In the past we have looked at agave geminiflora and agave Victoria regina within our Plant of the Month series, this month we have chosen another agave which is not well known in this country, and is commonly known as the Swan’s Necked Agave.

 

Early in 2010 we shall be presenting another member of the large, diverse agave family.

The agaves are a family of around 250 species found in the wild in Mexico, North and Central America.

All agaves share meaty succulent-type leaves which grow in the form of rosettes.

Many agaves are monocarps, which means they only flower once and then the plant dies.

In Mexico alone over 125 different agaves can be found, and today’s plant, agave attenuata, is one which possesses the most elegant, soft leaves.

Agave attenuate or Swan’s Necked Agave gets its common name from the unique flower it produces which resembles a swan’s neck.

Its homeland is Central Mexico where it can be found growing in the wild on rocky mountains at heights of 1800 – 1950m.

It is a long-lived plant which produces the typical meaty leaves in a rosette formation.

The bluey-green leaves are 30 – 60cm in length and 10 – 20cm wide. These soft leaves are wider at the middle and, as with some other agaves, they are free of thorns.

The flower stem can reach 350cm in length, and gradually bends towards the ground earning it the ‘swan’s necked’ name.

In America it has been compared to a fox’s brush and the common name for the plant in the USA is, therefore, Fox’s Tail Agave.

The flowers which open on this stem are cream or yellow.

It is not frost hardy, will withstand temperatures down to -30C for a very short time, and for this reason in this country it can only be grown in certain areas of the Aegean and Mediterranean, where in some places, a favourable microclimate will even allow for it to be planted outdoors.

Propagation is from splitting off ‘baby plants’ which are produced around the parent rosette, or from seed.

In dry places watering once per week is sufficient.

In direct sunlight its leaves may start to yellow, but watering, or a lessening of exposure to the sun, will soon turn them back to green.

In landscaping terms, they look best planted in groups or in rows as the edging for a patio.

They can also be planted singly or in small groups within rock gardens.

The Palm Centre, Koycegeiz

For a wide range of special plants visit the areas best nursery, The Palm Centre at Köyceğiz.

It is open daily between 1st June – 31st October but you can visit at any other time by appointment.

Access to plant sales is free but a fee is payable to look around the extensive nursery.

Just ring or email (English is spoken):

E-mail: : palmiyemerkezi@ttnet.net.tr

Tel : +90 252 262 28 92

Fax : +90 252 262 51 61

Website : http://www.palmiyemerkezi.com

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