to a small area near the city of Puebla in Oaxaca, Mexico, where it grows in dry scrub forests in calcium carbonate rich soils above 1/2 mile in altitude. This area is know for its short rainy season.
Furcraea macdougalii loves full sun and needs little water. It is one of the most drought-tolerant plants you’ll find. It can also handle a light frost down to the mid-to-lower 20’s Fahrenheit without damage.