Agave pelona (Mescal Pelon)

Agave pelona

Last updated on September 6th, 2022 at 05:45 pm

Mescal Pelon, also known as Agave pelona or the bald one, is an easy succulent plant to care for and fun to grow. The plant gets its name from the Spanish word pelon which means bald in English and refers to the lack of leaves that this succulent has when it’s young (just like how there’s no hair on our heads when we’re born).

Another fun fact about Mescal Pelon plants is that they can be found in the wild and some people prefer to pick them from the wild because they believe that these wild plants have superior properties than the ones sold commercially.

Agave pelona has long been known to be one of the most beautiful and ornamental of all agaves; its graceful form, large rosettes of leaves, and magnificent flowering make it a favorite among many horticulturists and gardeners around the world.

It’s also highly prized by homeowners due to its tendency not to multiply or spread aggressively like other agaves do once planted in the ground.

The agave pelona, also known as the mescal pelon, is one of the few succulents that can be grown outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 8 through 11, though it can be grown indoors or outdoors in other climates as well (depending on temperature).

The plant blooms and fruits in the spring and summer, attracting hummingbirds and bees to its tubular yellow flowers and small, blue-black fruits.

Origin and distribution

The Agave pelona is native to the highlands of southern Mexico, where it can be found growing in large quantities in pine and oak forests. The species has since been introduced to the mountainous regions of other Central American countries such as El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

The name Mescal Pelon refers to the species’ unique foliage, which remains completely bald even after 20 years of growth. The plant is also known by the names Mexican maguey or the bald one. The latter name refers to the fact that the plant loses its leaves every year, never bearing any during its lifetime.

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The sap from the leaves is used to make a beverage called pulque, a traditional alcoholic drink made from the fermented sap of several types of agaves. The leaves are also used for making baskets and other items, while the young shoots are edible raw or cooked.

Agave pelona propagation

Agave pelona

Most agaves are propagated from offsets, or pups. Remove a pup from the mother plant at the base of its rosette when the pup is about one-half to three-quarters of an inch in diameter and between 6 and 12 months old. You can also collect seedpods, but these will not come true and your results may vary.

Place the pup in a well-drained container with coarse sand as the medium. Keep the soil moist until the root system develops and then allow it to dry out slightly before watering again. The new plant should be ready for transplanting into its own pot after two years.

Agave pelona care information

Agave pelona

The bald one is a resilient agave that needs little care. However, it must be protected from the cold when young, and can only survive sub-freezing temperatures if mature. Water weekly to monthly.

Use fresh water; keep in mind that if you let the soil get dry between watering, the leaves will drop anyway. After leaves have dropped they are safe to trim off near the bottom of the stem.

Light requirement

You’ll want to set your Agave pelona plant in an area where it receives lots of indirect sunlight. If you have a south-facing window, that’s ideal, but avoid putting it in direct sunlight for extended periods of time as it will cause its leaves to burn.

If you live in a particularly chilly climate and don’t have adequate indoor lighting, consider bringing your agave outdoors during warmer months for additional light.

Soil/potting mix

Agave pelona is a slow-growing species and has a large, deep root system. The Agave will do well in soil that drains freely and is allowed to dry out slightly between waterings. A mixture of one part peat moss to two parts perlite or a similar sterile medium works well.

In areas where soils are naturally alkaline, add 1/2 cup of hydrated lime for each cubic yard of soil prior to planting. When using pots, be sure they have adequate drainage holes. If they don’t, drill some into them before adding soil.

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Watering

Agave pelona plants are xerophytes, which means they thrive in arid conditions. In fact, overwatering is one of their biggest enemies. Keep your agave’s soil moist, but not sopping wet. Water your plant only when its soil has dried out completely between waterings, and allow it to dry out completely in between watering sessions.

If you notice that your agave isn’t developing as quickly as other plants, give it more water. If you notice that your leaves are drooping or curling up at tips, you may be over-watering; cut back on watering for a few weeks until new growth appears.

Fertilizer

Use a balanced, phosphorus-rich fertilizer twice a year, in spring and fall. Since mescal plants are relatively slow-growing, they do not need nutrients as often as other houseplants.

For best results, use a liquid fertilizer in a diluted form by mixing it with water prior to application. Make sure your fertilizer is specifically made for indoor plants since many fertilizers contain salt that could burn plant leaves if used in excess.

