While we had above-average rain in early and mid-December, there has been very little precipitation since then. In addition, the coldest temperature we’ve had this winter was 28°F on January 2 and 3, and that only lasted for a couple of hours each time.
With this in mind, it’s even more baffling why my Agave guiengola ‘Crème Brûlée’ ended up like this:
Yes, this is a fairly frost-sensitive species (San Marcos Growers rates it hardy to 25°F), but I just don’t see how this could be frost damage.
I’ve never twirled an agave leaf before!
In addition, it’s not the pattern you’d see if the plant were rotting from excess moisture. That kind of damage typically starts in the crown and spreads outward.
Here, the rot starts toward the middle of the leaves and spreads from there.
The pups are affected as well.
I dug up the mother plant and the roots look fine.
I popped off the babies but after removing the rotting leaves, I was left with only one viable pup (on the right).
I have no idea what’s going on here. All I know is that I waited too long to intervene. If I had dug up the plant and removed the rotting leaves weeks ago, I might have been able to save the mother and more of the pups.
This isn’t the first Agave guiengola ‘Crème Brûlée’ I’ve lost. A much smaller plant succumbed to frost damage four years ago. (I can’t remember the damage pattern but it may have been the same or similar.) I suspect this species is not as hardy as reported, or else there’s a curse on it that only affects me.
I’m officially giving up on Agave guiengola, especially since its leaves sustain blemishes so easily. Even at its best, my plant was never as attractive as what you see here. There are plenty of other agaves that would be more rewarding to grow; I’ll let you know what I will plant instead.