Friday, January 5, 2018

An Agave report, of sorts

The day I took photos for my "it's winter" post (December 22nd) I also snapped photos of my in-ground Agaves, thinking it was past time to file an Agave-report. My last report (part onepart two) was filed in May, I should have a record of how they're looking heading into winter, right?

First up (below) is my newest Agave ovatifolia, planted spring '17 when I pulled out a suffering A. americana. The light for some of these photos was pretty poor, for example that's cool morning moisture and shadows causing it to look like the base of some of the leaves are rotting. They're not.

Agave bracteosa, I don't think this plant gets enough summer water to grow much...but at least it remains looking happy through winter.

Okay not Agaves, Yucca harrimaniae x nana, just because.

Agave americana var. protoamericana 'Silver Surfer' — still showing damage from last year's cold and wet, winter and spring.

Another A. bracteosa, seemingly frozen in time. Oh wait, frozen is a bad word. It's not frozen!

Agave parryi 'JC Raulston' and pups. The brown spots are cold/wet damage, but the mottling on the leaves is a trick of the light and moisture, they're really okay.

Another 'JC' with a few pups hiding underneath.

A. parryi var. couesii

Overall shot, just for fun. Pretty much dead center is a 'JC Raulston' pup, but I'm not sure which plant it came from.

Maybe this one?

Or this one?

Not this one though, that's an 'Ovatifolia', note the pristine summer growth vs. the damaged bits. I really had hoped that the damaged foliage on all of these Agaves would have been hidden by now. At least they're still alive and process has started.

Agave ocahui

NOID pair of cuties I picked up at Little Prince of Oregon but then couldn't manage to separate before I planted them (these were not in the ground last winter). Oh and I have no idea what that tiny pup at the top is.

Another 'JC' — and the last, I promise.

Pup from an A. americana that perished after last winter's madness.

A. ovatifolia.

And another A. ovatifolia, this one of the pair up near the house, under the living room window.

Here's the other.

A. utahensis v. utahensis

A mash-up! At the top, barely in the photo, is a containerized A. 'Mr Ripple'. The two big guys in the center are (L) Agave montana 'Baccarat' and (R) Agave americana var. protoamericana. The 'Baccarat' was newly planted last spring, the protoamericana was in ground through last winter.

Agave parryi 'RBG'

Another A. utahensis v. utahensis

This oddly shaped Agave went in the ground last spring when I took pity on it, for its sad life in a container. I have no idea what it is. The thin spikes on the right belong to a Yucca linearifolia.

A pair of sad little Agave parryi, I planted them out last spring hoping they'd love this spot. We'll see.

NOID Agave from a Cistus tough love sale a few years back. It keeps plugging along.

The driveway gang. As I mentioned in Tuesday's post I'm a little worried about the guys in the stock tanks. They don't usually have to deal with the weather we experienced over Christmas. The mess in the short round pot is the Agave americana I pulled from the front garden because it was on death's door after last winter and looked too horrible to be predominantly featured in the front garden. It's made a great recovery though and now I need to find a place for it, and it's pups!

Moving into the back garden...this is the little guy I left out as an experiment (previously mentioned in my last winterizing post), so far so good (still solid after our Christmas ice).

Another A. bracteosa, slightly overtaken by a Grevillea juniperina ‘Molonglo’ and a Calluna vulgaris.

This area really does look better in real life than it does in this picture. I promise.

Really. Oh and that very green Agave at the top (A. salmiana var. ferox), next to the Astelia, is the only newbie this year. The rest made it through last winter.

Two other A. salmiana var. ferox here (and a lot of Magnolia leaves I still haven't picked up...).

The growth on this A. bracteosa makes up for all the others that are stalled.

It's very happy.

That's Agave 'Mateo' (a variegated bracteosa) with  few pups from other Agaves — barely visible at the top of the photo an A. neomexicana planted out last spring.

Sadly I can't remember what this one is, it's been there for awhile though, and just keeps on keeping on (maybe another A. neomexicana?). The thin leaved guy (no barbs) just above it is A. striata (Espadina form, from Cistus).

Yes, another A. bracteosa...

And finally the gang next to the stock tank pond (L to R): A. parryi var. couesii, A. parryi, and A. bracteosa.

Another one that's put on a lot of growth (thanks to summer water).

Missed in the group photo is another A. parryi, this one lives just slightly under the protective PVC hut for the containerized A. ovatifolia.

To be honest the hut kind of moves around a bit, but it keeps the big guy in the container dry and that's what I'm aiming for.

Ditto here, there's a containerized A. 'Sharkskin' under there.

