Agave:

Agave americana subsp. protoamericana on 6-2-12, #96-2.

Agave L.

The genus, Agave L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.

Plants of the World Online there are 277 accepted species of Agave (as of 12-26-20 when I am updating this page). Many species of other genera have been moved to the Agave genus, such as Manfreda. It is a member of the plant family Asparagaceae with 118 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.

I am no expert on Agave by no means, but I have always admired them, but large and small. From 2009, when I was living in Mississippi, until now, I have experience with only seven species. Currently, I don’t have space or proper conditions to grow them properly. Even from the beginning when I lived where they could stay outside in the ground, I grew them in pots because I never knew when I was going to have to move. I finally did have to move in February 2013, and I have up my two largest Agave and brought two of their offsets with me to mid-Missouri. In the summer of 2014 I was asked to get rid of my plants due to a “new” relationship… The relationship didn’t work out so I started collecting plants again in the fall of 2015. Since then, however, I only found one Agave locally and it has been weird…

You can read about all the Agave I have grown by clicking on their names. They all have their own pages. There is a lot online about Agave and plenty of sources of many species and cultivars. They are great plants in many ways, but you need to know how large some of them can get and how well (or bad) they offset. I learned the hard way…

My first experience with an Agave was when I was living in a mansion in Leland, Mississippi starting in December 2008. Well, it wasn’t a literal mansion, more like a HUGE house. Being a gardener, I was pretty excited because this home had five sunrooms. The backyard had been unmaintained for MANY YEARS and was completely overgrown. In the summer of 2009, I started collecting plants and one of my first was the Agave americana subsp. protoamericana (see photo at the top of the page). I found it on Ebay and the seller had it listed as Agave americana ‘Blue Monster’. With some research, I found out it was actually the subspecies protoamericana. The seller probably made up the name Blue Monster or maybe he got it from someone who gave him that name. Anyway, it isn’t a legit cultivar but the name was aptly applied. I learned a lot about Agave from this plant and you can ready about the experience by clicking on the name.

Agave americana ‘K & K’ on 6-11-12, #99-1.

In 2011, a friend and I went to Cleveland, Mississippi to a nursery and landscape business and the owner gave me a couple of offsets from his Agave americana. They were AWESOME. This species has leaves that curl under… I named it ‘K&K’ after the man who gave it to me.

Agave geminiflora ‘Rasta Man’ on 7-12-14, #231-5.

This AWESOME Agave geminiflora ‘Rasta Man’ was given to me by the owner of Pleasant Acres Nursery in Leland, Mississippi in May 2012. The above photo was the last one I took of it before giving it up… GEEZ! It was definitely a great plant and I hope to have another one someday…

Agave potatorum on 7-26-12, #112-1.

Hmmm… I brought this Agave potatorum from Lowe’s in July of 2012. It was inside the cold store soaking wet and looked miserable so I brought it home. I put it in a new pot and it started doing better and even grew a few offsets. This plant and I continued having our ups and downs until I gave it up in 2014… Sometimes it would be OK and I thought we were getting somewhere then it would go downhill again… GEEZ!

Agave sisalana ‘Mediopica’ on 6-1-14, #228-7.

I brought this Agave sisalana home in June of 2014, probably from Lowe’s, but I am not exactly sure. It was my first variegated Agave, but unfortunately, I gave it up later in the summer…

Agave univittata on 7-20-16, #276-1.

Well, I brought this Agave univittata (var. lophantha) home unlabeled from one of the local Amish greenhouses, probably Mast’s, in July 2016. I still have this plant but it looks nothing like it did when I brought it home (like the above photo). Its leaves have gotten much longer like it has stretched… I have had it in full sun and light shade from one summer to the next and it just keeps looking weird…

Agave (Syn. x Mangave) ‘Pineapple Express’ at 9″ tall x 13″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-5.

I was excited when I found this x Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’ at Wildwood Greenhouse on 6-13-19. I had always wanted to try Manfreda and x Mangave so I grabbed one and brought it home. Upon research, I found out x Mangave and Manfreda were synonyms of Agave. What a pain, huh? Whatever you call it, it is a great plant. Information says this cultivar is “slow” to offset, but after a year it already had 10… It had already grown to 9″ tall x 13″ wide on October 15 (2020) from 4 1/2″ tall x 9″ wide a year earlier…

There are a few links below about the Agave genus for further reading. There are plenty of sources online for many species and you can also find them on Ebay and Etsy. Just remember to pay attention to how big they can get. If you live where they are hardy outside, you will be OK if you have space. Otherwise, you will have to grow them in pots like I do. Best to get smaller growing species and cultivars.   I don’t think they are that picky about the potting soil as long as it is very well-draining. I used a simple recipe of 2 parts Miracle Grow or Schultz Potting soil amended with 1 part additional perlite and 1 part chicken grit (from the feed store) for many years. Since 2018, I have been using a 50/50 mixture of potting soil and pumice. I purchased the pumice from General Pumice and it has worked very well.

FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE
WIKIPEDIA
GARDENING KNOW HOW
GARDENIA
PLANT CARE TODAY
JSTOR DAILY

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