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Agave vilmoriniana

Octopus Century Plant, Amole

This spectacular, large, cliff-dwelling Agave from central western Mexico provides a focal point for any garden. Its soft, deeply keeled, light green to pale blue, ascending leaves are curved at the base and strongly recurved towards their delicately drawn-out tip, giving the plant a bold and unique, somewhat spidery appearance. When in flower, it produces a huge, unbranched spike that sports thousands of bright yellow flowers, followed by numerous bulbils that can be used for propagation. Seed however is rarely set, especially in cultivation. It has been popular in gardens on the Mediterranean for at least a century and will adapt to cultivation anywhere outside the humid tropics where no severe freezes are experienced. A. vilmoriniana has no spines or thorns and thus is one of the few Agave that can be planted anywhere, without ever becoming a danger to beast or man alike. In addition, it is easy and fast growing, needs hardly any maintenance and adapts perfectly to being grown in containers. Its leaves contain saponin, a soap substitute, and other substances that are believed to have medicinal properties.

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germination comments by our visitors
For general germination instructions click here.

Also see plant cultivation comments below.

Seeds from this species ...

... are easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
A germination mixture consisting of perlite, coarse riversand, peat moss and cocofibre in a ratio of approximately 2:1:1:1 was prepared by thoroughly mixing the various material. A drainage monolayer of very coarse gravel (5-8 mm diameter) was added to germination trays measuring approximately 300mm x 300mm x 120mm. The germination mixture was poured onto the drainage layer to form an approximately 60mm thick, airy layer. The layer was flattenend by shaking the tray gently, whilst avoiding compressing the mixture. The agave seeds was uniformly scattered across the surface of the germination mixture, and subsequently covered with a 4mm thick layer of coarse (2-3mm diameter) gravel. The bottom of the germination tray was submersed in stored rainwater, allowing the water to rise through the germination and completely wet the the gravel layer. The germination tray was removed and allowed to drain overnight. The tray was subsequently covered with a single layer of clingfilm (Purple coloured Gladwrap) and placed outside in a location that provided sparse early morning sun, but no direct sunlight for the remainder of the day. The prevailing average day temperatures was 35 degrees C and the night temperatures never dropped below 25 degrees C. After 10 days there were signs of germination with at least 40% of all seed having germinated after day 14. The clingfilm was punctured on day 10 and totally removed after day 14. Seedlings showed vigorous growth and all appeared visually identical indicating a species pure seed supply. A follow up post will be made to comment on the germination of the remainder of the seeds.
Submitted on 15/02/2010 by Etienne van Zyl

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Great fun as they started germinating only after 9 days even though it was really wet and humid here. I used moist commercial seed mix which I kept the top moist by spraying. They come out tiny but robust.
Submitted on 07/01/2008 by Tog Tan, Malaysia togtan@streamyx.com

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Most had germinated in 2 days from sowing using a quality commercial seed raising mix. Keep well lit, but no burning sun. I find adjusting them to high light gradually gives me the best results with this species.I settled the mix with a thorough watering and let it drain a few minutes. Sowed the seed evenly over the surface, then using a flour seive fron the kitchen sifted a tiny covering of the same dry seed raising mix,over to basically hold the seed in place without totally covering it. Watering for the next 2 months has been done using a misting nozzle which gently waters without moving the seed or flooding the seed tray. On warm bright days they were watered every 2 hours. Like a lot of Agaves the following 3-4 months after germination not a lot happens. By the end of 7 days they were showing the first leaf breaking through the cotyledon. After 3 weeks the seedlings had 2 true leaves.
Submitted on 27/03/2007 by GEOFF BREEN guzmadman@yahoo.com.au

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
These are the smallest agave seeds I have ever worked with, so be careful how you handle them. About 25 % germinated in 2 days, 50 % in 7 days. I sow onto a commercial seed raising mix that has been watered in. Then I sieve a tiny amount of fine seed raising mix over them. Watering is done with a misting nozzle whenever they dry slightly. Strong light, but not burning sun, is essential. Keep them away from rain and give excellent air movement. Over the moon to have this in my collection.
Submitted on 17/02/2007 by Geoff Breen guzmadman@yahoo.com.au

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

... are of excellent ornamental value
In QLD, Yeppoon on the Tropic of Capricorn in Australia they need very little care and grow normal.
Requires full sun and well drained with plenty of air movement. In a hotter climate it would need some shade. I water this species regularly and it has a good organic mulch around it. I planted 3 advanced plants onto slight mounds in my garden 2 years ago. Here they grow all year and are happy with a bit more nitrogen than most agaves. One of the most ornamental agaves. A weak grower in shade. Keep an eye out for scale damage on plants in poor condition, treat with pure soap and water solutiom.
Submitted on 17/02/2007 by Geoff Breen guzmadman@yahoo.com.au

win € 75 worth of seeds
by writing a plant cultivation comment about how to cultivate the plants of this species. Click here!

If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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