Agave Propagation for Increased And Stable Variegation

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I found the variegated bulbils I'd planted were mostly losing their variegation as they grew, and so I did a bit of research.  One can possibly get better variegated, and more stable variegated Agaves by the following method:
 Cut off the most variegated leaves.  Do not cut off the least variegated leaves--they will remain to nourish the plant while it grows.  
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Cut out the tip bud of the plant.  This may stimulate dormant side buds to start growing (yes!  Agaves--at least some Agaves--have dormant side buds!).
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Plant and wait.  New rosettes may form from dormant side buds.  These can eventually begin to form roots that search out the soil.  They can be cut off and rooted. Since they are growing from the area of the plant that had the most variegation, they may have better and more stable variegation.  

We'll see how that works out. I have a gazillion Agave desmetiana variegata bulbils, plenty to experiment with.  I have given away five grocery bags filled with bulbils, and planted eight plants in the long planter by the driveway.  
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The bulbils had been planted in our tomato beds for the winter, and it was time to plant out the tomato seedlings, so the bulbils had to go.  Hence my ambition regarding Agave propagation for increased and stable variegation.
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 In other Agave news,  the 'Joe Hoak' offsets are growing roots and new leaves.  They still don't look all that great, but they are alive and improving.
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'Blue Glow' flowers appear so far to be sterile or at least are unable to be fertilized by the Manfreda pollen I applied to them.  
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All fall down...
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Which reminds me, there are new flowers opening on both the Manfreda and the 'Blue Glow', so I need to get out there and try some more pollinating--I may run out of Agaves, after all.
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Just joking! 



  1. I love your agave nursery. I have seen that propagation method described but not had the chance to try it yet. Look forward to hearing how it goes, then I am going to have to try it myself.
    Shame that the cross pollination does not seem to be working.

    1. I'll be posting updates. I wasn't really expecting results from the pollination, but it was worth a try.

  2. I love that you're experimenting with these! It's fun when you have an excess of a certain type of plant and can do these sorts of things, isn't it?

    1. Yes, it's been a bit of work, but educational.

  3. You have a wonderful supply of agaves, the variegated variety is very attractive. I have one bright green agave, no bulbils yet, perhaps I should not have it in a large planter but in the ground.
    xoxoxo ♡

    1. Depends on the type. Some offset quickly when young, others take their time. They will certainly offset in a pot, if they are offsetters, and most are in cultivation, even those that are in the wild solitary.

  4. How interesting and I look forward to following along with your experiments. So glad somebody has the supply (and interest) to educate the rest of us!

    1. The supply has enabled the interest!

  5. What an interesting post! I had no idea you could stabilize or even increase the variegation that way. Please keep us posted!!

    The 'Joe Hoak' I bought a couple of months ago had two offsets. I removed them when I repotted the mother plant. The babies are alive and I'm hoping they're busy making new roots. Knock on wood!

    BTW, how old was your Agave desmettiana when it flowered? Mine is about 5 ft tall and I wouldn't be surprised if it flowered one of these years.

    1. I think they were about eight years old when they bloomed.

      Congrats on two new 'Joe's! They are so beautiful.

  6. Thanks dear Hoover!
    xoxoxo ♡


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