Saturday, August 8, 2020

Depupping ‘White Rhino’

Queen Victoria agave (Agave victoria-reginae) is arguably one of the most beautiful and therefore most popular agaves. There are many different forms:  the all-green standard form with a varying number of white markings; several selections with yellow variegation; and a few clones with white variegation. The latter are quite rare, and hence highly sought after. 

One of the white-variegated forms is called ‘White Rhino’. It has off-white stripes on the outside and green in the middle. (A form called 'Mediopicta Alba' has the reverse: white in the center, green along the margins.)

I bought a ‘White Rhino’ offset a number of years ago—seven? eight?—and it's grown slowly but steadily. A speed demon it ain't, but few agaves are. 

On the upside, my ‘White Rhino’ has produced a handful of pups, and I finally decided to remove them so they can start life on their own (and hopefully make their own babies eventually).
Agave victoria-reginae ‘White Rhino’, about 7½ inches across

Here you can see some of the pups:
The only safe way to remove the offsets was to take the entire plant out of the pot. I had to run a bread knife along the inside of the pot to dislodge some roots that had attached themselves to the sides, but after that it was easy to pull out the root ball.
Then it was simply a matter of gently pulling away the pups. Here they are after separation:
And potted up individually:
Mother ‘White Rhino’ went back in the original concrete container in fresh soil (Ultra Potting Mix from American Soil & Stone in Richmond, CA with extra pumice added):
The pups will receive some extra TLC to help them get off to a good start. I will mist the small leaves several times a day for three or four days before I give the pots a light watering. The last thing I want is for the young 'uns to fall victim to rot.


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9 comments:

  1. It's a fabulous specimen and I think you're smart to "wean" the pups sooner rather than later. I'm wondering when you're going to open a nursery ;)

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  2. White rhino is a beauty. Can see why you would want more. Interesting about misting the babies vs watering. I have been repotting agave pups as well but unsure as to whether I water or leave them dry. Will try the misting. Thanks for the tip.

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    1. Water pups: I'd say it depends on how well developed their roots are. Few roots: keep the soil on the dry side, but not bone dry. More roots: water regularly.

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  3. What a stunning Agave White Rhino.. When you mist the pups do you mist the soil surrounding the pups or do you mist the pups themselves? Looking forward to seeing how they progress in size.

    I also use Ultra potting mix from AM Soil with added pumice for my succulent containers. Seems to do a great job.
    Curious as to what soil you use to plant your landscape (inground) succulents. I am currently using EB Stone Cactus and Succulent soil with added pumice. I am not sure whether it’s the best product.
    Thanks so much for your sharing and yes educating all us succulent addicts!!

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    1. I mist to keep the leaves from shriveling and the soil from becoming completely dry.

      In the ground: In the past, I amended our native clay soil with inorganic material (gravel, 1/8" lava rock, etc.). Now I mound on top of the native soil. I like Kellogg's cactus mix since it already contains pumice. EB Stone sounds good, too. Their products are top notch.

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  4. Queen Victoria and King Ferdinand are two of my favorite agave. How fun to have a whole herd of white rhinos! Would the mama plant grow any faster now, without all the pups attached?

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    1. I'm hoping the mama plant will grow a bit faster now, but it's just as likely she'll just make more babies.

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    2. Thank you Gerhard for answering my succulent questions. I appreciate it 😊🙏🏻

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