All The Agaves 2018 Edition

Agave albopilosa
 Too hot to do much of anything, so it seemed time for the biennial survey of this garden's Agaves.  Because this is quite a long post, the photos are reduced in size.  Clicking on them will bring up a larger view (I think). 

Agave americana 'Medio Picta Alba Aurea' recently begain growing strangely, in a disorganized way.  It's been too hot to get up on the slope to find up what it is doing.

Agave attenuata variegated finally got a place in the ground.
 Agave attenuata 'Karas Choice' has very faint stripes in winter.  The stripes mostly vanish in summer.  
Agave attenuata 'Ray of Light'
This is one of those plants that always looks poor in a pot at the nursery.  Then you get it into the ground and it turns into practically the most beautiful thing you've ever seen. 
Kara should have chosen this one:
 Agave 'Blue Ember' indicated by the arrow.  A trio of 'Blue Glow's also in the photo.  'Blue Ember' should be moved to a place with more moisture.  It's got some toasted foliage.  Too dry on that slope. 
Agave 'Blue Flame'  one of the best. 

 Agave 'Blue Glow'  I have many 'Blue Glow's, most of them  plantlets of the original half dozen or so purchased.  'Blue Glow' is almost always solitary.  One plant gave me two offsets; the only one that ever has.  I see one now and then for sale that has an offset or two.  The plant on the left in a nursery bed is a larger plantlet now grown big enough to go somewhere in the garden. 
 'Blue Glow' plantlets rooting from the latest blooming plant.  Five 'Blue Glow's bloomed recently.  Three produced zero plantlets on the flower stem,  one produced two plantlets, and the last produced over fifty plantlets.  
There are 'Blue Glow's throughout the garden.  It is one of my favorite plants.  The color, the symmetry, the burgundy edges edged with yellow...

Here is a seedling of 'Blue Glow'  Some years ago I tried hybridizing a few 'Blue Glow' flowers with Manfreda pollen.  The resulting few seedlings looked very similar to 'Blue Glow' except for this one, which was and remains an oddity, with short, wide leaves.  
 Agave bovicornuta is spending this hot summer hiding with a Fuchsia in the shade.  Too much sun bleaches its rich green color

 Agave bracteosa 'Monterrey Frost' still needs a better place.  It's growing fine, but it's hard to admire hidden behind a rose. 
 Agave colorata was too dry.  I moved it.  If it recovers, great. 
 This is a very variegated A. desmetiana that was a plantlet off a desmetiana with yellow margins.  I got a few of these; most of them reverted to the regular coloration. 
 Agave 'Joe Hoak' which is a form of A. desmetiana.  I have many of these.  They form plantlets on the flower stalk that do not root; but they offset.  It's good that they don't offset too much.  This used to be a favorite Agave, but I've cooled to it lately.  They only live a few years--five or six. 
Like I said, I have quite a few of these

 A. desmetiana in the background,  An unruly patch of A. lophantha quadricolor in the middle, and a few A. pablocarrilloi in the foreground.  This is a steep slope I planted with extra Agaves to hold the soil.  They've done a good job doing that.
 Agave ellemeetiana is a tropical species that is spineless and prefers shade.  It's like a large, flattened version of Agave attenuata.  I like it more and more as time goes by. 
 A. gentryi 'Jaws'.  Pretty plant .
 A. gracilips was struggling in dry sun;  it's growing in damp shade. 
 A. havardiana is magnificent when full grown, but it takes many years to get to that point.  It is one of the cold-hardiest Agaves, which is irrelevant here in frost-freeland.  Havardiana has a single offset to its left;  there are two A. parryi truncata offsets to its right. 
 A. horrida var perotensis got a bit yellowed in our 104F heat wave, but just a bit.  It is slow growing, symmetrical, solitary and tough.  Its the only Agave I've ever bought at a grocery store. 
A. 'Kissho Kan' declined badly on the front slope.  Back into a pot nestled among begonias in the shade, it's happy again.
   A. macroacantha 'Pablos Choice'.  Very ornamental small plant with beautiful black spines.  It offsets but slowly enough to be easily controlled. 
 A blue A. titanota offset at lower left;  two Mangave hybrids,  a 'Silver Fox' and a 'Catch a Wave'.
 Mangave hybrid 'Kaleidescope'
 Silver version of A. marmorata in the back; middle right A. guiengola;  lower center and right A. parryi truncata, a bit of A. havardiana at lower left.
 A greener version of A. marmorata is about 7'x7' and preparing to bloom.  The Huntington has an even greener version about the color of A. gentryi 'Jaws' that is stouter, with wider leaves. 
 A. 'Mateo'.  I'm not yet sure I like this one.  It was very yellow in a pot but greened up rapidly in the ground, even in summer in full sun with 104F heat. 
 A. mitis 'Nova'.  Gorgeous.  I've gotten two offsets.  This one can bloom in 4 years from seed, so it's not a slow grower. 
 A. mitis 'albidor' looks chlorotic since the Big Heat.  I dumped some water on it;  perhaps temporary shade would not hurt either.  It has grown.
 'Mr. Ripple'.  He's still a juvenile.  This one will get huge.  I've left space around it--hopefully enough. 
 There's an older 'Blue Glow' behind 'Mr Ripple' to give you an idea of the size. That 'Blue Glow' is about 40" (1 m) wide.
 A. nizandensis bloomed just two years after purchase.  It produced two offsets after it bloomed.  Here's one of the offsets.  The cut-off bloom stem of the slowly dying parent plant can be seen at the extreme left.
 A. ovatifolia 'Vanzie'.  A 'Blue Flame' can be seen on the far left. 
 The bigger A. ovatifolia is fighting for space between the Oak tree and the Leucospermum 'Yellow Bird'.  'Yellow Bird' is winning. 
 One of the two Children Of Moby I received.  This one is cresting, or is it offsetting like crazy?  A. ovatifolia is a solitary grower.  This Child is an oddity. 
 Update 7/30/18:  the above split into seven rosettes.  Will these rosettes themselves offset?  Be solitary?  Time may tell.

