Century plant


Agave vilmorimiana

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Named for the French horticulturist and plant collector Maurice de Vilmorin, it’s easy to see how this agave got its common name: “Octopus.” It will take on the look of the wild and wavy sea creature in the right growing situations. A striking textural accent plant with a shorter lifespan than most agaves – about 10 years before flowering and dying. If you have the space, a solitary specimen or 3 planted en masse will look quite dramatic. Light green to gray green, strap-like, elongated leaves that are recurved and slightly twisted upward. Leaf margins are smooth, sometimes tapering to a relatively soft terminal spine. Just give the vilmoriniana plenty of space to stretch out, about 8-12 feet between specimens. Also give it some shade, as the octopus agave can show heat stress in full sun in Phoenix in the form of terminal leaf necrosis.

Agave weberi Smooth Edge Agave, Weber's Agave

Ruler icon 4-6 ft. high x 6-8 ft. wide

Sun icon Full sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 8-11

This Agave is described as medium large, green to grayish, forming open arching rosettes with wide pliable, straight to recurving guttered leaves with smooth leaf edges, ending in a 1.5-2 in. terminal spine. This is all true information but these Agaves have way more majesty than this precise physical description indicates. Often, when plant aficionados come across an Agave weberi they are usually in awe from the sight of them. These are soft-leafed, gray-green plants with a pleasing urn shape. They are sculptural without looking deadly or overbearing despite their mature size. They make excellent container plants, landscape specimen plants or even blend into sophisticated tropical designs. Like other agaves, they demand well-drained soil, and they are free suckering, creating many pups around the base of the mother plant.

Agave x ‘Blue Flame’ 'Blue Flame' Agave

Ruler icon 2-3 ft. high & wide

Sun icon Full to part sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 9-12

This Agave has soft, unarmed blue green leaves with a flame-like appearance from which its common name was derived. It is a luscious looking clump forming or groundcover type hybrid Agave. Individual plants grow at a moderate rate to 2-3 ft. high & wide, but as they age, they will continue to multiply to form groups that can spread 4-8 ft. in width. They are great for use at poolside, water features and patios where you want to maintain a soft, invitingly cool, tropical appeal. Minimal maintenance, but they prefer regular supplemental water through the first summer or two. As with other Agaves, well-drained soil is a must.

Agave x ‘Blue Glow’ 'Blue Glow' Agave

Ruler icon 2-3 ft. high & wide

Sun icon Full to part sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 9-12

This is a hybrid agave, between two other favorites, Agave attenuata and A. ocahui. Like all hybrids, the offspring display only the best qualities provided by both parents. This is a small, well-behaved Agave with flat to slightly cupped leaves that are silvery-blue green color and have a short reddish terminal spine. They form a nearly symmetrical round shape similar to A. ocahui. The leaf margins possess no teeth, they are thin, golden red in color with a spectacular translucence that allows the plant to literally glow when it is back-lit in the late afternoon or morning sun. Plant these beauties in masses, to accent hardscape elements, as individual specimens or in modern minimalistic containers, but site them where the sun will allow them to glow.

Agave x ‘Sharkskin’ Sharkskin Agave

Ruler icon 1.5-2 ft. high & wide

Sun icon Full to part sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 9-11

These Chihuahuan desert native agaves form distinctive, tight ball-shaped rosettes with short, thick, and rigid triangular toothless leaves of dark green with white bud imprint on upper and lower leaf surfaces. They look like an artichoke. Each leaf does have a short, sharp terminal spine, but they are mostly smooth as Agaves goes. They are slow growing but dependable in well-drained soils for full sun to part sun locations. They work well in containers, planted in masses, or simply mixed with other desert accents or perennials.