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Agave Kissho Kan

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

I took advantage of cooler temp yesterday (101F) and headed to 2 local nurseries where I found these lovely Agave Kissho Kan. I found one at each of the 2 nurseries, but liked both so well that I bought both. I have not seen these before; a Japanese hybrid of A. potatorum. Although both plants are labeled the same, you can see a distinct difference in the coloring. Both plants were raised by Monrovia Nurseries and I am usually suspect of plants that are brought in from out of state, I have had good luck with plants from Monrovia.

Thumbnail by 48flash
Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

You can see that the Kissho Kan is distinctly different from a standard A. potatorum. This small potatorum I purchased a few weeks ago for a friend. I have a larger A. potatorum planted in ground in full sun. It takes the heat well but needs a little protection from frost. I don't know if the new hybrids have the same needs as the standard variety.

Thumbnail by 48flash
Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

The Agave Kissho Kan is said to only grow to about 12 inches in size making it an ideal agave for pot culture. I am thinking of planting the 2 new new ones in a bowl planter similar to the planters in this picture (sorry for the poor photography)

Thumbnail by 48flash
San Diego, CA(Zone 10b)

Beautiful plants 48! They will make great additions to your other bowl planters. Give em room to grow as they are prolific "puppers" as are most agaves.

Northern California, CA(Zone 9b)

I was going to say that too, mine have pupped! I have 2 also, much like yours with one with lots of variegation and the other darker. I was wondering if they may be different cultivars. Yours look so big, are those 1 or 2 gallon pots? I have had mine for probably 3 years and they grow slowly, mine were small to begin with.. Yours look so perfect! I would be so thrilled with them. I like Monrovia too except for the cannas that seem to me to be all virused. I do not understand why growers are still selling them in California. That is pretty much all I see are virused ones for sale. Though you do pay top dollar for Monrovia plants.

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hello Kell. These beauties had me hooked the moment I spotted them. I had not seen them offered here before, which makes me hopeful that's it's not because they are too whimpy for AZ. I am a big fan of agave in general and really I like the tight rosette form. And to be variegated also; well I almost sprained my fingers getting the charge card out. These are 2 gal size and were $30 each, but I had a gift certificate from Christmas at one nursery and a 20% off coupon at the other and my experience with Monvoria plants has been good. I can rationalize this another 100 ways but probably would need a new thread LOL.
In the third picture, there are a couple of small Confederate Rose agave waiting to be potted or planted. I have had terrible luck with Confederate Rose (A. parrasana) when planted in ground. I have a strawberry pot that is a death trap for anything I plant in it so I'm going to put the Confederate Rose in that. So I have a highly unsuccessful pot combined with and equally unsuccessful pant-----what could go wrong?!!!

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

The unglazed clay strawberry pot is probably the fastest drying pot there is. I have some Oscularia plants growing in one and they are not too thrilled about it.

I have the normal (unvariegated) Kissho Kan and a white variegated form. Your cream-colored plant is pretty cool. The variegated plants grow smaller and slower, I think. They all seem to enjoy summer water, which Mother Nature does not provide here. If you grow them too hard (I have learned) the leaves start curling up around the edges, especially toward the bottom. The Confederate Rose (which is a potatorum, judging by its flower) undergoes seasonal changes like that here, in containers and in the ground. Gentry calls Agave potatorum "taxonomically frustrating" because there is so much variation, but it comes from places with summer rainfall.

I also learned from Gentry that the name "Butterfly Agave", which applies to these cute little plants, comes from the Nahuatl "papalometl", not the Japanese, who gave us "Happy Crown" instead.

Check out the variegated Kissho Kans on this page.

http://gallery.plantdelights.com/Public-Agaves?page=2

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

PS for people not from Mexico... Nahuatl is the leading "national language" of Mexico today. It is also responsible for the words avocado (which comes from ahuacatl) and chocolate (which comes from xocolatl). One of my favorite words in Nahuatl is Manhatitlan, which means New York.