 Here's the other Child of Moby, solitary as is usual for the species. 
 The gorgeous A. pablocarrilloi (formerly A. gypsophila) 'Ivory Curls', a favorite. It offsets just a little.  Just enough.  Planted in a group it is breathtaking.  It scorches in full sun, so some shade is a good idea. 
A. parrasana 'Fireball'
   A. parrasana 'Fireball' below;  A. titanota 'White Ice' above.  'Fireball' has a few stripes of pale yellow in its leaves.  Not many.  I don't think it is worth the extra money over a plain parrasana with really good leaf imprints. 
 This is a version of A. parrasana that offsets.  The "normal" A. parrasana is solitary, which I prefer.  A lot of offsets ruin the beauty or are a lot of work to remove. 
 The prettiest parrasana in the garden is to the left and almost above the A. parryi truncata here.  This parrasana has particularly gorgeous leaf imprints.

A. parryi truncata variegated.  Still can't decide where to plant it.  It got some damage when temperatures hit 104F. 
 Plain old A. parryi truncata is the most reliable Agave I can think of.  It always looks beautiful, requires no care, and has the prettiest black terminal spines you can imagine. 
 Agave potatorum
 A. potatorum 'Rum Runner' is in the center with two 'Blue Glow' plantlets below.  'Rum Runner' has been tricky to grow.  It was unhappy in a pot,  it nearly died on the front slope, but it recovered here in damp shade. 
 Agave x pumila.  It's planted at a 45 degree angle to shed any water that might hit it.  They are said to rot easily if water sits in the leaf bases. 
 Aloe pygmae 'Dragon Toes' was in full sun until the Oak tree took off and shaded it. 
 A variegated form of A. salmiana, supposedly.  A. salmiana gets HUGE, but this isn't. 
 A. sebastiana 'Silver Lining' isn't getting enough water again.  The winter of 2017-18 when we got lavish rainfall was finally making it grow and look good.  Then another drought year followed.   
 A. x 'Shadow Dancer'.  This looks a whole lot like an odd version of 'Blue Glow'.  The ancestry is unclear. 
 Agave 'Snow Glow' is a white-margined version of 'Blue Glow'.  This is as good as an Agave gets.  Beautiful in every way. 
Agave 'Streaker' is a striated version of 'Blue Flame'.  I had it planted for many years in a lousy location where it just barely hung on.    Moved recently to a pretty good location it has done really well.  
Agave stricta 'Nana'  Nice, not too big, slow grower. All around good plant, here a little scorched by July's Big Heat. 
 Agave 'Sun Glow' is not as attractive as 'Snow Glow'.  'Sun' has yellow margins while 'Snow' has ivory margins.  'Sun Glow' was in full sun until the Oak tree suddenly went from 3' and skinny to 12' and lush in about 18 months.
 Agave titanota is also being threated by Leucospermum 'Yellow Bird's attempt to take over the front slope.  There's also a bluer version of A. titanota somewhere under the Leucospermum.
Hey, there it is!
The Leucospermum is also moving in on an A. victoriae-reginae and the beautiful blue Aloe suprafoliata.  There's another v-r somewhere underneath the Leucospermum.  There are a lot of plants under the Leucospermum.  The green Agave is A. titanota 'Wanky Lanky', a dwarfy oddity version of the species.
 Little A. toumeyana 'Bella' was miserable in a pot, but has prospered in soil. 
 Here's another A. victoriae-reginae, also threatened by 'Yellow Bird'.  I had no idea 'Yellow Bird' would survive, let alone try to take over California. 
 Normally solitary and larger, this is a dwarf, prolifically  offsetting version of Agave victoriae-reginae
Agave vilmoriniana 'Stained Glass', a grand thing.  It still has a lot of growing to do. 

