Agave

It wasn’t until I started my new garden that I looked at growing Agaves. After I finished landscaping my front garden I decided I only wanted to fill it with plants that could survive only on rainfall and without any supplemental watering at all (once established). This was a tall order to place on most plants and those selected certainly would have to drought tolerant plants.

Agaves were becoming more and more popular in Australian gardens in recent times with Agave attenuata being a popular choice. The reason of course was simple, drought tolerant plants were becoming more of a necessity due to the drought so the decision to add a few Agaves to my front garden was an easy one indeed.

When it came to selecting them it wasn’t difficult at all as there were plenty to choose from and here are the ones that I selected (so far).

Agave attenuata has softer leaves than most Agaves and doesn’t have the sharp spines at the ends of the leaves. This Agave is very easy to propagate from. The two smaller agaves in the left of the photo were pups from a larger Agave attenuata that I cut away at the base to propagate from.

I’ve found Agave attenuata to be fairly easy to grow. The Agaves in the photo don’t get any supplemental watering and seem to have a faster growth rate than the other Agaves in my garden. I have found though that during extremely hot conditions in summer they can look a little stressed but I still think that they are very drought tolerant plants.

Agave attenuata

Agave attenuata

Agave desmettiana aka El Miradore’s Gold, seen growing here below only gets sunshine in the summer. Hence you can see it growing a little taller than it normally would. This Agave is also easy to propagate from as it does set lots of pups. The pups have been removed from this side for propagation but there are quite a few growing on the other side.

Agave desmettiana also has long fleshy leaves but unlike Agave attenuata these leaves do have sharp spines.

Agave desmettiana

Agave desmettiana

Agave potatorum is one of my favourite Agaves. I really like the colour of the leaves and the fact that it is also very easy to propagate from. I have three other Agave potaorums growing close by that were propagated from this plant.

Agave potatorum

Agave potatorum

Agave stricta nana has been fairly slow growing in my garden but it is a dwarf variety and only grows to about 30 cm. I have two Agave stricta nanas growing in my garden. The other one is a lot smaller than this one as I only just discovered it again recently when I cut back a large Agave attenuata that was obscuring it.

Agave stricta nana

Agave stricta nana

Agave victoria-reginae is probably the slowest growing Agave I have in my garden. At this stage it hasn’t produced any pups. There is also a great photo of this Agave below, taken growing in the Geelong Botanic Gardens.

Agave victoria-reginae

Agave victoria-reginae

So far I’ve found these Agaves to be very easy to grow. They are all growing in raised beds and only get watered when it rains. Compared to other plants though I haven’t found them to be fast growers, but Agave attenuata does have a reasonable growth rate. So despite not fertilizing my other drought tolerant plants in the garden I have decided to give these some slow release fertilizer just to give they a helping hand.

Another Agave that I discovered recently growing in the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne in the Californian Garden is Agave Parryi. This is one I think looks really distinct with it’s grey, blue leaves and will be keeping an eye out for it in the nurseries. I think it would make a great addition to a smaller garden like mine.

Agave parryi

Agave parryi

Here’s another Agave I found also in the Californian Garden that I’m still researching to find a name for it. I think it may be a variety of Agave americana?

Agave species

Agave species

There are also Agaves growing in the Geelong Botanic Gardens.

Agave atrovirens

Agave atrovirens

Agave celsii

Agave celsii

Agave filifera

Agave filifera

Agave macroacantha

Agave macroacantha

Agave stricta

Agave stricta

Agave stricta Hedgehog

Agave stricta Hedgehog

Agave victoria reginae

Agave victoria reginae

So there you have some photos of Agaves growing around Melbourne and Geelong. But just in case you might want to look at more here’s some photos of Agaves I found growing at Gardenworld located in Melbourne’s South East. This garden centre has a wonderful garden full of succulents and cactii as well as selling lots of unusual plants from around the world. It really is worth a visit.

Agave

Agave stricta

Agave

Agave sp

Agave

Agave sp

Agave

Agave macroacantha?

Agave

Agaves make a great landscaping plant.

Agave

Agave attenuata. Very popular in Australian gardens.

Agave

Agave filfera

Agave

Agave stricta with ends of the leaves cut because of it's proximity to the path.

Agave

Agave americana

Agave

Agave

So that’s it this time. As you can see Agaves are indeed becoming more popular here in Australia. With the emphasis these days being on drought tolerant plants Agaves can only prove to become even more popular in gardens. At the end of the day though even if you put aside their drought tolerance the Agave really is quite an attractive, archetectural plant that really does suit contemporary gardens indeed.

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18 Responses to Agave

  • Sunita says:

    had no idea there were so many different Agaves! And they all look so good in a very architectural kind of way. Very stark, very stylish .

  • Rebel Gardener says:

    Hi Sunita
    Yes I think they look fantastic. The other great thing about Agaves is that they make great pot plants as you don’t need to water them as often.

  • Lina says:

    I really enjoyed your agave posts. I’ve never seen a hedgehog agave and am going to be on the lookout for one at my local nurseries.

  • Rebel Gardener says:

    Thanks Lina. I really like Agaves and every time I go to a nursery now I look out for them. I’d like to add more to my garden.

  • daniel says:

    You have quite an imprestive website on this wonderfull species, i was looking to propagate (cut and pot, like a yukka) and found this, i hope your dedication to your proposed garden is still there after so many years. (yes, the ‘agave attenuata’ is the main one sold at nurseries here, it’s loved for our landscaping too)

  • Inês says:

    Great post on the agave family!
    If I’m not mistaken, the agave whose name you’re searching for is agave sisalana. It has been planted as source of a hard fiber – sisal or sizal

  • Merrilyn says:

    Love the different species of Agave. I have a “agave attenuata” that has a hugh stem protruding from the centre and in the last couple of days it has started to flower from the botom of the stem. I have taken photos, as I never knew this plant to flower, so if anyone interested I can email a copy. I am interested if this flowering means something ie. a long drought, a big wet, a cold winter etc.
    Would appreciate some feedback.
    Thanks, M

  • David says:

    Regarding the Agave attenuata, I have been given a mature plant from an existing garden, however it had become rather gangly where the stem has grown to a length of 750mm between the root ball and leaves, can I cut the root ball and stem off and instigate root growth from say 200mm of the remaining stem, with leaves still attached. My intention is to plant it in the ground once it has stablised after cutting back.
    Thanks for your comments. David

  • Wayne Farr says:

    Do you have any information on how to propagate the agave?

  • Cathy Starr says:

    I love them!! Living in the remote PilbaraWA andf looking for native WA plants to cover nature strip. Do we have a native Camomile? Re Agave, I heard you can use agave syrup as a substitute for normal sugar. Anyone know how to extract it or qwhat variety to use?

  • satar says:

    Comprehensive information about the plant Agave….im greateful i need you to help me…thanks thanks..thanks

  • Carrie says:

    I have some agave attenuata that i have been given from a friends garden to transplant but they have quite long stalks. Can they be cut off to enable them to be planted cloer to the ground?

  • Pingback: Agave and its uses in Oaxaca « ercarrasco

  • Daryl Nickson says:

    I’ve found a very attractive varigated form of Agave desmettiana – it was a sucker off a plant I was growing. You can see a photo of this on my face book page. http://www.facebook.com/daryl.nickson – I’ve named it white gold

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