The common misconception about agaves is that they are giant monsters and that they all die after they bloom. Most agaves are monocarpic, but a few of them are not. What many call a century plant - a common name often used for many different varieties, doesn't actually live for 100 years before its first bloom. Most bloom at about 40 years old, primarily because of the soil, water and environmental conditions in which they are grown in landscapes.
This agave 'Americana' does get large - typically 5-7 feet tall by 8-12 feet wide (including its offsets, or pups).
There are many much smaller and manageable species that can be used as structural focal points in the landscape and beautiful potted plants. A few of the more compact agaves suitable for small gardens and containers that do well here include the squid agave, quadricolor agave, Parry’s agave and the regal Queen Victoria agave.
These agaves above are quadricolor agaves and they stay quite small. Mine is about 18 inches tall. It does create offsets, or pups -- creating new plants through underground runners/roots. This variety makes a great potted plant.
Digging shared with me. I love the uncommon color on this one, but be careful, the spines on this one are absolutely unforgiving!
With the dire forecasts of this unbearable drought, I'm pleased with these xeric additions to my garden. There are many more wonderful varieties to try, and many of them are on my list.