Sunday, February 14, 2016

Moving a large Agave mitis

Agave mitis (aka Agave celsii) is native to the east-central Mexican states of Hidalgo, Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosí where it grows on steep cliffs. It typically offsets quite freely and is hardy to the low 20s, possibly lower (zone 8b).

My plant came from the Landscape Cactis and Succulents Nursery at UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley. My records, spotty as they are, show that I bought it as a 3-gallon plant on May 4, 2009 for $25. It’s been in an egg pot on the front porch ever since. In those 6¾  years it has grown tremendously, all in the same pot, but it has not produced a single baby. Maybe because it’s been in a pot all this time?

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Late last year I noticed it leaning forward precariously. I thought it might be getting ready to bloom and I was just going to let it go. A couple of week ago I took a closer look and to my big surprise the soil in the pot was completely dry—think BONE DRY. Since the pot is right on the edge of the front porch, I had assumed it was getting enough rain to keep the agave hydrated. I guess not.

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Figuring my Agave mitis would be happier in the ground that in a pot, I yanked the root ball out of the egg pot. At first it wouldn’t budge, but the soil (at least a third of which was pumice) finally shook loose and I got the plant out. Here is the root ball leaning against the (underused) display table next to the front porch:

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Considering how overplanted everything is, I had a hard time finding a spot for this Agave mitis. But fear not, I did find one next to the Aloidendron ‘Hercules’ in the front yard desert bed.

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It looks a bit like an apple-green rag doll but I’m hoping it will re-root quickly and get established.

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And if it is indeed in the initial stages of flower, so be it.

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P.S. My Agave mitis really is that apple green. Some are a more muted green, and some are a ghostly white (variety albidior).

12 comments:

  1. I didn't realize those got that big! The color is beautiful too. Hopefully it will like its new home and stick around for a while before flowering.

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    1. In his book Agaves, Greg Starr lists the size for Agave mitis as 1-1.5 ft tall x 1.5-3 ft. wide. Mine's a little taller than wide but about 3 ft. wide.

      After all the trouble I went through to move it, I *DO* hope my A. mitis will be around a little while longer :-).

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  2. Like Renee, I had no idea they could get that big. I have 3 very small pups (given me by another blogger) which I popped into a narrow bed. I may have to give their placement more thought!

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    1. I think Agave mitis is typically smaller than my specimen, esp. when clustering.

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  3. "apple-green rag doll"....exactly! Hope it takes hold.

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    1. It had better!

      In hindsight I wish I'd given it some seaweed extract. See Laurin's post below.

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  4. Your desert front bed is looking great. I love the bright green...I hope it take...do you use seaweed extract for transplant shock. We use it on our installs and it really works. I like Maxicrop brand. If you cant get it locally you can get it from the great Zon : ) http://www.amazon.com/Maxicrop-1001-Liquid-Seaweed-Qt/dp/B000COBUQC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455560476&sr=8-1&keywords=maxicrop+liquid+seaweed

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    1. Thank you so much for that recommendation. No, I didn't know seaweed extract reduces transplant shock. I'll order a bottle right now.

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  5. You might get an offset yet. It was probably too thirsty to produce any. That planting bed looks great--is that the 'Moonglow' Aloe there on the right? Beautiful!

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    1. I couldn't believe how dry the soil was.

      Yes, that's Aloe 'Moonglow'. I have three of them now, all from the same original mom. With the warm weather we've been having these last 3-4 days, they're finally starting to open.

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  6. That color looks great in its new spot!

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    1. Thanks, Alan. There aren't very many agaves this bright green color.

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