Agave fatality

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by palmera, Feb 2, 2007.

  1. palmera

    palmera Active Member

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    It is with great sadness that I have to announce the passing of my large Agave americana 'protoamericana'. (2 feet tall, in garden) For the winter, as I have other winters, I covered it with a plastic tent/dome. When I checked it last week, a couple of bottom leaves were slightly soft but otherwise she was doing very well. As the forecast was for sunny skies and no rain, I decided to take the cover off and give it some air and leave it off until the rains return. Stupid, stupid, stupid me should have realized that the nights were depositing a very heavy frost layer and the fog has kept everything very wet. My poor agave was used to being under cover. This combined with the freezing nights...she didn't stand a chance. Very sad. Lesson learned.

    The only thing that makes me feel better is that I have 8 seedlings on the go of this variety and they are fast growers. This agave grew 6 inches a year, which is very fast compared to my other agave varieties. Here's a few shots of my nursery. Notice the tiny teeth already starting to form.
     

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  2. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Sigh--such is the Canadian winter...always some surprises, er, learning experiences.

    I did notice a garden right on the beach in White Rock, quite a favored climate for the mainland, with several large agaves that a few days ago were totally mush. Looked like they had been planted only the previous summer, so an expensive annual bedding plant as it turns out. I'm not great at IDing agaves, but those particular ones also looked like americana, tho possibly the variegated ones (impossible to determine now thanks to their advanced state of decay).

    I have a couple potted agaves, possibly parryi and havardiana, that are kept in a cold greenhouse for the winter. It's hard to believe that many of these can freeze solid and happily carry on the next growing season. Moisture is quite another matter...
     
  3. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    With the heaviest rain this winter and 2 cold snaps, my Agave americana 'Variegata' is showing about 15% damage. It's my fault for not putting up my usual glass panel overhead. Agave havardiana looks completely unfazed by the same events.

    Cheers, LPN.
     

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  4. palmera

    palmera Active Member

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    Growest, I wouldn't feel too sorry for that garden owner living on the beach in White Rock. They can afford to use large agaves as annuals! But I do feel sorry for the agave.

    Has anyone had success finding a local source for agaves/succulents? I have ordered seedlings from the US ($$) and, much more affordably, been growing my own from seed. The seed method nets me many plants, but sometimes I can be impatient. Occassionally I see an A. americana in the garden centers, and I know LPN has a couple, but generally I haven't seen many around.

    Last Spring I took an opulent trip to Southlands Nursery in Vancouver (Thomas Hobb's) and felt like a kid in a candy shop! His selection of succulents and exotics was unparalleled. I spent way too much money but had so much fun. I am glad I don't live too close!
     
  5. palmera

    palmera Active Member

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    Barrie, pretty good for the agaves. My undercover ones are quite good, as well. A very small amount of softening of the outer leaves on the most exposed ones only. I only have an overhead temp roof for the winter, but rain/snow still get in. Just not as much.

    I have a number of potted ones that I keep in my mini greenhouse and covered shelves. The mini greenhouse has worked well for my limited space. However, I do feel greenhouse envy whenever I see your large house. Perhaps it's for the best as I may find myself getting even further carried away if I had the space!
     

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  6. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    palmera ... Agave utahensis pulled thru with out a hitch. It was the tiny one you gave me last fall. A visitor managed to step on it (partially) and should recover from that episode. I have small Agave lechuguilla and Agave pamleri if you're looking to expand your collection?

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  7. palmera

    palmera Active Member

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    Thanks Barrie,

    I do have palmeri, but I am not familiar with lechuguilla. I googled it to see a photo. It appears to grow more vertically, is that right? Looks like it might be a good candidate for the great outdoors, unprotected... Do you have one planted out? Best put my name on one.

    The A. utahensis I have always get thru the winter in fine form. I have even left a pot out, unprotected, for half a winter before I put it under the eave. They are tough.
     
