Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Agaves I brought home from my Arizona trip

I got back from my Arizona trip on New Year’s Eve, barely an hour before midnight. I was too tired to unpack my suitcase that night, but the next morning I was only too eager to find out how my agaves from Greg Starr had fared.

Agaves from Greg Starr in my hotel room in Tucson

Quick answer: not too badly.



Although my suitcase must have been tossed around quite a bit because there was a lot of loose soil. Do baggage handlers at airports amuse themselves by dropping suitcases from great heights? Plus, there was a note from the TSA indicating that they had opened my suitcase—I bet our TomTom navigation system had set off an alarm again. I don’t think the TSA agents paid any attention to my plants though.


I stuffed newspaper around each plant before wrapping it in bubble wrap. I then packed the wrapped plants into my suitcase as tightly as possible and shoved clothing in the cracks to form a layer that wouldn't shift. The zip-up divider provided additional stability.

Bubble-wrapped plants in my suitcase after removing all the clothing

Bubble-wrapped plants in the backyard, waiting to be unpacked

And here they are, clockwise starting at the bottom left: Agave garciae-mendozae, Agave azurea, Agave albopilosa, Agave chazaroi, and a cross between a Manfreda and Agave colorata 
Agave albopilosa

The agaves from Greg are fine except for a broken leaf here and there, especially on Agave chazaroi. I repotted the two that had been in two-inch pots (Agave charazoi and Agave garciae-mendozae) and placed all of them on a heating mat to recover. This should give them a head start on living in Davis where it’s much colder right now than in Tucson. Come spring, most of them will go in the ground; Agave chazaroi may be too cold-sensitive and will most likely live in a pot.

Inside on a heat mat, together with a few other plants


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13 comments:

  1. Is that a palo verde seedling on the bottom right?

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    1. It's actually a sweet acacia (previously Acacia farnesiana, now Vachellia farnesiana). Only one out of maybe a dozen seeds germinated but this one looks like it will make it. The seed is from a tree here in Davis, not Arizona.

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  2. I always wondered how people managed to get their plant acquisitions home in one piece. Now I know!

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    1. I've done it twice now, and they key is to pack everything as tightly as possible so nothing can shift.

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  3. Well, what I really enjoy is the fact that the plants were the first consideration and the clothes were just packing material, lol. I have friends ho always take one of those Igloo playmate lunch coolers , it will hold 6 4inch pots and fits in the overhead.

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    1. You should have seen my "wardrobe:" two pairs of pants, black T-shirts, underwear and socks. I travel lightly.

      The Igloo cooler is a great idea but it wouldn't work for me because I already carry on my computer backpack and my camera bag. I always toy with the idea of NOT taking a laptop but I do need my tools (like Picasa for collages and Photoshop for tweaking images).

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    2. Actually, I could probably put my computer in my suitcase and bring plants on board in a carry-on cooler....

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  4. Excellent! This is your second Agave albopilosa, is it not?

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  5. I'm glad your new plants made it through the ordeal of flying. Great new additions!

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    1. Better than me, I think. On the flight home from Phoenix, I sat next to two drunk women returning from vacation in Mexico, and the garbage they spouted for 2 hours made me want to puncture my ear drums.

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  6. Very nice choices, the chazaroi and albopilosa especially. I hand carried an Aloe castanea home from the SF fling, it got a ride through the x-ray machine, then I held it the whole way home on the plane.

    The things we do for plants.

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    1. I never know what's legally OK to bring into California from out of state. That's why I felt more comfortable "hiding" my purchases in my suitcase.

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