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Description

Blue Flame agave is a bold clumping plant that is a hybrid between A. shawii and A. attenuata. It has long and gracefully tapered blue-green leaves, growing 3-5 ft. tall and as wide. Leaf margins have fine teeth; a stiff terminal spine grows on the tips. Showy creamy-yellow flowers develop on 12-15 ft. tall arching spikes in late fall and winter.

This cultivar is a vigorous monocarpic plant that forms large groupings over time. First propagated in the 1960s, it has recently been discovered as a landscape and garden plant for mild climate zones in the Inland Empire. Established plants are damaged by temperatures below 25°F. A robust plant that makes bold landscape statements and requires ample space.

Water Needs

Blue Flame agave is well adapted to all parts of the Inland Empire in sunny exposures with normal winter rains and low amounts of summer irrigation. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains often provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates Blue Flame agave can grow with varying amounts of water; little supplemental water is needed during summer.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

 
0"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
0"-2"
0"-2"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Agave
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Rigid, Clumping
Growth Rate: Slow
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.
Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Blue green
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Season: Insignificant
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Rocky soil
Exposure Adaptations: Wind, Heat, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Rock gardens, Raised planters, Hummingbird plant, Grouped, Foliage accent plant, Container plant

Maintenance

Many agave species and cultivars tend to grow "pups." These are small new plants that grow off of the "mother" plant and are attached underground. Pups are often directly at the base of the mother plant, but can also grow some distance away, depending on the species of agave. These pups can be removed with a shovel at any time to preserve the appearance of the mother plant and to prevent overcrowding. Pups can often be either planted elsewhere in the garden, or rooted into pots for later planting or to give to someone else.

Agaves are "monocarpic," which means that after years of growing, they only flower one time, and then the main plant dies. Often pups remain, providing new plants to replant in the same place if desired. The length of time from planting an agave until it flowers varies and is related to multiple factors including growing conditions and plant species.

Over time, some of the lower leaves of agaves naturally die and dry out as new leaves grow. This is normal, and dry leaves can be carefully pulled off or cut with a small sharp saw or serrated blade. Be careful not to remove too many leaves, or you might lose the beautiful natural form of the agave and end up with something looking more like a pineapple!

The most important factor in keeping agaves as a low maintenance plant is to understand how large mature agaves of each species and cultivars will be (listed above), and provide for that much growing space in planting plans. Often people plant agaves which at maturity will be far too large for the space they are put in, but look nice when they are newly planted and young. If they do not have enough space to grow, many agaves become hazardous near paths and sidewalks when their spines reach into places people are walking. This leads to them having to be cut back on a regular basis, creating an ugly plant that is no longer low maintenance and is hazardous. Do things right: plant in the right place with enough space and enjoy a beautiful low-maintenance plant!

References

Associations

Plant Lists