What is this agave up to?

Take a look at this dwarf cowhorn agave (Agave cupreata) near the front door. I’ve had it for just a little over a year, which isn’t much in the life of an agave. But something curious is happening. It’s getting flatter. You can’t really see it looking down at it…


…but it’s quite visible from the side:


The two photos above were taken today, November 20, 2016. Compare them to September 21, 2016…


September 21, 2016

…and February 27, 2016:


February 27, 2016

Something is definitely going on with my Agave cupreata. No, I’m not among the growing number of Americans who think the earth is flat. I merely think my Agave cupreata is flat.

What could it be?

I have only one explanation: It’s getting ready to bloom. I’m reminded of the first tell-tale sign of flowering I noticed on the Agave desmettiana ‘Variegata’ that was in the same spot (see here).

I want nothing more than to be wrong about this. This Agave cupreata has only been with us for a year, and I love it in this spot. But short of a far more outlandish theory, I’m sticking to my prediction. It will flower soon—and then die.

Time to start thinking about a replacement :-(.


  1. Assuming that you're correct, that's too bad - it's a very handsome agave. Thanks for sharing the early signs of blooming, though. I've been eyeing one of my A. desmettiana with suspicion and tomorrow I'll go give it a closer examination

  2. This is the dumbest question ever, but is it in shade much of the day? I associate this sort of behavior with shade-grown plants -- see it at CSS shows, where some of the entries have been coddled under shade cloth. And I confess I see it sometimes here at home, when an agave gets comparatively little direct sunlight (usually from lingering too long under the patio roof, waiting to be repotted). Love A. cupreata! I'll be interested to see what develops.

    1. Not a dumb question AT ALL. It gets a good 6 hours of full sun in the summer but less now in the fall and winter because the sun is lower in the sky and gets blocked by trees across the street. I suppose that could well be the reason.

  3. Replies
    1. Another good guess I don't think that's the case here. It gets watered once a week through drip.

  4. I was going to ask the same as Luisa. Has anything around it changed the amount of sunlight it's getting? If not then...well...time to start looking for another.

    1. Yes, the sun is lower in the sky now. I'm beginning to think it could be a seasonal phenomenon!

  5. I'm with Luisa and Loree--is it getting shaded now?

    1. See above. Less sun now than in the summer. I had never thought of that. And maybe this species responds more dramatically to a drop in sunlight/intensity.


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