Agave montana comparison

wantonamara Z8 CenTexJune 14, 2012

I some how found myself on the search for the perfect (to me ) montana. It was a strange process of education. I bought my first montana because I saw some habitat photos and this pot said it was it and I had never see IT before. I did not know what a baby Agave montana looked like. I liked that it was a cold hearty and somewhat moisture tolerant species. I did not know what chacteristics to look for or what made for a good montana. I learned by buying.

This first photo shows my first normal A. montana in the background and 2 A. montana baccarat in the forground. See there is differences even in the Baccarat which is supposedly a intergrade of Montana with Gentry. One sees the recurve of the leaves ( a gentry characteristic) in the dark green gack ground and the glaucus leafed baccarat but the more yellow greenish baccarat has a jutting form.

Here is a topview of 4 baccarats.....Another whiter blue green baccarat. Look at the different shape of the leaves. Pretty variable. Montanas are said to have wide cupping leaves. It came in the same pot as the blue grey one as if it was a pup. But Montanas are not normally puppers. It was a separate seedling. Again Agave Gentry and Montana are on the same mountain. Gentry grows below Montanas. Montanas are generally hardier.

Below I will show you examples of the recurved leaf ( gentry characteristic) and the stalwart outward profile that I prefer. I want a big artichoke looking thing.

Doesn't this last one have gorgeous needle marks too. Nice wide leaves, long red terminal spikes, Yummy..... Yes I play favorites

Next one is the one that was sold to me as a miniature A. Utahensis. and fool that I was, I bought it.The leaves were a greyer lighter green, thinner at the time, with white marginal teeth and spikes, but it still didn't look like an eloborispina but I didn't bat an eye. It has totally changed and is developing a very wide fat leaf shape, dark green, great markings.

Here is it flanked by some A. utahensis elborespina that it was supposed to be. LOL.. Talk about Mutt and Jeff. They could not be more different!

Below are some top views of the rosettes so you can see how different the leaf shapes can be. Notice the distinct narrowing at the base of the fourth one.

Last but not least, what are the teeth like. The last one I got from Starr nursery and I asked for big teeth and even though he and his brother are tiny tikes, they have a set of distinct chompers on them. When I got them , they were all white and now they are getting color and the leaf color is darkening up.

He is definitely a beautiful agave in the making. He has the distinctive markings, color, great teeth and the leaf shape is broadening out. I just whish he was bigger. I am not much for dealing with babies. Small things get lost.

I have come a long way in understanding this species. I whish Iknew more at the beginning but learning it on the run was fun too. . I hope this is helpful. I am still scratching my head and watching them change.

One day , they will live here.

and here

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Gorgeous agave!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 10:10PM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Incredible variability...but I love them all. I am officially obsessed with all things agave.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 12:11PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I did observe that some of the agave came with huge roots compared to their uppers. The nice large blue Baccatta did not have them, but they were growing in the most humus-sy clay I have seen in a while. The others were grown hard that had the behemoth roots. I suspect the Baccatta is a tissue cultured plant that was pushed and mainlined fertilizer. I probably should wean it off the hard drugs slowly.

Yes I am addicted to agaves and I am lining up my next variety for obsession. It is a toss up between Agave potrerana and a vist back to Agave ovatifolia. My two large ones need company so when they bloom there is one to keep the show going. I think you see them beyond the trees in the last photo. There are some new ones with very distinct different varieties of the Ovatifolias. They are crenelated. I am developing a soft spot for The A. utahensis eborespina. They are hard to find good varieties.

I think all the varieties experience variability. I have three small A. coloratas that range from blue white to a striped more grey green.

All this makes me buy in batches, looking for variability.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 1:28PM
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valeriev(z9 Bay Area CA)

"Incredible variability...but I love them all. I am officially obsessed with all things agave."

Me too Tom. aka Tequila! ;)

Beautiful Agaves! Thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 2:26PM
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Wow, your going to have fun id'ing all those! The one from Greg is true to form. And how beautiful is that going to be.

