Friday, September 24, 2010

Agave lophantha: 'Quadricolor' and Agave funkiana 'Fatal Attraction'

'Quadricolor':
Agave lophantha 'Quadricolor'

"Quadricolor?", you might say, "I only see three colors, not four!".  That's because the fourth color appears in winter.  Cold prompts the production of a pinkish tinge.  A real "Wow!" plant.

The species is much more subdued. Some plants have a yellow stripe down the middle of the leaf while others do not.   The common name for this species is "Thorncrest Agave", and spikey it is.  The spines may not be as large as others, but they are needle-sharp and truly nasty.  This has been a fast-growing Agave in my garden.  As is typical for plants with variegated foliage, the growth rate of 'Quadricolor' is much slower.

Agave lophantha:



Agave lophantha

Here is Agave funkiana 'Fatal Attraction':
Agave funkiana 'Fatal Attraction'

Agave funkiana 'Fatal Attraction'
 
'Fatal Attraction' has a rich blue tone and blueish cast to the stripe which A. lophatha lacks.  A. funkiana may be a form of A. lophantha, which is a variable species.  A brief discussion of that botanical argument here.

A. lophantha is a colonizer.  Though it is a smaller Agave, each mature rosette being only about 18"x18" (45 cm x 45 cm), if you start with one rosette you will end up with a lot of them.  If you only want a few, keep it in a pot out of the ground.  Even in a pot my A. lophantha was already working to expand its territory.  This plant likes generous summer water, but with a dry-out between watering, and a dry winter. 

A. lophantha rhizome emerging from bottom of pot:
Agave rhyzome
 
While 'Fatal Attraction' is mildly interesting, and the species only so-so for looks, 'Quadricolor' is eye-popping drama.  If you happen to like eye-popping drama.  (I'll plead "Guilty!") 

To close out today, more eye-popping drama, this time from Rosa 'Disneyland':
 Rosa 'Disneyland'
Agaves of Continental North AmericaAgaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants: A Gardener's Guide

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