For Agave die-hards...
Agave 2016 survey here.
Agave 2014 survey here.  
Baby pictures of 'Sun Glow' and 'Streaker' here.  

I still have funkiana/lophantha 'Fatal Attraction', but didn't get a photo.  Meh.

I threw out the asperrimas because they were growing and offsetting like weeds.  I have enough weeds. 

 'Royal Spine' is just hanging on;  I'm trying it in damp shade to see if that will enable it to survive.  'Cream Spike' died.  

Current favorites:  'Blue Glow', 'Snow Glow',  'Ivory Curls', the silver marmorata, 'Streaker', 'Ray Of Light'.  

This concludes the 2018 edition of All the Agaves In The Garden.


  1. What a lot of Agaves you have! Did I not see any A. bracteosa in there? My last surviving Moby baby has done the same thing as yours. I'm not quite sure what to make of it either.

    1. I have the white marginated version of bracteosa which is 'Monterrey Frost'.

      Almost dug up the errant Moby this morning to see whats what but decided to give sebastiana a deep drink of h2O first, then discovered it had an ant infestation, so got out the ant poison, by it was too hot to dig up errant Moby. You know how gardening goes...not in a straight line.

  2. I knew you have a lot of agaves but this presentation truly astounds me. And very few flaws all things considered, despite the nuclear heatwave earlier this month. I've got scorch marks emblazoned on quite a few of mine. My few 'Joe Hoaks' don't look at all happy over by my sun-seared 'Cousin Itts' but I trust they'll survive. I may follow your example and free 'Mateo' from his pot prison too.

    1. I noticed 'Ivory Curls' now in the ground in the same spot for a couple of years held up to direct sun and that 104F quite well; vast better than last summer. I speculate establishment makes the difference for that one. In the past it has toasted badly.

      'Blue Flame', the one that gets zero irrigation, got a little damage. No damage on the one that gets a little water.

    2. Your peak temp on July 6th was 104? 110 was brutal.

    3. On the little thermometer on the patio. K.'s weather station said something like 114!

  3. Wow. An amazing collection of agaves, they look so good inthe ground. I was trying to make a list of ones to comment on. Gave up when it got into double figures.

    1. They are ridiculously easy to grow here, too. (Which is why I can have so many.)

  4. 'Ray of Light' is indeed one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen, both in your garden and in Denise's. 'Snow Glow' is just *spectacular*. And the leaf-print sorts are always mesmerizing. Such cool plants...

  5. I'll take the lazy way out and piggyback onto your agave report: my colorata fried in the recent heat wave too! 'Rum Runner' has been tricky here too and appreciates dappled, not full sun. Mateo takes a long time to prove itself worthy. I really like mine now that it finally has some size. Very envious of your Streaker and Nova!

    1. A reminder there are very few true desert Agaves. Most from higher elevations in open pine and oak forests, often in partial shade from a nearby oak or pine. After 2 days in the shade colorata already looks better...fingers crossed. I can save you an offset from 'Nova', as I have a few--I am so hoping 'Streaker' offsets.

  6. This is the kind of post I'll be referring to often. I need to do my own agave survey. Some of my experiences are different. 'Cream Spike' is doing well for me, for example.

    1. Surveys are useful. One thing I noticed was there are really no new Agaves in the garden lately except 'Ray Of Light'--focusing more on Aloes lately.

  7. Since I don't live where Agaves can be grown I was not aware that there were so many available. I can see why you want to collect them. They are so diverse and interesting.

    1. And here very easy to grow, making them that much more attractive!

  8. This will be just the post to pull up on a cold, wet winter much spiky beauty!

    Agave 'Mateo' has done wonderfully for me, both in the ground (through bad winters) and in a pot. It's known parent A. bracteosa is another star here, although I can't quite bring myself to put my 'Monterrey Frost' in the ground. Thanks for the reminder that I still need to get my baby Moby's in the ground. Where does time go...

    1. Where ever time goes, it goes there fast.

      My reservation on 'Mateo' is that it offsets a whole lot.

  9. Your collection is so impressive! Thanks for sharing. I'm going to use it as a place to get ideas if we eve need to add new agaves to our garden.


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