Agave from Cold Hardy Cactus

Fort Collins Nursery has a wonderful collection of agave from Cold Hardy Cactus.  The collection was compiled by renowned Colorado nurseryman and propagator Kelly Grummons, and contains the most garden worthy species and varieties of agave from across North America. 

Agave is a wonderful genus of succulent plants, mainly from the American Southwest and Mexico. They feature succulent leaves that end in sharp points and blue-green or grey-green foliage.  Most agave varieties eventually flower but take at least seven years to do so. The plant typically dies once they have bloomed but at that point will have produced many pup plants which grow in their place.

There are many practical uses for agave in landscapes and gardens. A large agave makes a nice sculptural focal point and smaller varieties can be featured in patio containers or rock garden settings. They make a nice border grouping and their hard edges provide texture and contrast with softer plants and grasses.

Here are several great varieties to consider:

Parry’s Agave (Agave parryi v. parryi)

  • Height: 20-24”
  • Width: 2-4’
  • Traits: Dense, symmetrical rosettes of wide blue-gray leaves are abundant and develop into large clumps. The rosette from which the flower spike emerges dies after flowering, though the plant is perpetuated by “pups” or offshoots. Parry’s Agave provides a bright accent to the water-wise landscape.
  • Water: Low
  • Hardiness Zones: 5-9
  • Bloom: Rare 1-15 yrs.

Ivory Spined Agave (Agave utahensis v. eborispinus)

  • Height: 12”
  • Width: 12”
  • Traits: This unique agave has long, white terminal spines at the end of blue-grey leaves and is right at home in a rock garden setting.
  • Water: Low
  • Hardiness Zone: 5
  • Bloom Time: N/A
  • Bloom Color: Yellow

Guadalupe Mountains Agave (Agave gracilipes)

    • Height: 14”
    • Width: 30”
    • Traits: Guadalupe Mountains Agave is a particularly hard-to-find species originating from the Guadalupe Mountains of Southern New Mexico. It is considered a recently evolved species thought to be a combination of Agave parryi. v neomexicana and Agave lechuguilla.
    • Water: Low
    • Hardiness Zones: 5
    • Bloom Time: N/A


  • Bloom Color: N/A


New Mexican Agave (Agave parryi v. neomexicana)

  • Height: 1.5’
  • Width: 2’
  • Traits: One of the smaller Parryi varieties, this agave has blue-grey leaves that are a little more slender than a typical Parryi. Native to a higher elevation means this plant likes a little afternoon shade.
  • Water: Little to no water when established
  • Hardiness Zones: 5-9
  • Bloom Color: Yellow

Originally published on July 3, 2018.

2 Responses to “Agave from Cold Hardy Cactus”

  1. david smith says:

    im looking for cold hardy agave for a garden we are rehabbing in New York zone 6b-7 ANY and all help is greatly appreciated
    Dave smith

    • jesse says:

      All of the cold hardy varieties we carry would be hardy enough for the zone you describe, however we do not ship plants, so I’m not sure that would help you much in New York. I’d suggest contacting local indepenedent garden centers or regional plant groups, as they may have an idea of who is propagating such materials in your area.

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