Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Two new agaves in my collection

Yesterday I introduced you to our new whale’s tongue agave (Agave ovatifolia ‘Vanzie’). Even as a youngster it’s a large specimen already, 2 ft. across, so it went in the ground in the back yard.

Today I want to show you two other agaves I bought recently. Both are small and will stay small, so I’m keeping them in containers.

The first is Agave pumila. This one is a bit of a collector’s item in that it is fairly difficult to find. It’s a very slow-growing species, which agave expert Howard Gentry speculated might be a natural hybrid between Agave lechuguilla and Agave victoria-reginae. It has two distinct stages: the juvenile stage characterized by a 2-4 inch rosette of short, stubby leaves (the form typically encountered in potted plants), and an adult stage with an open rosette of 16-18 inch elongated leaves. It has never been known to flower. Cold hardiness is nothing to write home about, about 28°F, but that’s not really an issue with such a small potted plant—simply bring it inside on a cold night.

140520_Agave-americana-pumila_004

I found my specimen at the Sacramento Cactus & Succulent Society Show & Sale in early May.

140520_Agave-americana-pumila_002

The second agave I want to show you is this pygmy agave (Agave pygmae ‘Dragon Toes’). It’s a tissue-cultured selection by Kelly Griffin.

140523_Agave-Dragon-Toes_004

Agave pygmae is closely related to Agave seemanniana; even Howard Gentry speculated that it might simply be a stunted form. I have a very small Agave seemanniana growing in the back yard, and there is a definite resemblance, but in agaveland that doesn’t always mean very much since so many species look similar when young.

140523_Agave-Dragon-Toes_002

Agave pygmae ‘Dragon Toes’ only grows to 1-2 ft. in height and width, which makes it an ideal long-term container plant. Native to the the Mexican state of Chiapas which borders Guatemala, this is a zone 9b plant at best.

140523_Agave-Dragon-Toes_005

Agave pygmae is supposed to produce suckers, but mine is solitary. I purchased it in a 2-gallon can from Village Nurseries in Sacramento, and it’s currently living on the front porch.

9 comments:

  1. They are both so cute, and perfect looking! I like agaves that can be appreciated up close!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely agree! I love being able to get up close and personal.

      Delete
  2. Two great plants, in perfect condition. Agave pumila seems to be a bit of an acquired taste, maybe because it is not a more traditional agave shape.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pumila does look different. More like a stocky haworthia. But I like oddities :-).

      Delete
  3. Looks like those two are perfect for pot culture indeed with their relatively small size and all. Agave pumila looks cute and you're right it's still rare (hence quite expensive to buy here). Great collection you have!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Last year I was eyeing an Agave pumila at the Sacramento Cactus & Succulent Society Show & Sale, but it was $50 (yikes!) and on the ugly side so I passed. The specimen I just bought was only $20, and a good size too.

      Delete
  4. I just got a pumila as well. I guess it is their year. It does have that "cute" factor, but I like it anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a coincidence! Maybe they're becoming more available? Mine originally came from Grow Nursery in Cambria.

      Delete
  5. 'Dragon Toes' does indeed offset! My mother plant looks no bigger than yours but has already produced a half dozen pups, which were the easiest to remove of any agaves I've grown. Just slipped right out. Love the coloration on the pumila.

    ReplyDelete