Agave “Blue Glow”

Agave Blue Glow is a hybrid created by crossing agave ocahui  and agave attenuata. The work was done by hybridizer Kelly Griffin and first introduced by Rancho Soledad Nurseries, in Santa Fe, California in 2005. It is one of several such crosses Griffin has produced. Indeed, visiting his garden, even via Youtube, is an amazing experience.

Agave ocahui has narrow, yucca like leaves, and is frequently used for its fibers. Indeed, the word ocahui  means cord or rope. Its narrow leaves lack the sharp spines that characterize many agave plants.  It can grow to be three feet tall, and three feet across. When it produces a bloom stalk, which rises from the center of the rosette, that will be eight feet or taller, and the flowers on it will be a bright yellow. Once A. ocahui flowers, the parent plant will die.  A. ocahui is native to the Sonoran Desert in Mexico, especially the rocky mountain sides. However, it does well in similarly arid conditions such as in Texas and Southern California. The rough fibers are sufficiently tough to make a good scrubber.

Agave attenuata is also a large plant, with some of its leaves approaching four feet in length. A distinguishing feature is that it lacks the spines that appear along the leaf edges of many agave plants. The color can vary somewhat, but some strains are a glaucous green. It is sometimes called the foxtail agave because of its distinctive arching bloom stalk, which will be covered with tiny flowers. A. attenuata, like most agave, usually flower only once in the life of the plant. They mature at around ten years, but will produce many pups during their time of growth. Originally from Mexico, they were taken to Kew gardens and to Spain, and have naturalized in areas that have compatible climates.

Agave Blue Glow, Griffin’s hybrid, is a pleasing soft green with a thin red stripe running along the edges of the leaves, and a thin yellow margin. A. blue glow is smaller that either of its parent plants. Although it will produce seeds, it is unlikely to breed true. To produce offspring, the plant is encouraged to produce pups. It is less prolific than either of the parent plants, making it less likely to take over in a garden setting.

It can be grown in almost any well-drained soil, and adapts well to being a container plant. It will tolerate some cold, but not a severe frost. In Mediterranean or Southwestern style gardens, it makes a beautiful centerpiece for a bed, or a good choice for clustering several around a taller low-water plant. It is also a charming choice to accent a rock garden.

It is virtually disease free, although if your garden becomes a little damp, you might need to watch out for snails and slugs. It likes soil that is slightly acidic, but will tolerate almost any kind of growing medium so long as it has good drainage.

It will tolerate cool weather, but like many succulents, is susceptible to frost and extended freezing cold.






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