Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

My Agave Experiment

I really don't have enough horizontal surfaces with good light inside my house to overwinter everything I have that is marginally or not-at-all hardy (Hence, the use of the upstairs guest bathroom tub for Elephant Ears). So, I'm leaving a bunch of smaller Agaves, still in nursery pots, outside for the winter on my west-facing covered front porch. This is the same front porch where I usually have a collection of colorful annual pots during the spring and summer. See this post for some pictures of this year's pots.

Rather than just leaving the smaller Agaves to the elements, however, I've decided to put them inside translucent/transparent plastic storage containers, with heated seedling mats under them to keep them warm, in the hopes that this might approximate a Zone 9-ish or greenhouse-type environment.

The covered porch will keep them close to the warmth of the house and out of the persistent winter rain

I drilled holes in the top of the storage container for transpiration, although judging by all that condensation, I wonder if maybe I should make the holes bigger.

I have quite a variety of small and medium-sized Agaves

Most of them are still in plain black plastic nursery pots. Not convinced I could keep them alive, I didn't bother re-potting them into something more stylish. If they survive the winter, that'll be one of next spring's chores

A third storage container also has a heated seedling mat, but the plants are too big to cover, as well as three potted Agaves that are taking their chances without bottom heat.

I drilled a large hole in one corner of the storage container to accommodate the electrical cord of the heat mat.

All three heat mats are plugged into a long outdoor-quality extension cord, which is itself plugged into an outlet beside the front door.

I'll be keeping an eye on all these plants over the course of the winter, especially on really cold days and nights. But I hope my experiment in overwintering my Agaves works.


  1. That's a nice agave collection~I hope they all survive. The plastic container with the heat mat is clever and might be perfect for seed starting for me.

  2. Heat mats and all, these are a spoiled group! I would be very careful about leaving the lids on. In fact I would only put them on when temperatures dip and leave them off at all other times, otherwise there may be rot issues.

  3. Just like pampered pets! I hope they do well.

  4. I'm with Loree , Alison, I think a humid environment (lid-on) would be very undesirable.

  5. I like this experiment. Having just brought the majority of my agave collection indoors, I'm wondering how long it will be before someone (or some cat) sustains a life-threatening gouge! Your solution is much more humane for the house-dwellers.

  6. Taking such good care of your babies!

  7. I'm with Danger and ks. I rotted a beautiful large A. weberi last year by leaving plastic over it. Even though the soil was bone dry, the condensation on the plastic which then ran onto the leaves caused the whole plant to rot. It came back from the roots and this year, we'll see if it can survive with no covering.

    1. P.S. it's strange to see your porch so naked!


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