Agaves and Mangaves

We are very excited to see that we have at least 9 agaves so far that will be flowering in 2016.  Above is a recent photo of Agave victoriae-reginae where you can see the bud forming in the center where the leaves have become reduced in size.  While we lose the agaves after flowering, we are able to make crosses and create more new and unqiue agaves.  We also share pollen with plant breeder Hans Hansen, who crosses them with manfredas to create some amazing mangaves as pictured below, which we are pleased to introduce for 2016 Mangave 'Kaleidoscope' makes a superb container plant where it isn't hardy in the ground.  It should be fine outdoors from Zone 7b south. Mangave 'Moonglow' with its large dark purple spots is the smallest of the three. The foliage of all is incredible pliable unlike most agaves. A third introduction for 2016 is Mangave 'Pineapple Express'...the fastest growing of these three.  These will fill out a container in no time Read more [...]

Bluebell Giants – Our new agave hybrids

Agave x protoamericana     Agave salmiana var. ferox 'Bellville' One of the fun projects our JLBG research division has been working on for several years is breeding for winter hardy century plants. One of our latest crosses is between the two plants pictured above, Agave x protoamericana (blue) and Agave salmiana var. ferox 'Bellville' (green).  These are the two largest agaves that are winter hardy for us, and we were able to cross them in 2014.  We are offering seed grown offspring while they last under the name Agave 'Bluebell Giants'.  In most cases, our other hybrid agaves are larger and more vigorous than the parents, which in this cases could be HUGE!   These seed-grown plants have now filled our 1 qt pots and we'll be planting our first plants in the garden in spring.  If you like giant agave and love to experiment along with us, don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity. Read more [...]

30′ tall Flowering Agave – a pollinators dream

Agave Grey Gator in full flower at top with ladderIt’s been absolutely amazing to watch the swarm of honeybees, ants, and hummingbirds feeding on our giant 30′ tall flowering agave.  Here’s an updated photo of the blessed event from yesterday.  This weekend’s final summer open house is the last chance to see it in person.

 

Giant Agave flowering

Here's our research staff getting the giant ladder in place for breeding as the giant Agave salmiana x asperrima begins to open. And here's Jeremy, who heads up our Research Division, gathering pollen and making crosses.  Breeding agaves is a little different from breeding daylilies, iris, and hostas. We hope you'll join us during our summer open nursery and garden to see this monster in person.   Read more [...]

Giant agave flower spike ready to open

The flower spike on our giant Agave salmiana x asperrima is timed perfectly for our Summer Open Nursery and Garden.  We measured the spike on this 15 year old monster this morning at a whopping 29' tall.  The actually opening of the flowers should start around Friday and will continue for several weeks.  We hope you'll drop by for a visit during open house and take the opportunity to marvel at this wonder of nature.   Read more [...]

Agave ‘Grey Gator’ flower spike peaking @ JLBG

Here's a current photo of our spiking Agave 'Grey Gator'.  The spike began four weeks ago today, and was measured yesterday at 22' in height.  The bracts that surround the flower spikes are just beginning to unfurl, so we're probably a couple of weeks from seeing flowers open. This is the largest of the winter hardy agaves we've grown, and we still have some of our crop of seed grown plants from its sister seedling that flowered a couple of years ago...sold as Agave salmiana var. ferox x Agave asperrima. Each seedling will be slightly different in mature size...some a bit smaller and some even larger.  Don't miss your opportunity to try these for yourself.  Hardiness Zone 7b-9b. Read more [...]

Drimiopsis ‘Slow Fade’

Drimiopsis maculata Slow Fade in flower2

Also flowering now in our rock garden is Drimiopsis maculata ‘Slow Fade’…having come through our cold winter with no problem.  Hardiness is Zone 7b-10b, but it makes a great container specimen in colder zones.  I think this is one of the cuter plants we grow in the rock garden, and so very easy!

The best purple-leafed euphorbia

Most popular perennials in the market today are introduced and heavily promoted by marketing companies.  Every now and then, however, a superb perennial enters the marketplace without any fanfare or marketing, despite being superior and longer-lived than the patented, highly touted cultivars.  Such is the case with Euphorbia 'Cherokee'...a fabulous purple-foliaged selection we've grown since 1999.  Euphorbia x martinii 'Cherokee' may not look as great in a container, but it is absolutely incredible in the garden.  We hope you'll give it a try...if you like purple foliage.     Read more [...]

Giant agave flowering spike starting

From high above our Southwest patio garden, you can get a good perspective of our latest agave to flower.  This cross of Agave salmiana and Agave asperrima (scabra) is our largest agave to ever flower (7' tall x 12' wide).  We're expecting the spike to reach at least 25' before it begins to open in late June or early July. Here is a ground level photo from 2 weeks ago, when the flower bud first emerged. Here, the flower spike is 10 days old and nearing 12' tall.  The flowering of large agaves evokes both excitement and sadness....excitement that it will flower and hopefully set seed, but sadness that the parent plant will die soon after flowering.  Although it would take 100 years to reach flowering size in the wild, our plant is only 16 years old, growing faster because of our higher rainfall.  While they last, we are pleased to offer seed-grown plants from its sister that flowered a couple of years earlier.     Read more [...]

New Agaves in the 2015 catalog

  For those who love century plants, here are few that you'll find in the 2015 catalog that is now only 8 days from going live.  The first is our hybrid of Agave striata x Agave bracteosa that we named Agave 'Straight and Narrow'.  It's a small agave, with virtually no offsets.  We've had this in the ground through single digits F with no problem. Agave titanota 'Solar Eclipse' has been circulating among collectors for several years without a valid name, so we added one and finally have enough to include it in the catalog...not hardy outdoors, except in the mildest climates. Agave potatorum 'Eye Scream' is another century plant that has circulated in the collector market without a valid name.  This is truly a stunning century plant, we think you'll enjoy, although it's also only hardy outdoors in frost free climates. Read more [...]