Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A tiny agave survey...don't blink!

I've been gardening all my adult life, but there's a horde of plants out there I know nothing about. I've never lived in the southwest, so the agave family is new to me. But I've been gaining an appreciation for them here in Portland, after following some garden blogs like Danger Garden and nestmaker for awhile (links to the right, since I haven't figured out the live link thing.)

For me, agaves might be in the same category as pit bulls or pugs: at first you can't quite figure out what all the fuss is about, but once your eyes get opened to their delights and good points (!), you find yourself actually defending them when you hear people being critical. There's no zealot like a convert, I suppose.

Anyway, I've acquired some agaves - three, to be exact. And in honor of agave week over at Danger Garden they're pictured below.
A. scabra, said to reach 3-5 feet. Hope I planted it far enough away from the sidewalk.

A. bracteosa. I think this looks like a smooth, green octopus. Garden place yet to come.

A. filifera. Love the threads! Maybe a nice pot is the best place for this one.


  1. Hey wait a minute, didn't you say your collection was boring? No way! You've got 3 very cool agaves there! The key for us is drainage. There are several agave that can happily withstand our winter temperatures just not the rain + the temps. So as long as you have them somewhere that they can drain freely (not in our clay soil) I think yours will be happy. There is a local guy who builds rain shelters for his agave. Something as simple as a piece of clear rigid plastic held up on 4 sides by bamboo, I'll find the photo and get it to you. I'm sorry I'm probably telling you things you already know. Your plants are beautiful, thank you for sharing them!

  2. Wow. Nice agaves. I'm not familiar with a. scabra, but I love it, and I've recently been thinking I need a. bracteosa.
    And I'm happy to hear you're a fellow pit bull supporter! Aren't they terrific dogs? I just love them.

  3. Nice to see your newfound enjoyment growing out of your fellow Portland bloggers' agave fancying! That's really cool when ideas are exchanged via this forum. I am slowly being won over to their charms but might just let you guys keep adding to your collections and I'll continue to admire them from afar. :) Spikes + kid eyeballs still don't seem like a good combo at our place. I like the octopus one, really acutally all three, you got a nice variety of shades and shapes going there. I bet they won't be the last!

  4. danger garden - No, you're telling me things I absolutely need to hear. Keep on with the agave culture wisdom, please!

    Megan - I didn't include a pic of a. bracteosa from the side, but that's when it really looks like an octopus: the leaves are rather wildly curved.

    Karen - I'm having such fun learning from all you garden bloggers. And I agree with you about spikes and kid eyeballs: I'm going to need to be careful myself!


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