It's time to read and vote for your favorite article in the 2013 Write-Off Contest! The four finalist's articles are featured in the May 13 newsletter and can be found through this link. Hurry! Voting ends May 18.
On May 17, 2009, baiissatva from Dunedin New Zealand wrote:
Zone 9b Coastal Otago New Zealand
This is certainly a stunning agave, one of the best ornamental succulents IMO.
I have seen quite a few from different sources here in NZ and I've noticed that although at first glance they seem very unlike each other, the colour range can often be attributed more to the thickness of the powdery leaf bloom than actual leaf pigmentation. A very 'bloomy' spec can look chalk white while a medium looks more sky-blue, and another in a very wind-affected position where the bloom has been scoured away can look much greener. Maybe some of the colour differences are in fact environmental instead of genetic- it's just a thought.
Takes hard, hard midsummer sun, and I mean HARD; our UV is off the scale and it doesn't turn a hair when other succulents are screaming and browning off.
Love those sturdy brown/white spikes though jeez, dont accidentally whack your leg on them like I did the other day. Mondo punctures!
The only down side to these guys depends on your level of aesthetic fussiness; I dont like hail pitting on such lovely leaves and by golly if you get a decent thunder front on it you'll have unattractive scarring for quite a long time, since it's not exactly greased lightning when it comes to growth. But I've found that if you can get a frost cloth or some layers of wet newspaper over it before the hail hits you can stop it being damaged. The same goes for a lot of succulents so give it a try.
If you're planting it out, unless you're in a very dry region, it helps to set it on a mound to prevent basal rot, which can be an issue. That said, mine had an abusive childhood at the hands of a dufus nursery and has loved the regular waterings Ive given it, turning on more and fatter leaves and blooming up nicely.
Looks like it would take a medium frost if kept dry. The leaves are hard and fibrous and this usually bodes well for a colder area.
On Dec 25, 2007, thistlesifter from Vista, CA wrote:
I am well-acquainted with a Botanist curator of one of the larger private commercial Nurseries/Gardens in the Southwestern US.
This man is respected as an Agave authority and has developed many garden quality cultivars from seed collection expeditions that he has made into Mexico's Mainland Deserts. He has collected seed from the type location of Gentry's Agave titanota, and has these seedlings growing in gardens of which he is curator.
I also have 5 or 6 different clones from these seed collections. All of them have unifying characteristics with titanota, but are quite different in appearance. Some are very grayish blue, others are pea-green, and couple posess a beautiful light sky-blue skin. The leaf-thorn armor is always horn-like, sometimes dark brown-black at the tip, sometimes light-horn brown.
Another thing to note is that these grow within bee and hummingbird range of Gentry's tightly described and localed type-titanota. One could go into the area look for plants exactly like Gentry's and call them titanota. Or one could look for plants in the same population that have more uniquely beautiful spination, armor, skin-color and form, that have unifying characteristics with titanota and call them titanota.
Bruce Bayer has made these kind of observations for many years in his extensive field-work and study of the genus Haworthia. Haworthias, due to their versatility and size are collected (and studied) to a much greater degree and in much more intricate detail than Agaves or even most larger Cactii. Yet if one takes a litle time and trouble to go to the desert and observe the diversification, it becomes obvious that without exception, such variance exists and that a continuum with unifiying characteristics throughout the range and on each end of the spectrum that defines all species does exist.
The differences in species are not unlike the variances that exist in the species homo sapien. It is interesting that man would attempt to re-specify each 'race' among a species of the plant kingdom, while considering it to be absurd to even think about doing anything like that to the species homo sapien, with its even wider diverse continuum of appearances and forms!
Whatever they are called, these forms are among the most beautiful and collectable of the Agave.
I will have to call my plants and their offspring titanota, because that is the only term I can come up with that makes any sense! Nobody else has been able to make a better suggestion!
On Feb 22, 2004, palmbob from Tarzana, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:
Attractive ghostly agave with wide, open crown of few leaves, large lateral spines and pale blue color. Makes a great accent to darker colored plants in the garden.
Kelly Griffin has repeatedly visited and studied the areas of origin for this Agave in Mexico, and is an experienced collector and grower of Agaves. He is pretty certain that this IS the same plant as FO76, as they are growing right near each other, just on opposite sides of a road.. and one side has many forms of this plant that easily blend into the squatter, greener Agave Felipe Otero plants. The bluer forms seem a bit more isolated at the edge of their range, with no green plants around, but some blue plants were found among the green populations. Additionally, seeds collected from blue plants will sometimes produce green and vice versa (and an interesting continum in between). It is now pretty clear (2010) that all these cultivars/varieties are indeed the same species, though the definition of species is not always that clear in some areas of plant taxonomy. FO76 will always be recognized as a unique entity but probably within the species Agave titanota.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Grenoble, Fountain Hills, Arizona Phoenix, Arizona Bonsall, California Vista, California