Temperature

Agave pelona prefers hot weather. Temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius are ideal for these succulents. However, if temperatures below 15 degrees Celsius are experienced over a prolonged period of time, they may die.

As such, it is essential to keep them in a warm, sunny spot where they can bask in direct sunlight as much as possible throughout spring and summer.

Humidity

Like most cacti, Agave pelona needs moderate humidity to thrive. Place your agave in a bathroom or any room with a humidifier. Just be sure that you only place your agave on a hard surface, as standing water will kill it quickly.

If you have extra pebbles or pumice around your house, place them on top of any soil in which you plan to grow your plant. These rocks act as a humidifier!

The ideal humidity range is between 50 and 70 percent. If your home falls outside of that range, you can try to raise or lower it by changing your air conditioning or heating settings.

If you’re having trouble getting your home to a comfortable humidity level, consider investing in a humidifier for your agave. You can also place bowls of water around your house, just be sure not to place them directly on top of any soil or rocks.

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Pruning

It’s common to prune agaves every year in order to give them new or younger leaves. If you see a leaf yellowing and dying, use your pruning shears to cut it off right at its base, just above where it connects with the main stem. It can take several years for a new leaf bud to appear.

In general, however, you should never cut off more than one-third of a plant’s total size in any given year. This means that if you have a 2-foot-tall Agave pelona, you shouldn’t cut off more than 6 inches of growth per year. If you want to keep your plant small, be sure not to overprune!

When to repot

Repot in spring as soon as new growth starts to emerge. It’s often recommended that you wait until your Agave pelona is at least three years old before repotting, but if it is growing in a particularly small pot or potting mix, it may need to be repotted before then.

Do not worry about damaging roots during repotting; since there are no feeder roots below the rosette of leaves, older plants can easily survive replanting.

Dormancy/Winter rest

Agave pelona

Agave pelona plants require a dormant period of six to eight weeks. The temperature should be kept around 50°F (10°C). Short periods in temperatures lower than 40°F are tolerated but prolonged temperatures below 35°F for more than two days may cause rot or make them sluggish on resuming growth. Colder temperatures will halt growth and make it difficult to resume when warm weather arrives.

During dormancy, they should not be watered as they enter a state of semi-dormancy. If watering is required, then use lukewarm water at 70°F (21°C). Allow soil to dry out between waterings.

Agave pelona plants are very susceptible to root rot during dormancy if overwatered, especially if left in standing water over winter; provide good drainage by using pot feet and/or by placing pots on gravel.

Agave pelona flower & fragrance

Like many agaves, Agave pelona has beautiful flowers that appear as a rosette from a single-center stalk. A striking feature of these blooms is their unusual shape, they grow in an elongated trumpet form.

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Colors range from light yellow to dark orange and red, making them an attractive addition to any garden or flower arrangement. While these plants are grown primarily for their ornamental qualities, they also have a sweet fragrance similar to honeysuckle and lilies.

Growth rate

Agave pelona has a slow to moderate growth rate in a pot. Outdoors it will spread slowly, reaching about 6 feet wide and 3 feet tall in 15 years. It can tolerate dry conditions once established but prefers regular water.

The plant should be pruned back heavily every 2-3 years to encourage branching and prevent legginess; new cuttings can be taken from branches that break off naturally during pruning.

Toxicity

Agave pelona contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause irritation and minor burns if you get them in your eyes. Do not attempt to eat or smoke any part of agave until you have consulted with a professional and done your own research.

Additionally, some parts of some agaves contain a bitter compound called saponin that can be toxic to animals, again, do not let pets lick or chew any part of an agave plant!

USDA hardiness zones

Agave pelona thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 9-11. In colder climates, it can be grown as an annual or brought indoors for winter. It is also a great houseplant and can thrive on window sills, terraces, and patios.

Pests and diseases

Keeping your agave healthy is a full-time job. Maintain high relative humidity with good drainage, and make sure that you’re not overwatering or underwatering. You’ll also need to spray your agave regularly with insecticide to deter infestations by aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites.

Be careful when selecting insecticides; some can harm plants, and even kill them! Avoid products containing pyrethrins or sabadilla extract.

Conclusion

The Agave plant is one of the most commonly used house plants in Mexico, not only because it’s easy to care for but also because they are beautiful. The Agave is an excellent choice for beginners or those looking to incorporate nature into their homes.

These plants require little maintenance and can thrive on a diet of water and sunlight alone. If you have any questions about your Agave plant please feel free to ask us! We love helping our readers find what works best for them!