Saturday, November 17, 2007

Twin-Flowered Agave

Agave geminiflora

Unlike most other Agave species, the Agave geminiflora, or Twin-Flowered Agave, does not produce offsets. Once it blooms it will die, but that may not happen for ten years or so. Trying to predict when an Agave will bloom is like trying to pick a good penny stock. Sometimes they bloom when quite young, other times decades pass, but around ten years seems to be average.

This Agave gets about three feet high and wide, and has a beautiful rosette shape. The dark green leaves are leathery and only about ½ inch wide. When it sends up a flower spike, the spike can reach 18 feet high. A. geminiflora gets its name because there are two flowers at each bract along the spike.

The A. geminiflora takes full sun, but it is somewhat frost sensitive. It is hardy in Phoenix, but in areas of USDA Zones 9-10 that have colder winters, it must have frost protection. For that reason, it is popular as a container plant. The four plants I have are in large wok planters that rest atop four courtyard entry pillars. Since they need very little water, they are ideal plants for their location.

As the A. geminiflora ages, it may form a short trunk, but that doesn't always happen. Most mature specimens maintain the rosette shape and look like a round spiky ball. They are quite striking in their natural form. Unfortunately, they are frequently the target of landscaper’s loppers. They remove the bottom leaves and artificially form a trunk. After a few trims, the perfect rosettes look like miniature palm trees.


Julie said...

Do you prefer to let them stay natural, or trim the bottoms to get them looking like small palm trees??? Sounds like they would be very cute!!!

nikkipolani said...

How very interesting about their length of life. So people who plant them know they'll just replace the plant when that happens. Very nice shot, too!

kate said...

I like the shape of this Agave. It is really striking ...I hope it doesn't bloom for a bit.

chigiy at Gardeners Anonymous said...

I saw lots of different types of agaves in Peru.
I love them for their shape and structure.

Anonymous said...

How do I grow from seed?

Anonymous said...

I had two in my Tucson, Az garden and they both bloomed this past winter, I only had them for five years! Beautiful while they lasted. :(