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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.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Learn From My Mistakes #2,575 - Plants tend to grow larger than they are in nursery containers.

A few years ago, I planted three Yucca 'Bright Star' and an Agave ovatifolia in a little heart-shaped raised bed that could never hold enough water to support the annuals I kept trying to grow in it.  At that time all were in gallon pots and I really didn't expect the Agave to survive its first winter.  One of the yuccas kicked the bucket, one remained relatively small and the third took off like nobody's business.

The Agave not only survived that first winter but three more as well and grew beyond my expectations. Now the plants have become a bit too close.  It was, after all, an experiment to see if the agave would even live through our wet winters. If it did, it wouldn't get very big in our climate, right?


I'm going to have to move the yuccas once the weather warms up a bit.  It shouldn't be a problem as they seem to transplant well.


We all love it when our plants "knit together" but this is a little too cozy.

The smaller yucca is almost entirely covered by the agave.  The  combination of these plants is delightful and I hope to simply move the yuccas a bit further out.  Who knew that Agaves would grow so quickly?  Oh well, live and learn.
One would think that the gardener would have cleared all of these fallen leaves away by now.  Some people are just so neglectful.

17 comments:

  1. Live and learn... this is why gardening never gets boring. It’s a never-ending learning experience. ­čśŐ

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  2. First of all, this is an inspired combo. Truly stunning.

    Secondly, I actually like how A. ovatifolia and the larger 'Bright Star' have grown together. However, I agree. The larger 'Bright Star' needs to be moved because A. ovatifolia still has some growing to do.

    Thirdly, your post is a harbinger of things to come in my own garden :-)

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  3. Wear some chain mail. I hope everybody survives, both you and whatever plants you dig up. Your Bright Stars look so much better than mine ever did when I had them in the ground. Of course, after I dug up my three, I ended up with a fourth growing once again where one had been, because that's how Yuccas are. I hope when you dig them, that you get all the bits and pieces, otherwise you might just end up with the same situation in a few years.

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  4. Planting too close... an ongoing issue with me too. I try to imagine the plants size 2-3 yeas out but I have to admit it's not always working. It is difficult to see an empty spot and not stick another plant in it... I hope to see this striking combo again after the move.

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  5. Funny how we all do that exact same thing. We can picture how great plants will look together as they grow, but we never seem to think about how big they will actually get. We've taken photos of our garden since we started making it and I am amazed sometimes when I see what things looked like when they were newly planted. As for the leaves, I just went outside with all the evergreen branches from my holiday decor trying to cover last year's new plants. Probably a bit late but I figure it still may help and anyway, what else would I do with a pile of evergreen branches in Feb.?

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  6. That is a striking combination in the front of your house. I hope the move works out for all concerned.

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  7. Hahaha...I'm laughing WITH you Peter. Even with two acres, I *still* plant things waaay to close to one another. Call me the impatient gardener. And as Loree says, I don't envy this particular spiky task.

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  8. It is a winning combination, I agree. The agave has done very well by the looks. You're going to have to don chainmail to tackle this job. ;)

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  9. I'll take problems caused by too much success any day. All my Agave experiments turned to mush.

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  10. Agaves do grow more quickly with regular water! I'd like to say that keeping them thirsty is a conscious strategy here but it's not...I hope the Yuccas do indeed transplant well and that you don't get stabbed by anything in the process.

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  11. LOL. That last photo is too funny. Great combination, though. I think you were thinking right: The combination looked great at the beginning, and now you can make a little adjustment and it will look great again!

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  12. I thought yuccas were difficult to move with those big roots they send down. Lucky you with an Agave that thrives. It deserves a space of it's own. There is some neglectful gardeners in our garden too if you go by leaves lying about. You can always blame it on the neighbors leaves that blew into your garden. :)

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  13. I always, always cram too many plants into any given space. Keeps me busy moving them in a couple of years.

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  14. Did I read somewhere that yuccas are best transplanted in fall? Agree with Lisa about the tap roots: dig deep!

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  15. You're awfully optimistic about moving those yucca, I'd take one look at all that pokiness and decide it might be more interesting to see how it all grows together!
    On the other hand I just ordered a few new cactus. Opuntias with spines that you can't even see well enough to pull. Obviously any of my advice should be taken with more than a few grains of salt

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