Cactus and Succulents forum: What do I have

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Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Mar 9, 2017 8:19 AM CST

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I was wondering what kind of agave it is and how big it will get ? How do you care for it? I got it for free from a nice friend at my work
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Mar 9, 2017 6:57 PM CST

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I'm guessing maybe parryi, but maybe @mcvansoest can help you with a species. It is not a run of the mill agave.

It looks like you could put it in a much bigger pot, like maybe the width of the plant. Wider than deep. Use a soil with lots of rock (like half pumice, perlite, whatever). Water when dry, which might be weekly indoors in a very bright location (hours of daily sun), or half that often in a less bright place. The more light the better indoors, just be careful when you take it outside in the spring not to shock it with direct sun right away. Start out in bright shade or morning sun, anything more than that and you are likely to experience an adverse outcome. Smiling

[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Mar 9, 2017 6:57 PM (+)]
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Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
Mar 10, 2017 12:09 AM CST
I think Baja is correct, it looks like an indoor/low light grown Agave parryi var. truncata.
With more light especially sunlight it should become more upright and go a little more grey than green.

These plants will grow well in pots - but need well draining soil as most A. parryi's do not like to be super wet for very long. Unless you continuously pot the plant up as it grows it will not reach its regular largest possible size, which can be quite impressive. Like Baja suggests, a bigger pot would be good for your plant - find some cactus/succulent soil and mix in some perlite or, if available, pumice, which will help with drainage. Make sure that the plant is completely dry between waterings and as Baja suggests keep in the brightest place possible inside. Come (late) spring when nights are warmer bring it outside and acclimatize it to as much sunshine as you can provide - but again like Baja suggests do it slowly otherwise it might get pretty severe sunburn. When kept dry these plants can take a good deal of cold so if you can protect it from rain you might be able to keep it outside quite long, or bring it outside pretty early.
These are not super fast growers, but in the right conditions and regularly fertilized (in pots I usually add some miracle grow time release rose and orchid (I think that is what it is called) granules to the soil when mixing it up, which makes many of the Agaves, Aloes, and Cacti I grow pretty happy, and stops me from having to worry about a liquid fertilizer too often), these plants can grow at a good pace. One thing to keep in mind is that under potted A. parryi's often start making offsets rather than putting energy in growing the main plant larger, though it is something that will probably happen to the plant anyway even if it is regularly potted up, but it might happen less quickly.

Here is a link to a set of photos of A. parryi var. truncata in a variety of settings - compare your plant to the picture of the plants in the nursery, I think those look very much like your plant:
http://www.agaveville.org/view...
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Mar 10, 2017 9:43 PM CST

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I remember after I potted up my A. parryi truncata offsets I carefully counted the new leaves as they appeared, and I was seeing about one new leaf a month at the beginning, which struck me as pretty good, but it's obviously slow by most standards. You might see that kind of growth in a decent sized container. There will be a tradeoff in zone 4a in allowing the plant to reach its full potential size in a container. That container will become increasingly harder to move around with the changing of the seasons. I would imagine a sort of sweet spot around the 3 gallon mark (10 inch pot), eventually, where the plant can look reasonably full for a while without being impossible to overwinter.

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