Do I really have that many agaves?

Loree over at Danger Garden posted a partial list of her plants this morning. She mentions the benefits of having such a list on her blog, but also registers some concern: “[c]an you still respect me now that you know the true depths of my plant lust?”

Loree, not only do I still respect and admire you, I also feel inspired by your list and will start one of my own. I used to keep track of my plant purchases in a spreadsheet, and while I haven’t entered everything, a lot of the basic information is in there.


Agave potatorum ‘Kichiokan’ (or ‘Kissho Kan’)

Many of you probably think this is a touch obsessive-compulsive. I wouldn’t disagree with you there, but I do think it’s useful to know what you bought when and where. It’s much easier that way to keep track of which plants have thrived, which have croaked, and which are just hanging in there.


Agave chrysoglossa

Starting out, here is a list of all the agaves in my collection. This may seem like a lot, but please remember that most of them are in pots (marked as “[P]” below) and many of them are still quite small.

I’ve killed two agaves so far; they’re listed as “[K].”

Agave americana ‘Medio-picta alba’

[P] Slow-growing in a large pot

Agave americana ‘Variegata’

[P] Vigorous grower; confined to a 3-gallon pot.
Agave applanata 'Variegata' [G] Very small, good for pot culture. I can’t tell it apart from Agave parryii ‘Cream Spike’. Might be the same thing.

Agave attenuata ‘Boutin Blue’

[P] Beautiful blue color but extremely slow-growing for me.

Agave attenuata x ocahui ‘Blue Glow’

[P] Vigorous grower. Stunning form and coloration.

Agave attenuata x shawii ‘Red Margin’

[G] Fast grower. Has started to pup.
Agave bovicornuta [P] One of my favorites. Striking cinnamon-colored spines and very visible bud imprints.

Agave bracteosa ‘Calamar’

[P] ‘Calamar’ is a tissue-cultured selection that does not offset. I’m not sure mine has grown at all in 3 years.

Agave celsii

[G] Striking apple green color. Good grower.

Agave celsii ‘Nova’

[P] Bluish green. Started to rot in a large pot. Now healing in a smaller pot.

Agave celsii ‘Tricolor’

[G] Beautiful coloration but very slow grower.

Agave chiapensis

[P] Dark green leaves. Planted in full shade so open form instead of the tighter “artichoke” habit seen in the sun.

Agave chrysoglossa

[P] Unique appearance. Thin strappy leaves with faint red margin.

Agave colorata

[G] Slow grower, generic “agave” look, nothing special.

Agave ‘Cornelius’

[P] Does great in a pot. Unique look.

Agave cupreata

[P] Generic look; does not look like a miniature bovicornuta to me. Maybe with time…
Agave dasyliroides [P] Like chrysoglossa, it doesn’t even look like an agave. Looks more like a dasylirion, duh!

Agave desmettiana ‘Variegata’

[G] Another favorite. Striking and fairly user-friendly agave. Fairly tender (28°F).

Agave ‘Felipe Otero’ (FO-076)

[G] Bizarre spines. One of my favorites, but I let mine sunburn last year so it’s in an ugly phase.

Agave filifera sub. schidigera

[G] The best thread-producing agave, in my opinion.

Agave funkiana ‘Blue Haze’

[G] Faint striping on leaves. Will need more time to come into its own.

Agave geminiflora

[P] Another favorite. Reminds me of Dasylirion longissimum, but with filifers.

Agave ghiesbreghtii

[G] Generic looking. Nothing special.
Agave guiengola ‘Creme Brulee’ [K] Killed by 28°F frost. Very tender!

Agave isthmensis

[P] My newest purchase, also my current favorite. Very striking leaves. Frost-tender.

Agave lophantha ‘Quadracolor’

[G] The best variegated agave, bar none.

Agave montana

[P] Mine has narrow dark-green leaves. Pleasant-looking, but not a beauty.

Agave montana ‘Baccarat’

[G] Fairly generic-looking when small but it has great potential. Bud imprints can be stunning on large plants.

Agave parryi ‘Cream Spike’

[P] Small variegated plant. Perfect for pots where it can be viewed up close. I can’t tell it apart from Agave applanata ‘Variegata’. Might be the same thing.