Windsor, CA(Zone 9b)

Here are two photos of my 'Kissho Kan'. It is a beauty and has given me a number of babies. Xuling

Thumbnail by xuling
Windsor, CA(Zone 9b)

And a second view. Different times of day with the sun and shade create different color effects.
Xuling

This message was edited Sep 3, 2011 2:47 PM

Thumbnail by xuling
Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Baja, I have read several on line discussions about the Confederate Rose agave and whether or not it is parrasana or potatorum. I have nothing to add to that discussion except the plants I have purchased as Confederate Rose were all labeled parrasana which is probably meaningless. However past Confederate Rose agave I have planted died quickly in the heat whereas the potatorum agave survived with no problem. Also, when I sit the 2 small Confederate Rose agave in picture 3 along side the standard potatorum in the same picture they vary in both color and leaf shape. I can't say what Confederate Rose is, but in my own experience, it does not seem to be potatorum.

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

The inflorescence on a parrasana looks very different from the one on a potatorum. The "Confederate Rose" flowers like a potatorum, maybe an isthmensis, but not a parrasana. The people mass-producing these plants for Home Depot (which is where I got mine) among other places labeled their plants wrong for a good while but I think they may have corrected that now. Here are a few pictures of the flower on the plant in question.

http://www.xericworld.com/forums/members/kelly-griffin-albums-agave-potatorum-dwarf-aka-confederate-rose.html

Acton, CA(Zone 8b)

Another point is Agave parasanna is usually a very slow plant to offset and once mature has uniquely ornamental rosettes which do not look like any of the A potatorum varieties (which there seem to be dozens). A 'Confederate Rose' is a prolifically offsetting plant so is certainly not an Agave parassana, nor does it even vaguely look like one. It looks much more like tiny, suckering A potatorum, but then again, A potatorum often doesn't look like A potatorum since it is such a variable thing. Though it still is unknown what exactly this 'Confederate Rose' thing is, it sure seems to have a lot of A potatorum in it... but no A parassana that I can tell.

As for how A Confederate Rose grows, it does seem to be a bit more prone to rot than most small suckering agaves.. I have one large mass that almost gets no water except for when it rains and it seems content with that, but my attempts to water others have ended up with dead plants.

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Nice plant Xuling. I assume that Kissho Kan has been available in CA for some time? Baja, my agave (except for several a. parryi) are young enough that I have not seen them bloom. I can only go by the growth habit I have seen and visually looking at the 2 side by side. It really matters not, I only want to know what to expect for growth habit and I have figure that out on my own. As is often the case with common names, "Confederate Rose" may be applied to more than 1 variety of agave.

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

In this case I think it could be the other way around, actually. Many different names seem to be applied to this 1 particular common agave cultivar, depending on who is bringing it to market. It pups like crazy, that's for sure.

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Palmbob, can you comment on the growth habit of Kissho Kan, can I expect it to behave like the standard potatorum??

Northern California, CA(Zone 9b)

Baja, you have Agave 'Desert Diamond' - a Kissho Kan' sport with wider edge? http://gallery.plantdelights.com/Public-Agaves/Agave_Kissho_Kan_with_wider_edge_at_Walters

I love that one though there are a few on Plant Delights agave gallery, I want but of course! WOW so many sports. I sure hope one of us gets a fancy sprot!

Those are a good size, Flash. I would have grabbed them too. While I have seen them here they are not hanging out at every nursery corner for sure. I too love the compact variegated, I see and I want. LOL

Redwood City, CA

My kisho kans were beautiful but each and every one rotted to death in winter.

Northern California, CA(Zone 9b)

Oh too bad. Mine are on my dining room table with the rest of my mini agave collection but of course. LOL I think Flora Grubbs here usually has them in small pots for sale.

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

Kell, mine looks something like that very nice white one, but I think it's just the regular common one that is being tissue cultured by the millions right now.

I don't usually think of agaves as rot-prone plants, so it's interesting to hear that some of these plants have been problematic in that respect. The smaller Kissho Kans and Confederate Roses here tolerate our very wet winters and enjoy summer irrigation (in moderation, of course).

