Showing posts with label succulents. Show all posts
Showing posts with label succulents. Show all posts

August 2, 2010

Tequilla! Collecting Agave

The Agave collection grows, since I try to add a couple new varieties or species each year. There are so many forms available, that a collection just keeps getting nicer every year as new forms are introduced. Don't be fooled by catalog pages where many types look alike, once you get each in a container, they are all unique and beautiful when displayed outdoors in the summer. Long lived ( a century? maybe with some!) and easy to please, these  are indeed, succulents that don't suck. But they do prick you! So if you have small children or a new puppy like use, keep these plants in a safe location, for the spines are dangerous, and they can poke an eye out, or get jammed into a finger joint - don't ask!
 Agave americana is perhaps the most common of all Agave, but this white variegated form is particularly sweet. There are many clones, white white stripes, yellow stripes or no stripes, and all grow large so plan on a large, heavy tub which you will need to drag into the house during the winter, if you live in areas with deep frosts or wet snow. Many Agaves can handle some dry, freezing weather, but north of Atlanta, they are best grown as house plants or greenhouse specimens which spend the summer, outdoors.

April 11, 2006

Albuca spiralis

As if the foliage isn't attractive enough, the blossoms on Albuca species are just as interesting,

The tender bulbs that produce this plant are all easy to grow and highly collectible. They can be grown on either a sunny winter windowsill, or in a cool greenhouse. Albuca come from South Africa and are another bulb plant that is currently being reclassified by many taxonomists, once placed in Hycinthaceae, it is now agreed generally to be closer to Ornithogallum. Not that we all really care, as long as everyone agrees.

Albuca bulb in bloom

The plant grows in the typical pattern of many South African bulbs, dormant half the year when it demands dry conditions, and damp, if not wet conditions for the other half of the year. To add complexity for those wishing to master this treasure, the soil mix must be well drained. This is a bulb which cannot freeze, so one must grow it either as a house plant in a cool sunny window, or in a greenhouse. Look for Albuca on Internet cactus and succulent shops, even eBay will do. A few specialty catalog sites will also carry mature bulbs, as well as some rare seed sources specializing in succulent and cactus seed, or South African bulb seed.