Agave bracteosa 'Monterrey Frost'
Frosted Candelabrum Agave, Variegated Octopus Agave, Variegated Squid Agave
Agave bracteosa f. marginata alba
Agave bracteosa 'Monterrey Frost' is an unusual, variegated form of Agave bracteosa that grows up to 1 foot (30 cm) tall and up to 1.5 feet (45 cm) wide. It has pliable, unarmed, arching, narrow leaves with a sandpapery texture that are pale green edged with a creamy-white margin. It will offset sporadically once it matures. Once the species plant matures it has a up to 5 foot (1.5 m) tall, dense spike, bearing small, pale yellow to cream flowers with exerted stamens and pistils.
Photo via waltersgardens.com
USDA hardiness zone 8a to 11b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
Agave is not a difficult plant to grow. They're slow-growing and dramatic and will even thrive on a bit of neglect. If you're the type of person who likes to fuss with houseplants and water a lot, Agave is probably not the plant for you. If, however, you're the type of person who likes to set it and forget it, and you have a sunny window, Agave might the way to go. Be aware that some of the large varieties will eventually outgrow your room (unless you have a large greenhouse), and Agave can be aggressive. They have irritating sap and sometimes very sharp thorns that can cause injuries to small children and even pets.
In general, Agave do not need to be repotted every year. Most of the species commonly found in cultivation grow very slowly and will take a long time to outgrow their pot. It's also best to handle your Agave as little as possible, since they do not like to be disturbed. When you do repot, refresh the spent soil with new potting mix and make sure the plant is firmly anchored in its pot… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Agave.
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Many agaves are tolerant to light or even moderate frosts and may not suffer any serious damage from temperatures well below freezing. Wait for the frost to dissipate from the plant's tissues before examining it. Once the plant has thawed, you will be better able to see soggy or soft areas that were firm just the day before. Newly black areas can also be caused by frost damage. Watch your plants for several days, since frost damage can sometimes take a little while to develop.
A rare form of northern Mexican Agave, this architecturally interesting selection has ribbon-like, arching, narrow leaves that seem to writhe in the pot like a Squid. The smooth edged, sandpapery textured leaves are light green with wide, clear creamy white margins. It makes a stunning specimen in containers.
This is one of few Agaves that can tolerate some shade. It actually prefers partial to bright shade because of its light variegation.
Enjoy this long-lived plant for decades, producing offsets sporadically as it ages. At the end of its life cycle, it will produce a 4-5ft tall spike of fragrant, cream to yellow blossoms which attract hummingbirds.
The common name "Century Plant" is alluding to the belief that it takes 100 years to bloom. In reality, Agaves bloom after 15-20 years, and the main crown dies after blooming.
Origin and Habitat: Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar)
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Agave bracteosa S.Watson ex Engelm.
Gard. Chron. (1882) I. 776. f. 139.
Description: The Agave bracteosa is a solitary or clumping rosette up to 45 (60) cm in diameter, It forms clusters to 1,2 m across.
Leaves: Medium green, spineless and toothless both along the edge and at the tip, smooth and soft. The They are upright and recurved above the middle (fountain like) measure up to 40 long and 3-5cm wide near the base and taper to the tip. Variegated forms occur.
Flowers: The inflorescence is a spike of creamy yellow flowers, 1.8 m tall, coming in early summer.
Remarks: The Agave bracteosa does not always die after blooming, contrarily to most other Agaves. There has been some controversy to whether this species is always monocarpic, but most of the plants with mature flowers will dye, so it appears to be at least 'mostly' monocarpic.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Agave bracteosa group
Notes: Remarks: The Agave bracteosa does not always die after blooming, contrarily to most other Agaves. There has been some controversy to whether this species is always monocarpic, but most of the plants with mature flowers will dye, so it appears to be at least 'mostly' monocarpic.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons” Springer Science & Business Media, 06 December 2012
2) San Marcos Growers contributors Agave bracteosa 'Monterrey Frost' - Frosted Candelabrum Agave San Marcos Growers . Web. 17 June 2016.
3) Plant Delights Nursery, Inc. “Agave bracteosa 'Monterrey Frost'” . Web. 17 June 2016.
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Cultivation and Propagation: Agave bracteosa cv. Monterrey Frost is an exellent choice for growing in a container. Remains small and grows slowly, very slowly offsetting and forming a large colony of plants. A very elegant plant, this variegate deserves a special place in a semi-shady area of the rock garden, xeric garden, or even as an accent plant in the Mediterranean or tropical landscape.
Soil: As with most of the species, this one is not very particular about the type of soil it is in as long as it has good drainage.
Hardiness: It can tolerate extremes of both cold (Hardy to -8°C) and scorching heat.
Exposure: The variegated form can thrive in in half-sun, filtered-sun or deep shade and is more moisture tolerant than most agave but, the soil must be well drained. It grows particularly well under the shade of small trees.
Water requirements: It is drought tolerant although they will respond to supplemental water and is more moisture tolerant than most agave.
Landscape value: Agave bracteosa looks great as a potted plant, and can be placed on patios, near entryways, or in other spots where the plant would be highly visible. In the ground, use this beauty under the shade of small desert trees, mix into cactus and succulent gardens.
Propagation: Suckers (This Agave offsets freely and the pups can be removed and repotted or planted elsewhere) Keep a few however, for the main plant dies when it sends up its spectacular spike of flowers. Individual specimens are particularly beautiful.