Grounding Queen Victoria

Agave victoriae-reginae was described in 1875 and named after Queen Victoria who ruled over the United Kingdom and the British Empire for a large part of the 19th century. If there ever was an agave fit for royalty, this is it. 

There are many forms of Agave victoriae-reginae. Some have fewer leaves, some have more. Some have lots of white markings, others just a few. Some are bigger and chunkier, others smaller and more delicate. But all of them are instantly recognizable.

I didn’t set out to collect Agave victoriae-reginae, but somehow I ended up with half a dozen different forms. Most of them are in pots and pupping vigorously – often a survival mechanism in containerized plants that are severely root-bound. 

In the process of overhauling the areas in the front yard that had become available after I’d removed the bloomed out Agave bovicornuta and Agave shrevei × guadalajarana, I decided to finally put the prettiest of my potted Agave victoriae-reginae in the ground:

It has a high leaf count and prominent white markings:

As you can see in the next photo, this Agave victoriae-reginae had quite a few pups. They would need to be removed before the momma could be planted.

Even after discarding the smallest pups without roots, I ended up with a surprising number:

Here they are, minus the largest two, which went in ground, too:

And here is the momma plant in the spot previously occupied by Agave shrevei × guadalajarana:

It connects visually to the Agave nickelsiae in the upper left. The two species are closely related; in fact, Howard Scott Gentry, the pioneering agave researcher who even 30 years after his death is still regarded as the world’s leading authority on the genus, considered it merely a form of Agave victoriae-reginae. No matter what the taxonomy is, both are striking plants.

If I had more room, I'd try to recreate these mass plantings, one at Orange Coast College in Southern California...

Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, California

...the other at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona:

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona

But since I don't have the space, I'll make do with tucking as many Agave victoriae-reginae as I can into spots all over the garden.

© Gerhard Bock, 2023. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.


  1. It looks great in its new location, Gerhard. May it live long and give you many more pups.

    1. Actually, I'm expecting the pup production to slow down drastically. Vic-reg usually stops making pups when it reaches a certain age and has free root run.

  2. That is a pretty one, love the rubble & rocks around!

  3. I love that agave, it's a great one and the form you put in the ground especially so. I am trying one in the ground too, scary, but we'll see how it does...

    1. San Marcos Growers says it's hardy to 10°F, but you sometimes dip below that. Still, it's worth a try.

  4. I've always liked A. Queen Victoria and it's ruling partner, Kind Ferdinand.
    With all the pups you acquired and considering this agave slow growth rate, you too can have a mass planting :-)

  5. The most elegant Agave of them all? A good array of photos of them in all their glory.

    I had three beauties, and they are (maybe) still somewhere under the Leucospermum 'Yellow Bird'. Have not seen them in years. Had no idea if 'Yellow Bird' would survive or not, had no idea how big it would get. The V-R trio ended up collateral damage.

    These things happen in gardens. The special one you gave me lives in a pot safe from rampaging 'Yellow Bird', and has a pup!

    1. Check under your Leucospermum. I'd be curious to see if your V-R are still alive. I wouldn't be surprised!

    2. It won't let me. It's bigger than me! 😜

  6. Love your plants. Love your garden.

  7. The new planting looks great and I am sure the agave says thank-you. How nice to get so many pups. I don't usually like a bunch of agaves grouped together as they seem more focal type plants. However, that 'porcupiney' look Victoria has looks awesome.


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