And so another Agave report is filed. Roughly a month and a half of possible winter weather ahead. Hopefully nothing too damaging. A girl can dream...

Weather Diary, Jan 4: Hi 45, Low 39/ Precip .04"

All material © 2009-2018 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. The foliage on these plants would be reason enough to grow them. But add in that beautiful blue gray and dark edges, oh my! And yes, those Yuccas are worth a "just because." How big are those "tents" and what are they? I was wondering how they would work on Peonies that are half up in very early spring when they need frost protection.

    1. The foliage is the reason, cause once there's a flower then the show is over. But I'm sure you know that. Here's the link to more about the tents:

  2. JC Raulston is the king for the PNW climate. I know of nothing else that can sit out in the garden unprotected and not only survive but thrive and multiply. Montana is supposed to be able to handle it, but I'm not gonna risk my beloved potted specimen.

    1. JC rules! Have you tried Ovatifolia? Must say they're pretty darn amazing too.

    2. Agreed JC Raulston is a special plant. I have A. montana in the ground too, in pure coarse sand - zero damage. Vancouver BC.

  3. They're all still looking good but it ain't over until it's over, right? Fingers crossed for a mild winter. Do you leave containerized 'Mr. Ripple' outside all winter?

    1. Well I supposed that's one way of looking at it. But since last winter was pretty much the worst I'm assuming this one won't do anything nearly as damaging. Mr. Ripple came in last winter once things got ugly, but yes usually he's outside all winter.

  4. Your ovatifolias are looking particularly good. I think I'll try some at my mother-in-law's place in Mount Shasta (zone 7a).

    As for Agave bracteosa, I find it glacially slow as well. My 'Calamar' (solitary vs. the offsetting behavior typical of the species) has taken almost 10 years to grow to 1.5 ft.

    1. Yay for Agave experiments! And yikes, 10 years? One of mine is 'Calamar' but I have to admit I've lost track of which one.

  5. I'd no idea you had quite so many Agave ovatifolia - or A. bracteosa for that matter. Notwithstanding your concerns with some blemishes here and there, your collection looks outstanding to me. I hope they sail through the rest of your winter!

    1. When one finds an Agave that can take their weather, add more! And thanks Kris, me too!

  6. They look good. I realized something while reading this. You don't cut off parts that have blemishes. When one of mine has an arm that looks blotchy, my instinct is to cut it off cause it offends my sight, and I worry that it will spread. What do you eventually do about blotchy bits? How do you trim your Agaves? Do you pull old bits off the bottom when they dry out and die?

    1. Ah...good question/catch! I normally do cut off blemished leaves, but left these since...
      1) most of these aren't visible from the sidewalk or where the plants are normally viewed from (I stepped up into the garden to take pictures).
      2) with the magazine photo-shoot here last July I figured the symmetry of the plants was more important to maintain, knowing a blemish could be easily Photoshoped out.
      3) I couldn't removed the bad foliage for the longest time because it was the only foliage...once the new started growing in then I "planned" to go back and cut out the old.

      I use an old serrated steak knife to cut off the bad leaves, or if they're in a spot where that's not going to work then I use these, the curved blades are perfect:

      I would normally have cut off a seriously bad leaf like the one in photo 12.17.AR134 — but I try to only do that when the weather is dry, so the wound can heal (dry up) with out rotting. I do pull off old bits and immediately trim bad leaves on container specimens - they should be more pristine because they're being highlighted.

  7. This is quite an extensive report. Despite of all the plants you are sheltering for winter, there are still oh so many left in the garden. Agave bracteosa with the accompanying ground cover and black mondo grass make a lovely vignette. I added lots of the black grass last fall and I think I'll add more next fall: it tough and good for contrast.

    1. Black mondo is a great garden plant, I wish it weren't so expensive still! And ya...a lot of Agaves in the ground. It's my craziness showing...

  8. Those rain covers ! So are they shower curtains or what ? So much more stylish than my tomato cages and clothespins.I've been pretty obsessive about succulent protection this winter , considering how many rotted plants went into the yard waste after last winter. I don't have to go to the lengths you have to for the cold side of things , but the rain does not a happy Agave make. I must say your garden looks good considering the cold you've had.

    1. Yes the plastic cover is made from old shower curtains put over the PVC frame. In the past I've bought curtain liners for $1.99 at IKEA but when I went to replace these I thought they would be fun to use outside so I saved them. Typically as the winter rolls on they get so dirty I only get one season out of a cover.

  9. A. bracteosa does like summer water, I’ve tried to water my two in ground. I’ve got a Monterey Frost in a container in the shade and a regular bracteosa and an A. bracteosa ‘Calamar’ in the ground.


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