waiting out a furcraea’s awkward years

This furcraea has been kicking around in the garden, oh, such a very long time. It’s been in pots, planted in the ground, and then moved several times, frequently serving as a midnight snail snack. This summer is the first time I can truly say it looks like a happy furcraea.

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I have been cutting out the disheveled lower leaves, and it’s thrown so many beautiful, new leaves that the whole plant is finally achieving a perfection I doubted I’d ever see. It’s related to agaves but completely thornless, so sprawling on the bricks near foot traffic won’t be a problem. And although this Brazilian is known to appreciate a little shade, it’s been thriving in near full-sun conditions, so I’m not changing a thing. Who knows what’s factored into its new-found good looks? As it’s matured and the leaves toughened, the snails seem to have lost interest. About 3 feet high and wide and expected to almost double that size, it should be able to grow to maturity in its current location (gulp). For someone who’s a compulsive plant mover, this furcraea has finally grown into a plant that’s safe from my restless shovel. In other words, I really can’t imagine it anywhere else.

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6 Responses to waiting out a furcraea’s awkward years

  1. Alison says:

    That Furcraea may have been an ugly duckling once, but it’s definitely turned into a swan! Good move to leave it where it is. I loved the phrase “restless shovel.”

  2. Peter/Outlaw says:

    It’s a beautiful plant! I so admire these in gardens but alas, here they must come inside for the winter.

  3. Perfection! This does seem to be one of those plants that either looks amazing (and thus tempts the purchase or causes one to hang on to a “less than” plant longer than they might otherwise) or not. I’m sure your restless shovel will find another place to work.

  4. I’d be thrilled to have it in my garden. I’ve seen mature specimens, and they make your jaw drop. I had no idea it’s such a slow grower.

  5. Hoov says:

    Maybe toss some Sluggo around, just in case. It’s too beautiful not to be paranoid about.

  6. Denise says:

    Alison, Peter, Loree, Gerhard, Hoov — coincidentally I was at a nursery today (!) and there was this furcraea, in the beat-up shape I was used to for years. Brown-spotted, torn, dog-eared leaves, with usually just a couple big leaves jutting out with a lot of smaller, chewed-up leaves at akward angles. Getting all the leaves to the same length gives it that full vase shape, and then when the big leaves become slightly ruffled and twist it’s just a different plant than its juvenile form. I may have some Sluggo in the shed, Hoov.

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