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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What's In and What's Out for Fall; An Agave Report

Periodically,  Loree at Danger Garden posts an Agave Report to update her readers on the current state of her agaves, quite a few of which are growing in the ground.  Loree loves these plants and speaks about them with an evangelistic fervor so infectious that even a set-in-his-ways curmudgeon like myself has fallen under their spell.  In my mind, that mitigates the guilt I feel for stealing her agave report idea for this post.   
 
A few of my agaves are sort of between in and out in the glass room that is only heated to keep temperatures above freezing, we'll call it zone 9.  

A few pots of noid pups that came from repotting their parents are also in zone 9 until the spring garden bloggers' exchange.  Just realized that there are quite a few sweet smaller agaves living in pots on the sills of zone 9 but they're out of sight for the season.

This sweetheart was given to me Danger herself upon the occasion of our first meeting  two years ago and has wintered here in zone 9 each year.    I think of the moss growing on the pot as the patina of authenticity rather than a sign of a lazy gardener.

Here we have some rather hardy souls most of which fared well last winter in this spot which is outside but gets no moisture at all.  We'll call it  dry zone 8.    I'm not totally sure about A. gentryi 'Jaws' and may move it to zone 9.  What do you think? Am also trying the Aloe polyphylla  there but may need to bring it in to dry a little as it was left out during the horrible downpours we had earlier and when I took it out of it's pot, the soil was dripping.  I potted it up into a mix of mostly pearlite and a little soil.  Fingers crossed.

Here we have some more  in zone 10, a heated room inside the house.  No one else was using this old  desk in the music room anyway?

And because the collection of tender plants keeps growing somehow,  I've taken over another room for the plants.  I suppose  one of the benefits of living in a large fixer is that the plants can take over rooms we don't use.

Agave americana variegata 'aurea'   fared well inside last winter and I'm thrilled to see all the pups coming up as this is one of my favorite children.

Mr. Ripple, the newest addition  along with some other friends who were fine in zone 9 last year but are getting a little large for the small space.

 
Here we have what's out.  Outside that is.  You may remember A. ovatifolia 'Frosty Blue' from an earlier post who will be slogging through the winter outside.  Hoping for the best!

 A. parryi 'J.C. Raulston pup also from danger that was fine here last winter and put on quite a bit of growth this summer.

Another 'J.C. Raulston' that I got on sale last fall and which lived outside last winter as well.  There's quite a crowd in there!

Agave weberi that became slime under plastic outside last winter but came back but is now covered with pelargoniums. 

A. bracteosa is pretty tough but, since it's still in a pot, it may come in this year.
So there it is, my first agave report. Thirty-two happy agaves in October.   Will there be as many in May?  Stay tuned to find out!  Sorry I stole your idea Danger.  Imitation is the highest form of flattery right?

27 comments:

  1. So your A. bracteosa stayed outside in its pot last winter? Trying to figure out what to do with mine this year. I hope they all thrive. The ones you've always brought in look quite magnificent. Well done.

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    1. Well, A. bracteosa had it's pot covered with some bubble wrap and got put in a warmer area of the yard right next to the house near a basement window. Loree's stay outside in the ground. They're pretty tough customers.

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  2. And to think at first I thought this was going to be one of those trend reports!

    I love that you "stole" my idea (and that you've got 32 agaves, now I kind of want to count mine, as it's been awhile) and think we can all benefit from our shared agave knowledge. I'd leave both A. bracteosa and A. gentryi 'Jaws' where they are unless a freak cold snap is predicted. Oh to have unused rooms in the house! That would be dangerous.

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    1. It's pretty sweet to have the extra space. Long ago, before the glass room had windows in it, I used the upstairs round window space to winter plants. They loved it because with the 3/4 circle of windows all around, there's plenty of light up there. Thanks for letting me steal your idea.

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  3. You do Loree proud with your copycat report...and even more with your impressive collection of spiky plants.
    About that pot: plenty of articles have given formulas for attaining "patina" on clay pots. Obviously a much sought-after look.

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    1. There's just something wrong about moss growing on the pot of a plant that requires very little water. Oh well.

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    2. We're PNWers...we can grow moss on anything.

