Mystery Agave

FrugalFanny(4)November 29, 2012

This is an agave (I think) that I bought from a greenhouse this past summer. I will post some close up photos as well for ID help. It is in a 4" pot. The brown fuzz at its base is the remains of a fern that was growing with it when I got it. I knew that couldn't be good. Anytime you see a fern and a succulent growing in the same pot, one of them must be really mad. In this case, it was the agave (until the very second it left the building with me, and the fern's one frond crisped and died, which I expected would happen). I removed all the rotted leaves and it's recovering quite well, but probably would do even better in a looser mix.

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FrugalFanny(4)

one of the close up photos

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 5:47PM
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FrugalFanny(4)

Close-up of the base of the plant, which looks almost a little bulbous-shaped. The plant is only about 4-5" tall.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 5:50PM
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FrugalFanny(4)

The last close-up photo. This one shows the tiny spines on the leaf edges and tips of new leaves.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 5:52PM
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GeeS 9b

I'm not sure, it's so unhealthy looking I just can't make it out. What it desperately needs is more light. Try to make it happy, then post a fresh pic after two or three new leaves emerge.

This post was edited by GermanStar on Thu, Nov 29, 12 at 17:54

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 5:53PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

You might have some rot happening with one of those plants near the base. It looks all pukered ....or some bug damage. I would dig it up and take a look at it while you are addressing the soil issues.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 5:56PM
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FrugalFanny(4)

Thank you GermanStar. I will get it under a grow light and try to get it looking better. It was much worse off when I got it, so it's been a slow recovery process that's still going on. I think it will continue to be slow since our days are already so much shorter. Hopefully I can get it through to summer, then give it lots and lots of bright natural lighting. Do you think it is indeed an agave, or is it too bad off even to tell that much?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 6:00PM
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FrugalFanny(4)

wantonomara: I agree, that one pup in particular is really sad looking, but feels rather firm still. It could even be thirsty, as the soil is very old and compacted, so a lot of the water just runs off the top. I will check out the roots when I change the soil over soon.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 6:03PM
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GeeS 9b

Yes, it is definitely an Agave. Good luck, I know it has to be tough to nurse it back to health in Zone 4.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 6:17PM
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FrugalFanny(4)

Thanks GermanStar, I was starting to think it was maybe some sort of sansevieria...regardless, I have high hopes for this little bugger! I have always been amazed by the tenacity of plants, and so enjoy rehabbing them:)

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 6:23PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

From what you say, the plant is planted in peat moss which is not good for C & S that need to dry out between waterings, because when peat dries out it becomes hydrophobic just like you observed. It is real hard to get it to accept water without soaking it in a tub of water. Most people on this forum recommend getting it out of the peat and giving it a fast draining mix with more mineral and less organic.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 6:23PM
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FrugalFanny(4)

wantonamara: It's hard to tell what it's in-doesn't look like peat, but is so old and degraded it may be, and the way it behaves with water is exactly as you described. I will be putting it into MG C+S mix ASAP. That is what I grow pretty much all of my plants in and they do really well. I will also be putting it under a grow light immediately and watering only very rarely, especially in the cooler winter temps.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 6:30PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

This characteristic happens especially with old peatmoss. MG C&C soil has peat in it. take some time and look into soil discussions on the form. If you use MG C&S soil cut it 50/50 with perlite, pumice, decomposed granite, expanded shale, crushed granite or some thing to give it more drainage.

Many will take a potting soil or native soul and use 30% - 70% inorganic mix (above suggestions). Some agave can use a slightly richer soil.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 6:45PM
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FrugalFanny(4)

Thanks wantonamara. I didn't know that had peat in it. I will look into other varieties and additives I can use on the forums.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 7:06PM
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cactusmcharris

Cut the MG with at least 50% perlite / pumice and you'll be OK - Agaves aren't that fussy. Of course, a better mix is out there, it's all depending on how hard you want to work to get it. As Mara said, lots of soil discussions - they're as numerous as the stars in the sky.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 7:20PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I have heard that MG had peat in it. Hearsay. Many people use it here but they do dilute it with perlites and inorganics. People have all sorts of ways of making soil. I mix it different every time. It really depends of what O have hanging around and what I can find in my area. I can't seem to find pumice here in Texas but I can find scoria ( red lava sand) and decomposed granite. Th DG is VERY cheap here so I use it a lot .

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 7:25PM
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