  8. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    palmera,

    Here's what the late, great, Robert Lee Riffle had to say about Agave lechuguilla (lay-choo-GEE-ya) ...

    "is indiginous to southern New Mexico, southwestern Texas and adjacent northern Mexico, and is hardy in zones 8 through 11 and marginal in zone 7b. It is almost universally termed lechuguilla where it is native. The plant forms a medium-sized, very spiny yellow green to reddish purple erect rosette. The 2 foot long leaves are stiff and concave in cross section with widely spaced sines on the margins and a vicious dagger point at the tips. Leaf color is variable, being yellowish green but often deep rose or even purple in cold weather or under conditions of drought. The plants sucker very freely, making in time, somewhat extensive colonies by the creeping rhizomes. The individual rosettes, which flower at three or four years of age, are not very long lived, but the constant suckering ensures the perpetuation of the landscape subject. The inforesence is from 4' to 12' tall and consists of tightly packed green and yellow tubular flowers on the top half or two-thirds of the spike."

    Pick one out next time ... Cheers, Barrie.
     
  9. Laaz

    Laaz Active Member 10 Years

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    Agavi americana can withstand very hard frosts. We have many in our area the size of VW Beetles... The flower stalk can reach the height of a two story house. I wouldn't be so sure it's dead just yet. They can freeze to the ground & come back from the roots.
     
  10. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Laaz ... I've seen some from pics you've posted on the Palms North forum. They are great and imposing plants. My plain green one is looking fine (under overhead protection) and the variegated one is slightly damaged. We've had buckets of rain and I should really have placed an over-head cover to keep the rain off it.

    Cheers, LPN (Barrie)
     
  11. Laaz

    Laaz Active Member 10 Years

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    Hey Barrie. We get quite a bit of rain here in the winter & it doesn't seem to bother them. You would really be surprised the size these things get, when I say VW Beetle I mean it. I'll try to remember to take some pic's this week. I had two in my yard, but gave them away as they were getting way too big. The can have leaves 10-12 long with wicked spines on them. My son got ripped up one to many times chasing a ball & they had to go.
     
  12. palmera

    palmera Active Member

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    Given a choice between which one would have to go, an agave the size of a VW bug or my son...I'd have to think very hard on that one!
     
  13. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

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    "americana" is the one that can take a hundred years or more to bloom right?
     
  14. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Agave americana (Century plant) is only a name, not the length of time to bloom.
     
  15. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

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    oh i kow its only a name we have one in our consrvatory here the leves are about 6 feet or more long and it hasnt bloomed once since its bent hre ( around 100 or so years ). If this is the same plant of course
     
  16. Laaz

    Laaz Active Member 10 Years

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    It will only bloom once. Once the mother plant blooms it dies. Then the pups take the mother plants place.

    Here are a few around the neighborhood.
     

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  17. palmera

    palmera Active Member

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    Laaz,

    Those are great pictures. I was thinking of photoshoping them out and putting them in front of my house!
     
  18. Laaz

    Laaz Active Member 10 Years

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    And the variegated monster...
     

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  19. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I can see my Agave has a long ways to go! Thanks Laaz.
    Cheers, LPN (Barrie)
     

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  20. Laaz

    Laaz Active Member 10 Years

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    Hey Barrie. Yes most large mother plants here have pups that large or even larger.
     
  21. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I've removed pups over the years and potted them up. Folks that want to try them can find 'em at my place.

    Cheers, LPN (Barrie).
     
  22. Carol Ja

    Carol Ja Active Member 10 Years

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    I have a few varieties at work that are coming along nicely....I'll make a point to post a list of what is up for sale if people are interested, then you can get them whenever you like. All money goes to a great cause....more seeds.
     
  23. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Please do Carol !!! I'm up for another Agave or two.

    Cheers, LPN (Barrie)
     
  24. palmera

    palmera Active Member

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    You'll have to fight me for them Barrie! Carol, look what you've started...
     

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