Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Supported by


Some of my Favorite Agaves

The genus of Agave is a large genus of plants, with some 800+ species (or so I've heard). They are generally very drought tolerant, love full sun, but can adapt to fairly dense shade. As a group, few other genus of plants are as bold and beautiful as the Agaves. Here's a list of some of my favorites, all of which are in my yard (with the exception of Zebra, which is in a pot, waiting for me to find its perfect place in my yard).


Agave Americana (American Agave): The largest and boldest of the Agaves in my yard. At maturity, it is 6 to 7 feet tall, and 7 to 8 feet around. It has a very blue leaf color, and produces multiple 'pups' at the base, and when it flowers, also produces pups on the flower stalk.

Agave utahensis var. nevadensis (Nevada Agave): Our native Agave, found growing wild in the region. Small in size, reaching only 10 to 16 inches around and 8 to 12 inches tall.

Agave vilmoriniana (Octopus Agave): This species is notable for the soft 'double-s' curves to the leaves, and the spines are less of a problem than with most. It reaches a size of 3 feet tall and about 4 feet around.

Agave zebra (Zebra Agave): Approximately 2 to 3 feet tall and wide, this species is noted for the wildly twisted spines on the margins of the leaves, and a strong imprint on the leaf from the leaves that were inside of it during development. This is a remarkably beautiful and bold species.

Agave victoriae-reginae (Queen Victoria Agave): A smaller species, reaching only about 2 feet around at full maturity, and 12 to 16 inches tall. This species is notable for the oddly placed white stripes, giving a surreal and almost 'painted' look to this plant.

Agave geminiflora (Twin-flowered Agave): With thinner leaves than most, this species appears to be an almost a perfect ball of foliage. There are whitish 'hairs' positioned on the edge of the leaves, just a few, and spaced evenly in the interior, giving it an extra visual 'oomph'. It reaches 2 to 3 feet tall and wide.

Agave medio-picta 'Alba' (Variegated Agave): This species has a broad white stripe to the middle of each leaf. It is striking and awesome. It reaches around 3 feet in height and width.

Agave parryi var. huachucensis (Parry's Agave): This is the Agave I use most often in landscapes, both for new landscapes and renovations. It is very blue, and has black spines on the tip and margins of leaves. Very bold. It reaches 18 to 24 inches in height and width. The variety 'parryi' has narrower leaves, while the leaves of 'huachucensis' are wider. I prefer the wider leaved variety, though all are beautiful.