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Saturday, March 9, 2013

6 Deadly Agaves

Plants for Desert or Xeriscape Gardens

Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Succulents

agave plant

On a recent trip to the southern California desert area of Palm Springs, we couldn’t help but fall in love with the incredible architectural fascinating Agave plants. They are literally everywhere in the landscape. Blue ones, green ones and even variegated varieties.

Agave’s are also known as Century Plants, most likely getting their name from their extremely slow growth rate. They are succulents well adapted for desert conditions and can struggle in our wet climate. They do well in areas of full sun and very well drained soil. We suggest planting them in naturally dry areas like under the eaves of a house or on a hillside sheltered from winter cold and snow. Allow agaves to dry out between waterings. Over watering can rot the roots. Feed Agave’s once every 3-4 months during the spring and summer. These plants are not for the faint of heart. One wrong move means a pin-pricked finger, scratch or wound. Position them in a place away from frequently travelled paths, walkways or areas where you, kids or pets may brush against them. They are also ideal for use in terrariums and as houseplants.

Upon coming home from California in early January, one of our incredible suppliers asked us to consider carrying some of their succulents and desert plants. Their timing was impeccable – how could I resist! Here are 6 deadly agave’s that we’ve brought in for the plant collections out there.

Black Widow Agave

Agave  schidigera ‘Black Widow’

This native of western Mexico features rigid, dark green leaves with silver accents and filiferous edges. A compact growth habit makes it an excellent plant for containers or as specimen in a south-west garden. Grows to 1ft in height and 18 inches across at maturity. Hardy in zones 8-10. Provide winter protection in the pacific northwest or bring it inside. If planted outside, provide the brightest, driest, warmest space possible.

Fatal Attraction Agave

Agave funkiana ‘Fatal Attraction’

This agave features narrow dark green leaves with a lighter central mid-stripe. Foliage ends with a dark terminal spine. This small agave is great for containers or grouped plantings. Needs good drainage. May grow 1-2ft in height and spread. If planted outside, provide the brightest, driest, warmest space possible. Hardy to zone 8.

Jaws Agave

Agave gentryi ‘Jaws’

Glossy dark green, concave and heavily toothed leaves and a fantastic shape give this attractive Agave its name. Uniform orange-brown teeth. Over time ‘Jaws’ will form a clump 2ft tall and 4ft wide. If planted outside, provide the brightest, driest, warmest space possible. Needs good drainage.  Great in a container or a rock garden. Leaf impressions persist on undersides of unfurled leaves. Hardy in zones 7-10

Blue Glow Agave

Agave ‘Blue Glow’

This agave forms one beautifully symmetrical solitary rosette rather than forming clusters of many smaller rosettes. Rosettes have smooth, spineless foliage with red margins. Great in containers or very well drained area of the garden. Needs full sun and good drainage. Water infrequently. Grows 1-2ft high and 1-2ft wide. Hardy in zones 8-10

Silver Surfer Agave

Agave ‘Silver Surfer’

This clump-forming century plant offers dramatic wide, silver-blue leaves and teeth along the margins.  Great for containers, xeriscape and rock gardens. Can grow to 5ft in height and 9ft wide. Needs full sun and very well drained soil. Hardy to zone 7.

Montana Agave

Agave montana

This agave forms a tight solitary rosette of glaucous blue-green leaves that are lined with sharks teeth and have a spine on the end of them. Easy care plant  that is great in landscapes, rock gardens and containers. Can also be used as a houseplant. Needs full sun and very well drained soil. Grows 18-36 inches high and 18-36 inches wide. Hardy in zones 7-10. Water infrequently.

Art’s Nursery carries a wide variety of cacti, succulents and tropical plants. Our selection is always changing, so always please call ahead to confirm availability. If you need and information or advice, visit us in person or call 604.882.1201.


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Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

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