Thursday, April 16, 2009

Octopus Agave

My friend Andrea just returned from a sun filled vacation in Tucson, Arizona. She brought me an Octopus Agave!

This little guy came off the flower spike of a plant in the yard at her aunt and uncles house. Yep, that’s it on the left. The spike is covered with hundreds of little plants…you can just pluck them off and presto! Another agave in the garden! How cool is that? Like other agave it’s monocarpic and after blooming it dies. In its natural setting I imagine that the flower spike then falls over and at least a couple of the bloomlets live on.

This agave is too tender to live outside in Portland year round. It will join my planter collection and spend summers vacationing on the patio, and winters hunkered down in the plant maintenance facility in the basement. That is until we move to Arizona! (no plans yet) - Thanks Andrea!

Octopus Agave - Agave vilmoriniana A. Berger*
USDA: 9-11
Frost Tolerance: Hardy to 20°F, leaves are damaged at 25°F
(*update...this is what I believe my Octopus Agave to be, since it came unlabeled this is just my best guess based on research)


  1. I'm sure he'll have a happy life with summer vacations on your patio! I see you've repotted him with some proper soil!

  2. I love octopus agave, but I can't grow it outdoors either. But if you can't have octopus, you can probably have squid! Have you tried the little Agave bracteosa yet? It has writhing arms too, and I just love it.

  3. Pam...please educate me! Why can't you grow them in Austin? Too cold in the winter I'm guessing? You don't have too much rain, right? I am going to go check out the Agave bracteosa right now!

  4. Loree!

    I just posted about the blooming of my Octopus!

    What a coincidence!

    Oh, you are going to LOVE yours!!! I can't quite say which agaves are my favorites, but the vilmorinianas are WAY up there! Yours seems to be a special variety - I've never heard of A. vilm___ A.Berger! But what gorgeous undulating leaves! I must have one!

    I get so excited I fear I'll burn out my exclamation point!
    And Pam is right, A. bracteosa is super cool ... that woman knows whereof she speaks!

  5. Germi I just saw your post too (crazy!)and started to comment but then the phone rang and I didn't make it back.

    Mine came to me un-labeled and the name I put on it was only based on research I did online. I could be wrong! (yikes) The picture of the flower spike on the plant mine came off of is definitely shorter than what your plant is pushing out though so they do seem to (maybe) be different varieties. I'd better go back and edit my post just in case I don't want to be misleading anyone. Thanks for the info!

  6. Hi, again. Yes, we can get temps below comfort level for the octopus agave. Last winter, however, was so mild I'm sure it would have done fine.

  7. Glad to hear someone had a mild winter...

    For some reason I just can't wrap my head around the idea that all of Texas isn't blazin' hot. Rationally I know you are a zone 8b, after all it says so at the top of your Digging blog! But I just figure Austin should be chillin with lows in the 40's....

  8. The flower spike just has little plants on it? That's crazy! That's a pretty good friend to have the wherewithal to grab one for you.

  9. Oh believe me, it IS blazing hot in Austin from May to September. But in the winter we do get light freezes from time to time.


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