Love your Baccarats, mine is only 6" across. But hopefully being in the ground for a year now it will start to grow soon!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 1:15AM
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hijole(9 Sunny California)

Wantanamara, Fest your eyes on this beauty, I believe It's in the Agave family and isn't she gorgeous.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 3:11AM
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hijole(9 Sunny California)

One other member of the family which is very common but looks nice with the back drop.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 3:22AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Yes we get the large varigated americanas here in Texas also. They are pretty graffic. The Agave montana is fairly new to cultivation. Feast your eyes on the adults of the clan in habitat. It is worth your time to click through these habbitat pictures. You will see why I have gone a little gaga over them. If the page comes up with the ? marks all over where the images are supposed to be click the question marks and that image will pop up. This page is from Starr Nursery and he just wrote a great book on Agaves and the Agave montana graces the cover.

Here is a link that might be useful: Agave montana

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 8:56AM
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Wantonamara, I really enjoyed your observations about A. montana. It's interesting how variable the montanas can be from the same seed order. Here are some photos of some of mine in the ground and in pots:

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 11:07AM
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Montana again

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 11:13AM
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Last pic of one in the ground.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 11:15AM
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And a few in pots.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 11:17AM
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For some reason, I couldn't figure out how to show the pics all in one posting.

Those other agave (?) photos are beautiful too. The reason for the ? is that I'm not sure what Greg's first plant is?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 11:25AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

OOOH, you have some beauties. Yummy!

Linda, it is easy, go to your picture provider. I use Flicker pro. Look for a way to share or anything that mentions HTML code.. Flicker has "SHARE" and when I click it gives me several choices I Grab the HTML/ BBC code. Ths site uses HTML code so I select that. Other sites might use the BBC code.. Copy and paste or drag it to the text of your message. This way you can do multiple pics.

For thatlittle bit of instruction you MUST pay some A. montana seed. All kidding aside. Where did you get your seed.I like your agave. I have seen so many mediocre ones.

- Mara

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 11:51AM
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Thanks for the posting tips Mara. I will do it that way next time.

I know you were just kidding, but I would happily send you some seeds if I had some. I actually have more plants than I can manage, and it's too bad that the border complicates things when it comes to mailing plants. I bought my seeds from several years ago and they all germinated. I actually lost the largest montanas (at the time)when we had a relatively nasty winter a few years ago and I left about ten of them outside in pots. In my winter soggy climate, I put a rain cover (large plastic bottle) over the ones in the ground the last few years to protect them from the rain and so far, so good. I think people are finding that this agave is not quite as tolerant of the combination of winter wet and cold as originally thought, although from what I've read, some people have had more success than others. You might enjoy this article by Paul Spracklin, the collector of the montana seeds.

Here is a link that might be useful: Searching for Hardy Agave

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 1:16PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Some gorgeous, albeit vicious-looking, agaves you have there, Mara!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 10:18PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Those agave are sweet, my man!!!!

Linda, I would like to ask how you germinate your agave seed since you had such good luck with them. What time of year,how warm it was,how long yours took?? I am pretty rough with seeds and do it fairly bassically.

I have read Pauls S's. article several times a while pack. I hear him on a certain form and I have read about his trip to mexico and his time on "the mountain of montanas".

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 10:37PM
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Mara, I really didn't do anything special. I find that agaves (and yuccas) are very easy to start from seed. I have started them at many different times of the year, including the dead of winter. In the winter I put seedlings under flourescent lights because of the short and grey days. I usually start by soaking the seeds for a day or two or until they sink. I then put them in small community pots partially (mostly) covered with plastic to keep the humidity up. Sometimes I've put them up high on top of kitchen cupboards where it's warmer, but not always. Other times I've started on a table under flourescent lights. I sow the seed close to the surface and cover the pots in a thin layer of grit/sand. I spray the surface lightly with water most days, so it doesn't dry out. They often germinate in under one week, at which time the plastic covering is removed. Of course, there are other effective ways to start them, but this procedure has never failed for me.

Good luck with your agave seeds!! :-)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 10:47AM
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