One of our customers submitted this question, so we turned it into a Q&A for you!
Can you tell me the name of this succulent (assume it is NOT a cactus)?
This is an Agave americana.
Should I keep roots in water while I decide where to plant them….or should they just sit out w/o water (some sites I’ve seen on cactus say to put the plants in shade for a few days without water to let the roots heal to prevent bacteria from entering via roots)? Right now I have the roots of most of them immersed in water and in full shade.
Do not place in water. Place bare rooted plants in a cool shady location until ready to plant. The sooner you can plant them, the better, but I have had Agaves out of the ground for a year or more.
Should I mix soil and sand about 50/50 when replanting? The “soil” here…if you can call it soil…is horrible…mostly compacted sand it seems.
Compacted sand will usually be easy to turn after thorough watering. Turn the soil about 18" deep and then plant. Ammending is most likely unnecessary. Without an actual soil sample, though, my feedback is limited.
Should I water immediately after replanting (again, several sites say to NOT water for a few days, but those sites were cactus sites and I don’t think this is a cactus per se) and/or replant in moistened soil/sand? What about fertilizer (Miracle Grow or other) at transplant time or later?
Replanting in moist soil would be ideal. Do not water again until soil is drying out, which will probably be in a couple of weeks. Begin fertilizing quarterly about a month after the first watering. Give the plants one-half dose of any balanced fertilizer.
Can this variety take shade during winter, i.e., on the north side of my home (house blocks the low sun this time of year), or must they get nearly full sun all year round?
They hold up well in shade. The do lose some of their crisp color and growth will be more open and less compact.