Friday, January 8, 2010

More agaves!

While we were visiting in Fillmore my in-laws from New Mexico made the trip over to be part of the weekend. Last spring I heard they’d had their huge Agaves pulled from their yard and hauled away. Damn! No more agave pups from the in-laws! These pictures are from their yard during our visit to see them in Truth or Consequences, NM, July of 2007. Yes those good looking people are me and my husband. We don't always wear our sunglasses for pictures, that New Mexico sun was bright!
Thankfully I was wrong! A few of those tenacious Agave americana were hiding in the ground and popped up begging to be transplanted to Portland Oregon! (ok, that’s doubtful, but a fun thought) So the in-laws brought 3 baby agaves with them to California! For me!
And from the looks of things the babies might be having babies someday soon as they all had little sprouts like the one on the left (below), I believe the one on the right was actually the root that once upon a time connected the pup to the mother plant.
After our return from California, while I was potting these up I was thinking maybe I’d try planting 1 or 2 outside in the spring, to see if they could handle our winters. But after our record setting cold December temperatures I am having second thoughts about that. Maybe they’ll just stay safe in pots, where I can baby them through the winter.

I have 3 other Agave Americana pups, dug up from the in-laws place during our 2007 visit. They’ve grown significantly since I brought them home. And up until recently they were the picture of health. In December they suffered through one night at 13 degrees in our unheated garage before I took 2 of them down to the basement, they were frozen; their leaves wouldn’t bend at all. The third was just too heavy to move so it stayed in the garage. I took these pictures after they had been inside for a few hours. The leaves were starting to defrost. Can you see the darker area in the middle where it was still frozen?
Eventually the dark (frozen) area receded and the plants appeared to be fine. Then this happened. Seemingly over night, but actually over the course of the two weeks I was unable to venture downstairs, they started turning yellow. They aren’t rotting, just yellowing. The one that stayed in the garage is fine. It had to deal with another 2 nights of 13 degree temperatures yet it looks perfect, what’s up with that? Anyone have any ideas what’s wrong with the ones I brought inside?


  1. Could be they're suffering from SAD -like the rest of us in the Pacific NW

  2. yes--SAD, seriously. don't plants tend to yellow from one of two things: lack of light or overwatering?

    my potted agaves have been living in the basement for about a month and a half now (what can i say? i'm not a risk-taker!) and they seem ok, but they've got white-ish rings at the bottom where they're growing. Odd, huh? March can't get here soon enough for them/me!


  3. linda and Anon S, I would totally agree with you on the SAD diagnosis (lord knows I've got it bad) except for the fact the 3rd plant, the one in the garage received way less light than these did. We've got 3 grow lights in the basement and there is virtually no light in the garage, 1 very small window on the north side with a huge hydrangea in front of it. So if it was light I would expect the garage dweller (who has since been moved out, I'm not mean!) to look worse. Not saying you're wrong...just wanted to give you more info. Thank you for commenting! And Anon S...good luck with your agaves...most of mine are also in the basement but doing fine. These yellowing guys have been moved back outside...hopefully they'll make it until we get some warm(ish) weather and sun!

  4. I was going to say they might need sunlight but guess that's not it. I'm sure you know they don't really need to be watered, but just in case, I would totally abstain until they get some light and heat again. I have bare-root agaves in my dark garage, and they're doing just fine with no water or soil. Hmm, it might well be around 18 degrees in there tonight though. Oops. So much for the plumeria too, I bet.

  5. Oh, and it's great to finally get a glimpse of you, in front of a monster agave, no less.

  6. Would have said light, but after your further explanation I have no ideas to offer about the yellowing agaves (no surprise from this newbie agave grower.) It will be interesting to hear if they green up now that they're back outside.
    March, or warmer and drier, can't come too soon for me!

  7. Pam, I totally appreciate your comment regarding water. Naturally I thought about it, after all water = life! But the little desert voice in my head told me not to. And I didn't realize I was being so secretive about my picture! I thought I'd shown up a few times here and there. It's a couple years old but still pretty accurate, although my big move this summer was to go with bangs!

    Jane, I'm not totally dismissing the light theory...I just have doubts. I plan a trek out tomorrow to see how they are doing, hopefully I'll have something happy to report. I SOOOOO agree about the warm and dry!

  8. I don't know what's wrong with the yellowing, maybe the sudden temperature shifts are hard on them? I have similar issues with my A. Attenuatas that I brought indoors for the cold. They look really terrible, I'm not sure what I've done wrong. So complicated, these plants.


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