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Plant Diseases/discolored agave leaves


Agave attenuata
Agave attenuata  
I recently acquired a large Agave Attenuata from a neighbor who had it planted in the ground with full afternoon sun exposure in Southern California 92692. I brought it home a week ago and planted it in a large draining container with the proper soil interspersed with a few rocks to help with drainage. It is placed in an area with pretty much the same sun exposure as it previously had. I've noticed a slight discoloration on a few leaves in the last day or so -  pale irregular spots a couple inches in size - please see  photo. Can you please tell me is the plant is infected or what is cause of pale spots on this plant? Is it just trying to adjust and I shouldn't worry? Thanks so much.

Dear Jill, This actually does look exactly like sun scorch, despite the fact that you have not increased the amount of sun that the plant has been getting.  This does frequently happen with transplants.  One thing to mention, however, when you replanted the agave, you mention that you had rocks interspersed in the soil to help with drainage.  Generally, you want the rocks to be only at the bottom of the container, not mixed throughout the dirt, and if you do have rocks mixed into the soil, you might want to repot the plant.  Two reasons for this: one - the rocks should be rinsed before putting into the bottom of a pot to prevent added salts from entering the soil, and two - if you have rocks bigger than a small pebble in your dirt, they can easily become much hotter than the surrounding dirt in very hot weather and will try to cook your plant.  This might be why you are seeing the sun scorch.  If you are concerned about possible fungus, you could spray the plant with a strong fungicide (chlorothalonil or something similar, or whatever strong fungicide that is available in your state).  Other than that, the plant should begin to settle down and not show so much stress.  I hope this information helps you, but please write back if you have further questions.  I apologize for the lateness of this answer, but it arrived while I was out of town.  Good luck, Melissa

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Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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