Further Agave Adventures

Intimate relations with a whole lot of bees will do something to your looks
A neighbor's once-magnificent Agave vilmoriniana 'Stained Glass' has flowered, and the neighbor wanted to know if I wanted any plantlets (aka bulbils) from its flower stem.  Umm...if the plantlets were variegated, of course I wanted some.   
Back in its glory days:
 Blogger gets up there with a saw
Agave harvesters anonymous
Only about 5% of the plantlets had any variegation, but 5% of over a thousand is a lot.
Time will tell if any will have the same beautiful golden margins as 'Stained Glass'.  

Back at home, I took the Agave marmorata flower stalk down.  Agave marmorata's flower stalk produces seeds, not plantlets.  At least this one did.
 There's the bottom 5 feet of it, very like a giant asparagus spear.  I measured all the pieces, added up the lengths, and the flower stalk turned out to have been 25 tall (7.6 meters). 
 What's left is going to have to wait until the weather cools off.
 Hot this week, a little too hot to spend significant time out gardening.  A little spot watering here and there,  plus enjoying the Dahlia flowers is about it.  

 It's baby lizard time, too.
 And lots of bumble bees still around.
 The first Protea 'Pink Ice' flower opened.
 And hot or not, a boy needs his toy.
Happy gardening!


  1. That 'Stained Glass' was gorgeous. I hope you and K get some good-looking replacements out of that crop of bulbils. How do you know when to cut the agave bloom spike to harvest them? My 2 Agave desmettiana 'Variegata' spikes are still in place. While a few of the bulbils appear to be reaching a decent size, most are still small so I've been hesitant to cut the stalks (and, yes, it's on the uncomfortably warm side right now so I'm not jumping in to tackle any big tasks).

    I've been enjoying the baby lizards too. I swear I saw one that couldn't be larger than an inch in length.

    1. The bulbils start drying out so its a trade off between letting them get larger and them getting too dry, but I don't think it matters all that much. I have more desmets than I will ever need so after the bees are finished with them as a food source I get rid of the whole thing. They have proven to be pretty easy to get out. Blue Glow is much more difficult and marmorata--whoa!

      Several days ahead of too hot. I'll be painting the kitchen. I hope you stay cool enough without your central a/c.

      The tiny brand new baby lizzies have that oversized head and twiggy neck. Adorably disproportionate!

  2. Who knew procuring a few 'baby' plants could be so challenging. The flower stalks of the agaves are like tree trunks. I admire your determination. Will be interesting to hear if any of the babes will be as impressive as their parent.

    1. Except for the steepness of the slope, it wasn't so bad. I wish my backside didn't look as big as Texas in the photo. Likely a few of the plantets will be beauties. It's just finding them in the mass of not-so's.

      The flower stems are very much like balsa wood, if you've ever seen that stuff.

  3. Twenty five feet, wow. So will you plant the baby A vilmoriniana in containers to grow them on? Surely they’re too small to put in the ground?

    1. The species description said 25 feet, proud it measured up. The plantlets will start all crammed into flats of soil. Then winnow them out gradually to get the best of the best. Want a few, post winnow?

  4. Very cool - free plants! We have a "stained glass" in the front yard and I have to admit I've been wondering what kind of bulbils it will produce. Protea flower is gorgeous.

    1. It's a beautiful Agave. I have a couple already, happily they won't bloom for a few years.

      Yes, free plants are cool!

  5. This is gardening on a scale I can't imagine. My equivalent would be chopping down a tree.

    1. They are not as bad as trees. The Agave roots mostly vanish as the plant flowers--so the stump is vastly easier to remove completely.

      Sort of like comparing a remodel project on a house built in 1999 vs. one built in 1499... ;^)


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