Friday, January 14, 2011

A bargain at ¼ the price

When we visited the California Cactus Center in October of 2009 I saw my first variegated Agave victoriae-reginae, and fell in love. The price? Eighty big ones! It was not to be. As you might remember if you read that post I did however succeed in talking them into separating one of it’s pups and letting me have it for (gulp) $20. The really amazing thing is I left feeling like I had worked a pretty good deal. That's it below shortly after we returned home, right before I planted it. So if I was excited about that just imagine how quickly I scooped up this one for only $5 at City People’s Garden Store in Seattle when I was visiting last month! The tag even identifies it as rare, perhaps to rationalize the “high” price? Compare the old (potted) and the new… I almost lost the old one last summer (too much spring rain) so I am happy it’s still alive, even happier that I now have two of them (three actually since there is a second little pup in my $5 pot).

Since I seem to be on a bit of a succulent binge I potted up the new one with a couple of less precious succulents from the big box store. (if you are one of the lucky people who got the new Plant Delights catalogue in the mail this week take a look at page 16. For those of you without the catalogue click here to see their variegated Agave victoriae-reginae, which can be yours! Isn't it a beauty?) So have you ever spent a relatively ridiculous sum of money on a plant only to turn around and find it elsewhere for much much cheaper? Did you buy the second one or leave it behind?


  1. Good find. What type of soil do you use?

  2. I have a bargain lost story. I wanted to buy some Mudkenia 'Crimson Fans' at the last HPSO Fall plant sale. They were a little bit spendy. I thought I might be able to do better. I saw them at Al's last week for at least twice as much. They are available at Plant Delights for a pretty good price.

  3. Yeah, it happen from time to time. I think sometimes the supply of something drops just at the time I really want something...or there's that completely new and unusual plant I never saw before. buy it..then only realize that waiting a couple will eventually flood the market. Oh well. Matti. Frankly, I do try to spread my plant buying to several places in order to keep them all around. Sometimes purchases are because of cheapness. Sometimes it because they have a really cool place and worthy of a couple more bucks to keep the lights on. Matti

  4. You have the most adorable babies!

  5. Loree~~ There have been many plants but the one that comes to mind is 'Cherry Ripe' Phygelius. I loved the cherry-red flowers and lusted after it for a year. Then bought it mail order for a premium. Then the following year I saw it on sale everywhere for cheap... Live and learn. Sometime you just have to wait.

    Ryan Miller's Crimson Fans is another one.

    Your agave look great.

  6. Me? Why of course I bought the second one at the lower price...ya know we always need a back up!LOL
    It's like playing the succulent stock market. Buy high, buy uh...OK maybe we shouldn't play the stock market. :-)

    That's a cool plant. I have 2 of the regular types but not the variegated.
    David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston

  7. If you haven't overpaid for a plant, you haven't ever loved a plant. Goes with the territory.

    I got a tiny Aloe reitzii from a respected succulent nursery, and of course within a week found one six times the size at HomeCheapo for the same price. Serves me right for being in a hurry.

    Nice Agaves you have there!

  8. I would poke my head into the (densely agsve planted)sand and carry on. I can't even find a decent priced plain ole A. Victoria Reginae , the basic edition, anywhere around here much less that cool variegated number.In your shoes I would justify the whole thing by division : 3 plants , 25.00 divided by 3, 8.33 per plant..not too bad , right ?

  9. Yes, I bought my first couple of expensive rarer plants this year. I had been looking for one for a year or so and snapped it up when I found it. Typically I got a phone call from a friend a couple of days later offering a free pup off his! So did I confess to having just purchased one and suggest he sold his pup for a good sum of money to someone else? Obviously not I snapped that one up as well! Am I a bad person!

  10. I recognize that tag! My local nursery, Garland Nursery, will give me a call about a week before Fleetfoot's scheduled delivery time. You are invited to purchase right out of his well organized delivery van! I've purchased this agave from him. It offsets A LOT.

  11. Darla, for all my succulents I use a mix of regular "high quality" potting soil and chicken grit. Why chicken grit? It acts like pumice as far as helping the soil to drain but it doesn't have that irritating quality of rising to the top of the container and announcing itself the way that pumice does.

    Ryan, Yikes! Maybe next year?

    Matti, good point about supply and I love your point about spreading your dollar around, I try to do the same thing. I never want to have to say "I always meant to buy something there" when a fav nursery closes.

    Linda, thank you! They are much easier to care for than the other kind too! (and cheaper in the long run)

    Thanks Grace!

    David, the succulent stock market! I love it...finally a stock market I could actually understand!

    Hoover Boo, good explanation. My first title for this post was "plant lust is a dangerous thing" ... so did you buy the cheapo Aloe?

    ks, OMG! I almost posted that math, then I thought "they'll think I'm crazy!"...glad you understand. Isn't it amazing how hard it is to find a mature A. Victoria Reginae? I too have hunted and hunted, but I fell on a bit of luck recently when a VERY generous Sean Hogan of Cistus hooked me up with a decent sized know, on that is already plump leaved and showing the white lines? Heaven!

    Spiky O, I don't think that act qualifies you as a bad person...especially if you pass on the first pup you get of either plant!

    Brian, you are correct! How nice of Garland to call you. I know my local nursery orders from them too but I don't see them being quite so giving, after-all they are loosing their mark up on every plant you buy right?


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