Agave parryi ‘J.C. Raulston’

[G] Solitary (non-pupping) selection. Very slow grower.

Agave parryi var. huachucensis

[P] Supposed to grow larger than the species. Mine is very slow.

Agave parryi var. parryi

[G] Leaves are much more narrow and pointy than ‘Truncata’

Agave parryi var. truncata

[G] Beautiful. The classic “artichoke” agave.

Agave parviflora

[G] Tiny, one of the smallest agaves. Looks like a miniature A. filifera.

Agave potatorum ‘Kichiokan’

[P] Small beauty, good for pots.

Agave schidigera ‘Shira ito no Ohi’

[P] One of my favorites. Small, and perfect in every way. See it here.

Agave titanota

[P] Unique look. No other agave looks quite like it.
Agave utahensis var. eborispina [K] Killed by overwatering. Extremely sensitive species!

Agave victoria reginae

[G] Symmetry perfected. See it here.

Agave victoria reginae ‘Variegata’

[G] Variegated version. Not as pretty as the species.

Agave victoria-reginae ‘Compacta’

[P] A supposedly smaller selection of the already fairly small Agave victoria reginae. To me, they look the same.

Agave vilmoriniana

[G] Octopus agave—the name is well chosen!

[G] = in ground, [K] = killed, [P] = in pot

Agave isthmensis

Over the course of the next month, I will add a new permanent agave page with photos of all my plants. This will be a valuable tool for me to track their progress year over year, and some of you may find it interesting as well.

What is your personal take on plant lists? Useful or a waste of time?


  1. You've only killed two agaves? I hang my head in shame. Of course I could start rationalizing about my climate...but still, only two!? This is an impressive list, many that I've never heard of...which of course is very exciting!

    I thought about trying to note on my list where and when I bought it, as well as where it's planted. But then I realized just making a comprehensive list will be enough work!

    1. Loree, yep, only killed two. But that doesn't mean that all the others are happy. Some clearly are not. I've almost rotted a few by planting them in pots that were too large for them. And others by letting them sit in the rain in the winter.

      *You* have quite a few on your list that I'd never heard of before. It's exciting seeing new agaves introduced into cultivation every year.

  2. I say "Useful!"

    Now make one of my plants for me please!

  3. I'm not a plant list person but I can see how it could be fun to do. Plus, you have so many pots, all my plants are in the ground. I like to be surprised every year at what I have growing, and I enjoy remembering (or not!) what is there. I made a diagram of the perennials in my front garden years ago and it has changed enough that it's not accurate anymore! I do keep recent plant tags as a reference though - I guess that's my list? anne

    1. Anne, I only keep lists for some plants (succulents, bamboos, and weird exotics). I tried to keep a list of all the perennials planted in the ground in various places, but it was a hopeless undertaking. Like you, I'm surprised every year by what comes up--or not. I have had more perennials die than any other plant group, probably because of our heavy clay soil.

  4. What a great list Gerhard, and it will only get longer! I wish my Kichiokan looked that good!

    1. I wish I could put plants into suspended animation when they finally reach their sweet spot. But alas, they continue to grow, spoiling that golden moment of perfection :-).

  5. I started my plant list shortly after starting my blog. I hadn't realized it at the time but it's become quite a useful resource for myself. I do my best to remember names, but it helps having them written down as well. As things croak (we can't win them all) I make note of it and learn from my mistakes. It's addicting, and totally ocd!

    1. Nat, I agree wholeheartedly! While I'm fairly good with Latin names, I can't ever remember all of them, and having a list to refer back to is a handy thing. Yes, it's OCD, but in moderation that's a good thing!

  6. Yes, clay is tough with most perennials. I can pretty much predict what a tag or instructions will say for a perennial regarding soil: GOOD DRAINAGE!

  7. Hi Gerard! I love this post and think it is too usefull for succulents lovers. I'd like to ask you a permission to translate to portuguese the list you made and post in my blog ( it's about succulents, i'll give the credits to you and link to your blog of course.
    Your posts are really good very usefull.

    Thank you

    1. Thank you for your very nice comment. I really appreciate it. Of course you can translate my agave list into Portuguese. I would be very flattered. I will check out your blog. I won't understand the words but I'll be able to see your photos :-).


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