Plants can do some spectacular things, and the dramatic process when agave send up their flowering stalk, definitely qualifies. Yesterday, I noticed that my octopus agave (Agave vilmoriniana) had begun to send up its fleshy shoot. 

I must confess that I had mixed feelings about it. My first reaction was excitement in getting to view the impressive growth of the fleshy stem and the flowers that will follow. But then, I felt sad that this signaled the beginning of the end for my octopus agave. 

You see, this agave is the ‘grandbaby’ of the first agave that I ever planted, back in the late 1990’s, making three generations of flowering agave in my Arizona garden.

Eventually, that agave flowered, and I harvested one of the babies and planted it in a pot. Several years later, that octopus agave went through the same process, and I collected two babies.

The two siblings started out growing in a pot, and when they got large enough, I transplanted them out into the garden.

One was planted in a corner but had a short-lived stint in the garden as construction near the wall meant that it had to go.

Its sibling did great in its new spot in the front garden when it was planted in 2010, and now it is getting ready for babies.

The tiny baby agave are barely visible, and the stalk will grow several inches a day.

Octopus agave don’t have a long lifespan and mine average eight years in the ground before they flower. 

In a few months, miniature octopus agave will cover the flowering stalk, which can be easily detached and replanted in the garden. It’s hard to believe that I will be planting the fourth generation of agave in my garden.

*I will keep you updated as it continues to grow and the arrival of baby agave.

7 replies
  1. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    It is sad to see a cherished plant die, but it’s at least you know that you’ll get to see it live on. A fourth generation is impressive! It’s a beautiful agave; I love its form. It definitely is reminiscent of an octopus.

    Reply
  2. Denise P
    Denise P says:

    That is so interesting! I’ve never seen an agave with “babies” like that. And so many of them. You could supply your whole neighborhood.

    Reply
  3. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    Sadness for sure but also enjoyment in watching that amazing flower stalk. I have a similar family of A. Desmettiana but only from pups. The mother tried to flower one year but winter got to it first.

    Reply
  4. Candace
    Candace says:

    Do you know of anyone in the Phoenix area who sells dried agave stalks? I was recently on a desert hike and noticed how many birds love to sit on the dried flowers on the stalks and I would love to have one for my backyard for a photo prop as I like to photograph birds. I think my neighbor dumped a couple in the alley last year but I didn’t even think to grab them at the time.

    Reply

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