Agave thrives in So. California. A smaller variety called the agave victoriae-reginae, or Queen Victoria, is doing well in our garden. Planted about 8 years ago from a small 3 inch plant, it is well established at the top of my slope. Another planting is doing well at a very dry part of the side yard.
For my collection I am avoiding the agave because of the size some individual plants become, but in the neighborhood I came across a striking agave planting, also, on a slope at the side of a driveway. From a distance in the evening shadows and evening sun, the choices of color is well suited for the large area and the setting dominates and draws the eye. The curve of the stone wall is artful.
Space is essential because most agaves are large and will send out pups which you may not want or are not able to control on your own. One reason why I went for the smaller Queen Victoria agave.
The Queen Victoria Agave
Search Google Images for agave and you will see how this single species can be mass planted and texture will be the main showcase. The Queen Victoria plant produces white where the bigger agaves show marks and embossings on each leaf as it peels from the leaf before it as it grows. A buyer can even look for the plants that have naturally developed maxium white markings. The four plants I aquired will be planted over several years for staggered bloom.
Each leaf bares a nearly needle sharp thorn on the end. The leaves are rigid. The plant pictured here is 18 inches high. White repeated etchings are left on each stem as it grows. These markings are unique to each plant and can vary between very prominent to very light white lines.
Here is where I can offer a good suggestion. The plant in my yard is high on a slope. Next time my new Victorian Agave is going at site level so I can enjoy the markings that are striking in a mature plant.
This mature plant is placed on the area for cactus and plants toleranting full sun in the summer. As you can see in this picture taken November 2016 in SoCal, the plant has survived our six year drought conditions. No drip or water lines are installed in this area of our landscape. A good practice for saving water. Keeping an eye on the plants ensures that water is given only as needed. The Victorian is rather common to see at nuseries and a highly white marked plant will look good in a white pot that needs a plant.
Search for agave at Ebay for tens of choices to receive in the mail. Just be aware that sellers add agave to the title and the plant may not be agave. Double check with Wikipedia to verify the species. The agave chiapensis is the next agave I will be looking for. The spectacular flower I want to have and see in the leaf once. I have not bought seeds and may try starting from seed some day, but I will be looking for a potted plant.
There is collecting fun to pursue with agaves.
Two blue agaves. The photo at near left is the large americana with spears getting longer than three feet. Notice the etchings of the leaf pattern.
The clump of a very old single rosette planted many years ago. New plants have pupped and will ensure the planting will be around for years. One of the oldest is blooming at the top. Agaves bloom once with a tall spike and dry up because the energy of the plant has all gone into the bloom.