Attention Grabbing Agave

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These two photos are from a recent visit to California’s wine country. The garden design styles couldn’t be more opposite, yet the Agave is the perfect specimen in each. The cool aqua leaves remind me of the splash a diver makes jumping into a pool. A refreshing burst. Except the leaves have sharp hooked spines along the margins so maybe that’s not a such a great visual.

Agave americana blooms only once and dies. Not to worry, it sprouts little offsets or “pups” to carry on the family name. I would love to grow one in my garden in Florida, but the sharp spines have deterred me so far, as well as its need to be the center of attention. It’s bold. When it blooms, the stalk can reach as tall as 28 feet. (8.5 meters) You’ll wait as long as 10-30 years for it to bloom so the excitement of that show would be right up there with your kid’s college graduation. It’s a major event. I guess if I ever do add an Agave to my garden, I’ll appreciate it’s slow beautiful growth, reminding myself that once it blooms, it leaves behind a big bare spot in the garden. Which then, of course, leaves room for something else new and bold.

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