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  4. Wow 32 agaves is probably more than I have here and yours even have actual names while most of mine are noids. Keeping the variegated inside is a good idea, so many in my neighborhood froze when we had a big freeze three years ago.

    We'll be watching in the spring to see how they fared.

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    1. Good to know about the variegated ones being less hardy. Quite a few of my agaves were given to me by Sally Priest at WeHop in the great agave rescue saga that both Loree and I blogged about. This is only my second winter with most of them and my first year to leave so many outside. It's a fun experiment.

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  5. I have a place outside where I could keep hardy succulents out of the rain. Could you recommend some that are hardy, please?

    Deirdre in Seattle

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    1. Hi Deirde,

      A. bracteosa and A. parryi seem to be he hardiest and most tolerant of our wet winters. Plant Delights Nursery carries some cold but not wet tolerant ones and if you follow the link in this post to Loree's agave reports over the years, she's got quite a bit of information about what's worked for her in her Portland garden. Jungle Fever Exotics Nursery close to Tacoma carries a lot of hardy agaves and has some 30 year old specimens growing in their own garden.

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  6. I use my east-facing concrete porch to overwinter some things, I think the concrete acts as a heat sink and generally keeps things above freezing, then I also have room in front of a S-facing window in my cool basement, but I don't have much in the succulent category, just an Echeveria and Aloe vera, oh and a Jade Plant. It will be time to bring things in soon... My plants are jealous that they don't get to hang out in a music room with stained glass windows.

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    1. Tell your plants not to be jealous. The music room is one of the bedrooms upstairs in our old house that hasn't been touched for years. Plaster cracking, some 80's textured wallpaper trying to disguise it, overhead light shorted out. The window is a broken Victorian that I got for a song with the intention of restoring it. Meanwhile, it sits in the window. What makes this the music room is that a practice piano is in there along with a ton of sheet music. Not really very glamorous, quite drafty and dusty. Your plants are much better off in your cool basement.

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  7. Love your state of the agave!! You have sooo many now! Ahh! Thats amazing. I have about 30 or so in need of being repotted and wintered in the unheated shed - I'd call that zone 8b :P. Agave medio picta alba comes inside as well as agave cornelius. But I leave out: agave bracteosa calamar, agave ovatifolia frosty blue, agave parryi huachucensis, agave parryi var parryi, agave parryi jc raulston, and agave parryi truncata. This year that will include agave protoamericana for the first time and agave americana variegata (might dig him up - still in the air on this one).

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    1. Thanks Louis! Great information. All that you've left outside have fared well for you in past years, right? As the collection grows because of pup production, I'll do more experimentation with leaving some of the duplicates in the ground.

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  8. Boy, you went from zero to danger quickly! Loree is a gateway gardener. You have some beauties in your collection--I love Mr. Ripple.

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    1. It's been fun finding them. I agree, that Loree will have us all ripping out our soft sweet leaved plants for prickly, spiky, scary, monsters before we know it.

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  9. Ogling at your collection Peter! And they do look fab against the stained glass windows!

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  10. Beautiful collection of agaves!!

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  11. That's a lot of agaves! Since you have a large fixer, you should dedicate one room to be your solarium! Then you could collect even more! :)

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    1. I'm actually hoping to someday have an actual greenhouse or have someone build a nice Victorian gazebo that would go with the style of the house but also be able to have glass placed in the openings and become a place to winter plants. Of course, when I win the lottery, I could simply move to where all of these plants are hardy in the ground and not worry about it.

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  12. So I'm thinking you must be one of the world's leading experts on Agave's by now. You sure have a lot of them to care for. And definitely "patina of authenticity". No gardener neglect noticed.

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    1. Oh Carolyn, I'm an Agave neophyte but have been given quite a few and have added some others for fun. Thank you, I'll go with patina, sounds much better than saying that I've been a total sloth.

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  13. A beautiful collection, I agree. A particularly mesmerizing shot of Frosty Blue. But crazy as it may sound, I like to touch my plants. Although not all feel as pleasant as Lamb Ears I can't imaging getting physical with an agave... unless one has 911 on speed dial :–)

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    1. I also love to touch my plants and agaves are quite smooth and delightful to touch in places. The plant demands that you respect it's personal boundaries, that's all.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.