Agave sisalana ‘Mediopicta’
Synonyms of Agave sisalana: Agave amaniensis Trel. & Nowell, Agave rigida var. sisalana (Perrine) Engelm., Agave segurae D.Guillot & P.Van der Meer, Agave sisalana f. armata (Trel.) Trel., Agave sisalana var. armata Trel.
Agave sisalana Perrine ex Engelm. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Agave. It was named and described as such by Georg (George) Engelmann in Transactions of the Academy of Science of St. Louis in 1875 using the description by Henry Perrine from Tropical Plants in 1838.
The genus, Agave L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753. According to Plants of the World Online there are 269 accepted species of Agave. Many species of other genera have been moved to the Agave genus, such as Manfreda. Plants of the World Online lists 21 synonyms at the genus level. Those were the numbers listed on 1-15-20 when I am updating this page but those numbers could change.
I am not sure exactly where I bought my Agave sisalana in 2014, but probably from Lowe’s since it does have a label. I believe the label said Agave sisalana ‘variegata’ but it has been 4 years since I gave this plant up so I no longer have the label. The photo folder is labeled Agave sisalana mediopicta because the label was actually incorrect (its an industry thing).
When I initially did the research for this page, I ran across a description from San Marco Growers. The name they give is Agave sisiliana forma medio-picta (they misspelled the species name, but no one is perfect). They say it was a 2002 International Succulent Introduction as ISI 2002-9 Agave sisalana forma medio-picta. The plants for this introduction came from the bulbils from a flowering plant at the Huntington Botanic Garden. It doesn’t say whether or not the parent plant was variegated in the first place. The page for this plant on the Huntington Botanical Garden website says it is “a pentaploid, largely sterile hybrid, its precise origin is uncertain.” Just guessing, I would say the original plant was variegated or why would they have selected it to get bulbils. (?)
The species is named after the port of Sisal in Yucatán, Mexico where it was originally exported from. It is believed it was not native to that area and where it is actually from is unknown. Although native to somewhere in southeast Mexico, this species has been exported to many other parts of the world where it is commercially grown for its fiber. Information also suggests it could possibly be a hybrid of Agave angustifolia and Agave kewensis.
Family: Asparagaceae (formerly in the Agavaceae)
Origin: Southeast Mexico
Zones: USDA Zones 9b-11 (25 to 40° F)
Size: 4-6’ tall x 6-8’ wide… Umm…
Light: Full sun to part shade
*Soil: Average, well-drained
Water: Average during the growing period.
*Agave species are very easy to grow in the ground where they are cold ardy and in pots where they are not. There are a lot of potting soil recipes online and many people develop their own with experience and what is readily available. Read the ingredients on the bag and always start with a base of a reliable brand name potting soil. I always use either Miracle Grow or Schultz Potting soil because I can buy it in large bags. They also offer cactus soil in smaller bags with similar ingredients. I used 2 parts potting soil with 1 part additional perlite and 1 part chicken grit. After reading that cactus and succulent enthusiasts were recommending pumice in place of perlite and grit, I decided to try it. So, in late in 2018 I purchased a bag of pumice online from General Pumice. I have been using a combination of about 50% potting soil and 50% pumice with favorable results.
I liked this plant because this species is only one of a few Agave that doesn’t have spines along the edges of the leaves. It does have a long brown needle on the tips, though.
I gave up many of my plants late in the summer of 2014 including this one. I am rebuilding my collection so maybe someday I will find another.
You will find this variegated Agave sisalana offered under a variety of names including mediopicta, ‘Mediopicta’, medio-picta, and maybe other cultivar names. Just keep in mind, this plant can get large over time if planted in the ground where it is hardy. They will stay somewhat smaller in pots, but be prepared to repot every so often. Keeping that in mind, you should have them in smooth sided pots that are larger at the top than the bottom. This will make repotting MUCH easier. I learned the hard way with one of my Agave americana subsp. protoamericana…
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.