San Diego, CA(Zone 10b)

Illig, how cold do your winters get? Agave's seem very tolerant of water but many don't like it too cold.

Windsor, CA(Zone 9b)

My Kissho Kan spends life outdoors in a raised bed so it has drainage, but we got lots of rain last year. I do cover it up for weather under 29 degrees. But it does tolerate lots of winter rain with good drainage.
Xuling

Redwood City, CA

I agree very much that agaves are not usually rotters which was why I was so surprised at the carnage. (In fact my experience is that agaves LOVE summer water and rich soil and are very tolerant of winter moisture.) However, probably because I didn't usually worry about rotting agaves (as well as plain old negligence), I did not move them to a good winter sun area. Consequently, I left them in a pretty shaded area during the winter which had lots of rain and intermittent light frosts. My sense is that it was the wet, not the cold, that led to their demise.

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

I think I'll pot these two beauties rather than planting in ground. That will give me the ability to provide spring / fall full sun, summer shade and supplemental water, and winter protection at least until I better understand how they respond to the AZ climate

San Diego, CA(Zone 10b)

Wow Illig, sounds like those agaves were not in a happy place!

Redwood City, CA

Zone10, No they were not in a happy place. They are in one of those difficult areas that get really strong afternoon sun in the summer, and then get little to no sun in the winter because the sun is hiding behind the house. The Agaves have been such doers that I was nonchalant and very careless. I was led astray by my stout-hearted medio-pictas which tolerate zero winter sun and super wet conditions with aplomb!

Fountain Hills, AZ(Zone 9b)

Quote from 48flash :
I think I'll pot these two beauties rather than planting in ground. That will give me the ability to provide spring / fall full sun, summer shade and supplemental water, and winter protection at least until I better understand how they respond to the AZ climate


Solid idea, I find it rather likely that A. 'Kissho Kan' is quite tender. I frequently see it listed as Zone 10b.

You'll find some fine (and not overpriced!) examples of A. parrasana at P&M, I believe he got them rather recently. This is a fine Agave, particularly well-suited to life in the Valley. There is nothing about Confederate Rose that reminds me of A. parrasana in the least.

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Yet another reason to head out to P&M. GermanStar, I agree that Confederate Rose is not A. parrasana (It's now labeled as Agave species by Altmans) but do you think it is A. potatorum?

Fountain Hills, AZ(Zone 9b)

Not per se, but like A. 'Kissho Kan', it may be an A. potatorum hybrid.

Brady, TX(Zone 8a)

Here's a link to Yucca Do's description --

http://www.yuccado.com/agave-x-leo.html

Fountain Hills, AZ(Zone 9b)

Just thought I'd mention how impressed I am with the ability of A. Kissho Kan to tolerate heat/sun. I have one (under) potted with several pups outside where it sees full sun from noon until sunset, and it's taking it like a champ. It's also extremely drought tolerant, and apparently needs no additional irrigation to mitigate this extreme exposure. It may look dainty, but this is one tough Agave.

Carmichael, CA(Zone 9b)

Those are beautiful!

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

I agree GS. My 2 Kissho Kan are in pots near the Palo Brea tree but they get hot hot hot afternoon sun which they take in stride. Not even a hint of sunburn. I water about once every 10 days to 2 weeks. Both plants are producing pups.

Fountain Hills, AZ(Zone 9b)

Too bad they aren't a little hardier, we need more Agaves that take sun like that. HD had 1-gal Kissho Kan for $5.48 a short while ago, so I now have one little guy in the ground. We'll see how it goes this winter before experimenting with the bigger one.

Carmichael, CA(Zone 9b)

Makes me want to run to HD immediately! Those are beautiful.

Windsor, CA(Zone 9b)

I double checked all of mine, the mother and the separated babies, and those growing in the direct hot sun do tend to fade a little. But the mother has new pups growing as do some of the babies. xuling

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