Blue Agave plant pairings?

piranhafemJuly 18, 2013

Hello! I am in a new house, and making plans for gardening in the fall. There is a lone blue agave by the front porch that needs a little garden built around it. I am looking for suggestions for things to plant around it that have similar watering needs. What do you all suggest? It's a pretty small area and I'd like to keep the agave as the focal point, so I need small, low-growing things. Verbena, maybe? Blackfoot daisy? Or do those need too much water? It is on the west side of my house but far enough out that it gets almost full sun, with just a little shade in the morning. I'd like to avoid the spinier cacti, although I'm open to euphorbias, other agaves, etc.

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If you are in the low desert the west side of a house with reflected heat is a brutal area to grow anything. A couple of suggestions from the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association's Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert publication (free) are Desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata) and Candelilla (Euphorbia antisyphilitica).

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 4:02PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Fun discussion! I love JonC's suggestions a lot. You could also get away with some of the super low growing Daleas too. I have some Agave americana plants surrounded by sandpaper verbena and they're all on the same watering schedule ("schedule" sounds fancy, it's me slopping water on them every ten days or when I remember) and they've all done great. The only downside to the verbena is that it needs hacking back now and then, and can get some frost damage, and the leaves ARE annoyingly rough when they're dry. Portulacaria would like the same conditions too, although it get get zorched by a hard freeze.

I'm sure others will chime in with suggestions too. Let us know what you pick and how it works out. If nothing else, some low-growing Echinopsis cacti would work too.

Fun decision, keep us posted! Happy gardening!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 12:19PM
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Jon, desert marigold and candelilla sound wonderful. I'm in Tucson, so I'm not as low desert as Phx or Yuma, but yes this spot with the agave is a bit brutal.

Portulacaria is an intriguing idea. It's a small area close to the front door and would be easy to throw a blanket over on nights when hard freezes are expected. I'll have to look into that. And as much as I'd like to avoid lots of spines, I might have to tuck a couple of torch cacti in there, love the flowers.

Thanks guys!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 1:51PM
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