Parry Agave

17 May

Parry Agave (Agave parryi), evergreen succulent to 2 feet in height with larger spread, will produce colonies, thick fleshy light green leaves, full sun, very drought tolerant, deer resistant, one of the hardiest of the Agave.

Agave are sculptural succulents with rosettes of fleshy leaves. Impressive, sometimes colorful, flower stalk emerges from the rosette’s center looking something like a giant asparagus; some kinds produce clusters of flowers on side branches, while others have flowers packed along the stalk. After flowering, which may not occur for years,  the foliage clump dies, usually leaving behind suckers that make new plants.

These plants shrivel from serious drought but plump up again with watering or rainfall. Provide good drainage. Species listed here are native to Mexico, except as noted.

Agave americana

Blue-green leaves grow to 6 ft. long, and have hooked spines along margins with a wicked spine at the tip. Be sure you really want one before planting it: its bulk (to 10 ft. wide) and spines make it formidable to remove. After 10 years or more, a branched, 15–40-ft. flower stalk bearing yellowish green flowers appears. There are varieties available with yellow- or white-striped leaves.

Agave desmettiana

Grows 2–3 ft. high and wide, with gracefully arching blue-green to yellow-green leaves with few if any teeth.

Agave geminiflora

To 2–3 ft. high and wide, with narrow, dark green, pencil-thin leaves. Yellow flowers, touched with red, are held in pairs along a very tall spike. Tolerates considerable shade.

Agave parryi

Attractive, compact, cold-hardy species native to Arizona and northern Mexico. Thick, blue-green or gray-green leaves are tipped with sharp black spines. Mature size about 2–3 ft. high and wide; spreads by offsets to form colonies.

Sometimes called “artichoke agave” because the rosettes on some forms resemble giant artichokes. When about 20 years old, plants push up a stout stalk with clusters of yellow flowers. Thrives in sun to part shade.

Agave victoriae-reginae

Clumps grow slowly to only 12–18 in. across. The many dark green leaves are 6 in. long, 2 in. wide, stiff, thick, with narrow white lines and sharp black tips. Slow growing;will stand in pot or ground 20 years before flowering.

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