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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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?
There are also Agaves growing in the Geelong Botanic Gardens.
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.
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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