Variegated Agave - A Century Plant Worth the Wait

Variegated Agave - A Century Plant Worth the Wait

By Published June 05, 2017 Updated July 05, 2022

In the wild, agaves are green or silver-green plants but growers have discovered many variegated agave specimens that collectors find irresistable. The leaf pattern of variegated agaves is usually a bi-color pattern with the middle of the leaf being one color (green, yellow, cream, blue) and the outer edge of the leaf being another color. However, there are variegated agaves with 3 or more colors in a single leaf too. Plant Delights Nursery maintains a large collection of variegated agaves for sale. Our owner, Tony Avent, is a certified variegated agave nut who trolls the dark corners of the internet looking for rare variegated agaves and pays exhorbitant sums for them. Then he turns around and mass propagates them so you can have them for less. Nice of him to do that!

Because these are collectors items, not every variegated agave sold by Plant Delights Nursery is cold hardy in our Raleigh garden. Please make sure to check the hardiness rating against your zone before deciding whether or not to plant your new variegated agave in a pot or in the ground.

In addition to its beautiful architecture, the agave plant is deer-resistant, drought-tolerant, and the flowers, although rare, attract hummingbirds when they do occur. Only a limited number of agaves, including Agave parryi and Agave americana, thrive outdoors in our hot, humid summers and cold, wet winters of the southeast U.S. but we have several selections of them including blue agaves and variegated agaves.

Agave Trivia : The Century Plant gets its name from the species that take 100 years to flower in the wild. However, in cultivation with adequate summer moisture, the agave plant usually flowers in 10 to 15 years. Agaves generally flower once and then die, a process called monocarpy.

Agave Trivia part 2 : Tequila is made from Agave. There is a blue-leaved species called Agave tequilana that is grown in the Tequila region of Mexico that is processed to first create a beer-like substance called mosto which is then distilled into Tequila. Salud!

Back to articles