Agave 'Blue Glow' Side Shoots Will Root And Other 'Blue Glow' Growing Adventures

Agave side shoot coming from the middle of the plant rather than, like an offset (pup), from the base or root system of the original rosette.

Our first flowering Agave 'Blue Glow' developed side shoots that also flowered, leading me to think side shoots were not worth saving.  Because they bloomed, they would die.  

Subsequent blooming 'Blue Glow's have behaved differently.  Their side shoots were not eager to bloom.  This is a former side shoot, rooted and growing as a substantial new rosette:
I don't expect it will live as long as a plant that started life as a bulbil on the flower stem, but hey, it was free, and it looks good.  

Recently my every-once-in-a-while garden guy removed three bloomed-out plants.  Here's one:
I harvested a few side shoots from it.  The small ones are easy to remove--with some downward pressure, they pop right off:
Pulling off some of the lower leaves will expose enough stem that will then root:
Large side-shoots were too difficult to remove, so they were discarded along with the original bloomed-out rosettes.  

The 'Blue Glow' flowering stems that are unbranched give a few seed pods and a few bulbils, anywhere from zero to five or six.  Perhaps if they were better irrigated in this garden, there would be more.  I've gotten an offset (pup) from only one or two plants, though I've seen some plants for sale with several offsets.
 
Two bulbils (plantlets) on flowering stem:
 
Other flowering stems have a strange partial branching structure part way up the stem, like this:  
 One of those plants gave me an exceptional fifty bulbils, which grew on the small branches of the strange structure; others with the same atypical habit had only a bulbil or two up at the tip of the flower stem. 
Eight 'Blue Glows' blooming this year, possibly due to last winter's wonderful rain.
Like bubils, seed pod production varies.  Some stems have a few seed pods, some have none.  Examination of the pods show most to be empty.  Because of the vast number of bees that visit the flowers, it's not for lack of pollinators. 

I tried growing plants from seed of the first 'Blue Glow' bloom, ending up with four plants.  Three were slightly less attractive versions of a 'Blue Glow': 
 The fourth seedling was unusual.  After some eight or nine  years of growth, it is still only about 2" (5 cm) in diameter!  Since it is in excellent soil with summer moisture, protected from too much sun, that it is still only 2" implies it is a dwarf Agave. 
 As to the plant that produced fifty bulbils,  I had to stash them here and there, out of summer sun, until they can grow large enough to survive garden conditions. 





Starting to pop them in everywhere there is an empty spot:
Looks great with Leucophytum brownii.  This well-irrigated one in afternoon shade has a beautiful rich blue color. 
In full hot sun, bleached, but still elegant. 
Love those 'Blue Glow's!

Comments

  1. I dread the day that all my 'Blue Glows' bloom at the same time, which isn't all that improbable as I got most around the same time at approximately the same size. I'm going to bookmark this post to consult when that event occurs. I do have one plant that's been in a relatively small pot for years that's produced a pup. I'd have to break the pot to get them out at this point, which I haven't felt compelled to do (yet).

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    1. BG's look pretty good for quite a while after blooming, so I've been taking them out gradually. It is a job!

      Sometimes you can take a hose and blast the roots stuck in the pot loose enough to get the plant out without sacrificing the pot. More work, though.

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  2. Cool. for some reason I thought they did not produce bulbils or offsets of any kind. The 'side-shoot' phenomenon isn't one I've seen in a "Blue Glow" but I have one currently in a A. Celsii 'Nova'. It had recently thrown up a flower stalk as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps when the original growing point goes into bloom mode dormant buds at the leaf bases are sometimes triggered into producing a new rosette.

      I have an A x celsii 'Nova', beautiful plant. Not long-lived, unfortunately.

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  3. How interesting, all the different reproduction variations. That little 2"agave is adorable.

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    1. It's educational to grow a bunch of the same plant--growing just one, you don't really know what it can do (good or bad).

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  4. How cool that you get them from both seeds and bulbils, and how interesting that they are all so different. Those little babies are so cute! And I love the combo with the Leucophytum. This post reminds me that I should probably move my Blue Glow inside. It's in a sheltered spot, but still...

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    1. Winter hardiness 20-25F. Not an issue here. We have it easy--well except for water!

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  5. A bitter sweet event when all the Blue Glows flower at the same time. I was interested in how you took the side shoots and rooted them. Was under the impression the shoots had to have their own set of roots first to survive. Will try your method next time.

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    1. I read it could be done but wasn't sure it would work, so I tried it, and it did.

      On the stem where the leaf joints are, is tissue that can develop into roots. So clearing the bottom of the stem to expose some of the leaf joints is the thing. Ditto for Aloes.

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    2. Thanks for the tip. Will give it a try.

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