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PlantFiles: Agave
Agave applanata 'Variegated'

Family: Agavaceae (ah-gav-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Agave (a-GAH-vee) (Info)
Species: applanata (ap-plan-AY-tuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Variegated
Additional cultivar information: (aka Variegata, Cream Spike)

Synonym:Agave pattonii

9 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
This plant is monocarpic
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 14 photos.
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1 positive
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Baja_Costero On Nov 23, 2014, Baja_Costero from Baja California
Mexico (Zone 11) wrote:

A dimorphic plant. The dwarf juvenile form is flat like in most of the pictures. (This shape is where the name "applanata" comes from.) After many years this agave becomes a medium-sized, erect and well-armed adult.

Longer, greener leaves (particularly in the juvenile form) are a sign of low light. This agave enjoys day-long sun as an adult in our cool coastal climate. It offsets profusely as a juvenile (thus the number of very young plants out there).

To get this plant up to landscape size, remove offsets as soon as they appear, provide strong light, and do not allow pot size to limit growth.

Positive palmbob On Nov 18, 2014, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

For many years this plant was assumed to be a dwarf form of Agave parryi aka pattonii, but that was incorrect. It is simply a variegated form of Agave applanata, which seemed odd to many collectors, as A applanata is ultimately an enormous plant, and these are always sold as miniature plants.

So then the misconception that it was a dwarf species persisted for many years as in its juvenile form the variegated plants remained very small for many years and grew at a fraction of the rate of the non-variegated forms... but with time these, too, end up being rather large plants, though it seems about only half the size of the non-variegated Agave applanatas. Someone recently asked me to delete the name 'Dwarf' from this plant's name, though I am not the person that named this plant as such. And though these plants do seem to be dwarfs relative to the non-variegated plants, they do not remain such forever.

This variation in growth and ultimate size is really not that unusual in the Agave family with several of the Agave americana variegates also being quite a bit smaller than the non-variegated forms (and even different shapes, ultimately). It may be that these variegated forms are not entirely pure species, or that the variegation gene alters more than just the coloration. That I do not know, nor has anyone given me a good explanation for the other morphological differences between variegated and non-variegated Agaves in some species.

Whatever the reason, this plant is a beautiful species and a great Agave for (initially) smaller gardens. It does tend to offset and spread out a bit will still very small, which is another reason, I think, many had assumed it was a completely different species, as the non-variegated forms do not seem to do this. But just recall that if you do plant this in a small place, with other small agaves, at some point in the distant future, you may end up having to dig it up and move to a place with more room. Just exactly how long, though, I do not know, as I have had some of these plants for over 10 years and STILL they are rather small... but growing a bit larger every year. I, too, will probably end up moving some of mine eventually.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Green Valley, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Altadena, California
Glen Avon, California
Long Beach, California
Reseda, California
San Leandro, California

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