Agave Desmettiana Bloom Update: Bulbil Variegation Variations

The "normal" leaf is the leaf at left, with the thin yellow margins.  Other leaves on this bulbil have more and very interesting variegation!

 
 I've been harvesting all the bulbils with variegation variations.  It would be totally awesome if I could get some of them to grow into plants. 


There are many hoops to jump through.  Variegated or not, the bulbils may not even root.  Not all of them do.

And even if they root, they may quickly grow new leaves that have no variegation at all.
Or they may root, but have little vigor, or grow so slowly they are hopless. 
From what I have gathered reading on the internet, if you have an Agave bearing a few leaves with impressive variegation, you kill the plant's apical bud by drilling a hole into the center of the plant.  This can stimulate side buds to form new plants.  The side buds nearest the leaves with impressive variegation have a high likelihood of producing offset plants with the same or better variegation.  These two are pretty awesome:
In all cases, great patience is required. 
The bulbils with the best variegation are some of the smallest, unfortunately. 
Without some green, the bulbil cannot live, because it cannot photosynthesize.  This one appears doomed:
Some other unusual bulbils:  they bloomed!  They will grow no further, (I assume).  For Agave desmettiana, it is bloom and die. 
This one is scary-wonderful cool! 
My little Agave bulbil farm in the next photo, taking over a tomato bed for at least fall and winter.  I planted quite a few "normal" bulbils as well.  A shade cloth will be going over the screen to protect the little plantlets until they root. 
In addition to all the bulbils, only a few of which I have room to try to grow, there are about a dozen fairly large, fully rooted offsets clustered around the original mama plant.  I will move and replant those, too.  They are nearly all as large as the original plant was when I bought it about...was it 2004?  This whole Agave bloom process has been a lot of fun.  I thought I would be sad.  Not at all!  It's quite amazing. 

Comments

  1. Not at all jealous! Some of those are stunning. I would hope the at least the ones with half the plant having normal variegation will be fine, although a little slower to grow. You can boast this though be feeding them come spring.
    And very pleased you have enjoyed and are celebrating the bloom.

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    1. I've never given any succulent or agave any fertilizer at all. Maybe this will be the year to try.

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  2. So what happens if every single one of those little Agaves roots and survives? :-)

    Drilling out the apical bud on the best plants? I'd be so worried about doing this, I'm sure I would practice on a few "regular" bubils first.

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    1. I will have many to give away. That is a great idea to practice on some regulars first. Thanks!

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  3. Oh my goodness, picture me green with envy over all those fabulous plantlets... So much wonderful potential and what fun to watch them develop... I can't think of a better use for your tomato patch than to use for an agave nursery.... Sure hope some of those wonderful variegated babies thrive.

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    1. Yes because of our periodic winter heat waves, winter veggies don't do so well here. I'll update if I get some to grow.

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  4. Incredible! What an interesting experience. Your agave farm is adorable! Hope they all thrive. They don't make very good dog toys though.

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    1. I am sure the puppies are willing to try them out. :(

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  5. (Hey...I can comment again!)

    Love the shots of the farm, what's better than a huge agave? A million tiny ones!

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    1. Well, maybe a lot of 'Joe Hoak' bulbils...and maybe next year, judging by how Joe is looking these days.

      Glad you can post again! Don't know what went wrong.

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  6. Fingers crossed you get a good return on your babies! If they all survive I guess your friends will be getting some nice presents next spring, or do you have room for them all? :-)

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    1. I'm not counting my plants until they root, though the temptation to is overwhelming...thanks for the finger cross, I do hope some grow.

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  7. Agave Hooveriana , coming soon to a garden center near you.. or maybe you can set up a roadside stand !

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    1. That would be a nice way to remember my darling boy.

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