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Agave attenuata
Agave attenuata

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Zones 2B, 3A, 3B, 6-24, 26-32
Partial Sun
Minimal Water

Agave parryi

Cacti and succulents, Perennials


Sculptural succulents with rosettes of fleshy leaves. Impressive, sometimes colorful, flower stalk emerges from the rosette’s center looking something like a giant asparagus; some kinds produce clusters of flowers on side branches, while others have flowers packed along the stalk. After flowering—which may not occur for years—the foliage clump dies, usually leaving behind suckers that make new plants.

These plants shrivel from serious drought but plump up again with watering or rainfall. Provide good drainage. Species listed here are native to Mexico, except as noted.

Agave parryi

Attractive, compact, cold-hardy species native to Arizona and northern Mexico. Thick, blue-green or gray-green leaves are tipped with sharp black spines. Mature size about 2–3 ft. high and wide; spreads by offsets to form colonies.

Sometimes called “artichoke agave” because the rosettes on some forms resemble giant artichokes. When about 20 years old, plants push up a stout stalk with clusters of yellow flowers. Thrives in part shade.

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