Molded Wax Agave, Molded Wax Echeveria, Wax Agave, Crested Molded Wax Agave, Etc.
Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’
Synonyms of Echeveria agavoides (5) (Updated on 4-8-21 from Plants of the World Online): Cotyledon agavoides Baker, Echeveria obscura (Rose) A.Berger, Echeveria yuccoides É.Morren, Urbinia agavoides (Lem.) Rose, Urbinia obscura Rose
Echeveria agavoides Lem. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Echeveria. It was named and described as such by Antoine Charles Lemaire in L’Illustration Horticole in 1863.
The genus, Echeveria DC., was named and described as such by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle in Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis in 1828.
The original Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ was wild collected from a habitat near Coahuila, Mexico, by John Trager and Myron Kimnach. It was first distributed by the International Succulent Introduction (ISI 92-44).
Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 193 species in the Echeveria genus (as of 4-8-21 when I last updated this page). It is a member of the plant family Crassulaceae with 36 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AND GROWING RECOMMENDATIONS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING.
I brought this plant labeled Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ home from Wagler’s Greenhouse, one of three local greenhouses, on March 29 (2021). It has been several years since I have grown any Echeveria because I didn’t have adequate light for them over the winter. That changed when I built a new plant shelf for a south-facing window so I thought I would give this cultivar a shot.
This Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ measured 1 1/2″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide when I brought it home and it is in a 4″ diameter x 3 1/2″ tall pot. I will have to replace its potting soil with a more suitable mixture for succulents and check its roots for a plug wrapper. I don’t like leaving the plug wrappers for their roots to try to grow through.
The owner of Wagler’s had bought quite a few cactus and succulents from an auction rather than a grower. Well, I shouldn’t say that because maybe a grower sold them at the auction. Anyway, the tags in the pots were generic in the sense that they didn’t have a grower’s name on them. The point I am trying to make is that this little Echeveria may not be ‘Ebony’ at all… In my opinion, if the original grower knew these were ‘Ebony’, they likely wouldn’t have wound up at an auction. But, you never know. When this cultivar was first introduced in 2000, ‘Ebony’ was selling for $75-$500 a pop, depending on where you were from and how bad you wanted one. Over the last few years, tissure culture has dramatically increased its availability. When I wrote this page on April 8 (2021), there were listings on Ebay for $25 and up, one even for $150… What did I pay? $1.50.
Echeveria agavoides is one of the smaller species, growing to an average of only 5″ tall x 8″ wide at maturity. The species is normally solitary and rarely produces offsets. There are several cultivars of Echeveria agavoides available, but ‘Ebony’ is unique in that it has darker reddish-purple to near black coloration around half its leaf margins and toward the tip. Brighter light and cooler temperatures deepen the color.
So, if the plant I brought home is actually an Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’, its color will definitely have to change A LOT! Time will tell…
Hmmm… OK, so I mentioned I brought this Echeveria home from Wagler’s in March and its color was somewhat off compared to what the label (and online sources) show. Well, since it was April the plant had to stay in the house until temps warmed up. Once it was warm enough I put it on the front porch with the other succulents (and a few other plants). The cactus go on the back porch. Mind you, it was May and the temps were still somewhat cool. If evening temperatures are going to get too cool I move the plants back inside. The front porch is fairly shady with a little direct sun in the afternoon. I would pretty much call it light shade. Even plants that need to be acclimated to more sun in the spring would do GREAT on the front porch. Well, after a few days, I noticed the leaves on this plant had burned. It looked as if they had been scalded, like if they were wet and the sun boiled their leaves. So, here is a plant that requires full sun to light shade for it to do its best and the color to be more pronounced. How do you do that if the leaves are prone to burning? On the other hand, maybe the temperature was too cold? Well, I am pretty sure that wasn’t the case… At any rate, this plant was not very photogenic for a while but when it started growing new leaves I knew it would grow out of it.
Despite our rocky start, the plant has grown to 2″ tall x 4 1/4″ wide. That is 1/2″ in both directions.
This is a photo of the label that is in the pot with the plant. As I mentioned, it is a generic label and the owner at Wagler’s had bought a lot of plants at the auction, including this one. This plant may not be an Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ at all.
Origin: Selection from plants near Coahuila, Mexico.
Zones: USDA Zones 9b-11 (25 to 40° F/-3.8 to 4.5° C).
Size: Approximately 5-6” tall x 8” wide.
*Light: Sun to light shade.
**Soil: Fast-draining. Good quality potting soil amended with pumice (50/50) or additional perlite and chicken grit (2-1-1).
***Water: Average in the summer and barely in the winter.
*During the summer, I keep most of my cactus on the back deck where they receive full sun. During the winter most cactus aren’t picky about the light because they are basically dormant. For several winters, mine were in front of the east-facing sliding door in the dining room so they didn’t get much light but they did great. I built a new shelf for the bedroom so now they are in front of a west-facing window. Most of the succulents are on a shelf in a south-facing window in a cool bedroom but a few are in my bedroom.
**When it comes to potting soil, finding the “sweet spot” is not exactly that easy when materials are limited. Cactus and succulent enthusiasts (and experts) do not recommend using peat-based commercial mixes but what choice is there for most of us. They say to use a loam-based mix… Hmmm… Our soil is loam, so do I just use dirt? Well, no because “dirt” is heavy and you need a “light” material. There is A LOT of cactus and succulent recipes online and some get pretty elaborate. Many say to use sand as an ingredient, but if you do that, it needs to be very coarse, like builders sand, because “ordinary” sand, like for sandboxes, is too fine and it clogs up the air space between the coarser ingredients. For MANY years I used 2 parts Miracle Grow or Schultz Potting amended with an additional 1 part of perlite and 1 part chicken grit. Schultz doesn’t seem to have as many large pieces of bark. Cactus and succulent enthusiasts recommended using pumice instead of perlite and grit so I checked it out… The “guy” at General Pumice (online) recommended using a 50/50 mix of potting soil and pumice. General Pumice has 3 different sizes to choose from depending on the size of the pot. SO, in 2018 I bought a bag of 1/8″ and mixed it 50/50 with Miracle Grow Potting Soil. I liked it pretty well. Then in 2020, since most of the cactus were in larger pots, I ordered the 1/4″ size. Pumice has a lot of benefits over perlite and has nutrients that are added to the soil when watering. Pumice is also heavier so it stays mixed in the soil instead of “floating” to the top. Still, there is the issue of the mix getting very hard once you stop watering the plants during the winter when you stop watering. I think this is because of the peat in the potting soil… SO, instead of re-potting the cactus and succulents in the spring, I started doing it during the fall and winter so their soil would be loose. Since you don’t water as frequently during the winter if at all, the timed-release fertilizer does not activate. I have not tried coir, but I am looking into it…
You have to sort of mimic the soil where species grow in their native habitat. For that, you almost have to go see for yourself… Typically, they grow in fairly rocky soil.
***I water my cactus and succulents on a regular basis during the summer but barely ever in the winter (maybe a little in January) until close to time to take them back outside.
When you bring your new plants home from the store, you need to check their roots and the soil to see if they are wet. If so, you may want to re-pot it right away. It is advisable to re-pot them in a better potting soil more suitable for cactus and succulents.
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, species, and/or cultivar of this plant. If you notice I made an error, please let me know. Of course, you can always send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL CRASSULACEAE NETWORK
LLIFLE (ENCYCLOPEDIA OF LIVING FORMS)
MARRIED TO PLANTS
NOTE: The figures may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates (and if they update their sources or even read what they say). Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates at least once a year and when I write new pages and add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