Agave Parryi Var Truncata
Artichoke agave or Agave parryi var truncata as it is also known bears more than a striking resemblance to its artichoke namesake.
The beautiful silvery-blue leaves of Artichoke Agave are short and wide oval shapes that appear to create a perfectly symmetrical rosette.
Each leaf has a long spine and the margins are lined with sharp, brown points.
Position Full sun and can withstand very light shade
Watering Water thoroughly but infrequently
Size Up to 3 Ft tall
Climate Semi cold hardy. Zone 12a (Min -12° F)
Propagate Off sets
Seasonality Evergreen, Winter Dormant
Toxicity Toxic to humans and animals
Agave parryi var Truncata is a medium-sized Agave that is easy to care for and semi-hardy down to a minimum temperature of -12°F. When positioned in full sun and in well-draining soil, it will freely produce offsets making it a great choice for outdoor ground coverage planting or in rock gardens.
South American in origin, Agave was used by native Americans for thousands of years as a source of food and drink. A honey-flavored liquid can be extracted and after fermentation can be used to make tequila. It can even be roasted and ground to create a sweet-tasting dried cake.
Artichoke agave Care
Artichoke Agave is most at home in desert climates, where it is used to full sun with possibly a little light shade. This plant is not suited to ongoing freezing temperatures and will not tolerate soil that remains wet for extended periods of time. Agave plants are much happier in dry winter conditions. If snow and rain are likely, cover your Agave over winter to prevent excess wetness in the soil that will cause roots to rot.
Artichoke Agave plants can grow to three feet tall and two feet wide.
They make an attractive ground coverage when grown outdoors. Make sure to leave enough space between each plant to allow for growth and for offsets to form.
As with most Agave plants, Agave parryi var Truncata is drought-tolerant and can withstand a little neglect if forgotten about and not watered for a period of time. Mature outdoor grown plants in areas with moderate rainfall may not need to be watered at all. Always and will certainly need less frequent watering in their dormant period of winter.
Too much water is a big problem for Artichoke Agave. They simply cannot tolerate soil that remains wet or even damp for too long. Wait for the soil to become completely dry and then using a long spouted watering can thoroughly soak the soil around your Agave. Thereafter, wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again.
You can buy fancy tools to check the moisture level in your soil or you can simply press your finger into the soil. If it’s wet, it won’t need watering and if it’s dry, it’s time to water. If in doubt, always underwater.
Overwatering that allows your Agave to remain in wet soil for prolonged periods will cause roots and leaves to rot. As well as wet soil, one of first signs of overwatering are leaves that are soft and mushy and yellow or brown in color.
In addition to a modest watering schedule, use well-draining soil or even dry, shallow soil and certainly one that contains plenty of grit or sand or is rocky. This will ensure the roots are free from excess moisture and help you better monitor the watering needs of your Agave plant.
There are plenty of ready mixed succulent or cacti soils available to use or you could make your own using 2/3 coconut coir or peat-free soil and 1/3 grit or perlite. In addition, sprinkle extra grit over the top of the soil and around the base of your Agave. This will further help with drainage.
Like other Agave plants, Artichoke Agave is monocarpic. Each individual rosette must reach full maturity before flowering only once. Shortly after flowering, the rosette will die. However, it will leave behind many offsets that will continue to grow until full maturity. Then they too will produce offsets, flower and so the life cycle will continue.
Artichoke Agave does well without any fertilizing and so there really is unlikely to be any need to fertilize.
Artichoke Agave is only ever likely to need pruning for aesthetic reasons. If you notice the leaves of your plant turning brown or yellow, then you may wish to trim them off. In the wild, however, they will just drop off.
Always use a sterile and sharp knife or pair of scissors when removing dead leaves. If the leaf is only partially discolored simply trim the leaf at an angle to just below the affected area. If most of the leaf is affected, remove to the base of the stalk. Avoid damaging other healthy leaves as you trim.
There are a number of reasons why the leaves of your Artichoke Agave may change color from their natural silvery blue to yellow or brown and it is worth investigating why this may have happened to prevent further problems.
Brown, wrinkled and dry leaves are an indication of under watering so once you have trimmed the affected leaves back, you should resume a more regular watering schedule but remembering only to water when the soil is dry. However, be sure to reduce the frequency of watering during the winter dormancy period.
Leaves that are soft, mushy, and yellow or brown are likely to be a result of overwatering. Do trim these back but also review the health of the roots and the moisture content of the soil.
The easiest way to check the roots is to take the plant out of its pot or container and our ‘Common Problems with Artichoke Agave’ section below will help you tackle this problem in more detail.
Artichoke Agave is a relatively slow growing plant and if you are growing it in a pot you will only need to repot it every 3-4 years.
Your new pot will need to be slightly bigger than the previous one and have sufficient drainage holes. Always use fresh well-draining succulent or cacti soil and once planted, water generously until water runs through the drainage holes.
Resume a regular but infrequent watering schedule and only water when soil is dry.
How To Propagate Agave parryi var Truncata
Since Artichoke Agave only flowers once in its lifetime, propagating from seed is a rarity. This plant will freely produce offsets and pups. These grow from the base of the plant making propagation from offsets relatively easy.
Wearing gloves grasp the baby plant between thumb and index finger and either pull it gently from the main plant or cut it with a sharp and sterile knife or pair of scissors.
Gently remove any soil from the bottom of the offset and allow it to callous off for a few days.
Once the cut edge is dry, place it on a thin layer of well-draining soil. Water when the soil has completely dried out.
Position in a bright spot avoiding direct sunlight.
Common problems with Artichoke Agave
Artichoke Agave is not only easy to care for and forgiving if under-watered, but it is also relatively resistant to pests and thankfully its tough leaves make it less appealing to the dreaded agave snout weevil.
Possibly the main threat to the health of your Agave parryi var Truncata is root rot. This will occur if the soil remains wet rather than allowing it to dry completely between watering. Unless you check your plant regularly one of the first signs of root rot is brown, yellow, or squishy lower leaves.
To check whether the actual roots are rotten, remove your plant from the pot and carefully brush off any remaining soil. Roots that are brown or black and soft and mushy are rotten and need trimming off.
Allow the cut roots to dry before repotting with fresh soil in a clean pot. Resume watering your plant, but much less frequently, and always ensure the soil is completely dry before watering.