the White Agave is in bloom again

Agave celsii var. albicans ‘UCB’? Agave mitis var. albidior? The nomenclature continues to be shifty with this agave, so let’s just call it the White Agave. I can’t think of another agave that can also claim that common name, but feel free to correct me if you know of one. We do want to avoid any confusion! There’s a clump-forming White Agave and a non-clump-forming White Agave. Mine is apparently the latter. It definitely has the wide leaves that author Jeff Moore ascribes to Agave celsii v. nova. Thank god for experts. I’m just a humble gardener.

Emerging bloom spike today March 27, 2021. The leaves have no margin teeth, just a single terminal spine

My original agave was found around 2012-2013 at now-closed Burkhard’s Nursery in Pasadena and was a good size when planted in 2013, blooming in 2015. It never formed offsets like the ‘UCB’ form, and just one pup was discovered after bloom. No bulbils. And here it is in bloom again, March 2021. Will it squeeze out just a single pup this time around too? Sheesh…

clump-forming A. celsii var. albicans ‘UCB’ at the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley
White Agave bloom spike May 2015, my garden
bloom spike May 2015

So it’s bloomed every six years in my garden. Does that make its bloom cycle sextennial? The spike is a fluffy shaving brush of maroon and apricot filaments, a lovely sight to behold for the months it hangs on.


The City of Long Beach announced no-appointment vaccines this week, and I was able to get my first today — woohoo! The new puppy Billie is on her second course of antibiotics for an as-yet undiagnosed cough, that is not kennel cough. We await X-ray diagnosis…

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend!

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7 Responses to the White Agave is in bloom again

  1. Kris P says:

    That is one beautiful agave, Denise. I hope it does indeed produce at least one pup for you. Congratulations on your first vaccination! I remember how relieved I was when I got that first shot – the second felt less momentous. I’m sorry to hear that adorable Billie has a health issue and my fingers are crossed that second course of antibiotics does the trick so you and she can rest easy.

  2. ks says:

    Such a beautiful Agave–it needs to live on ! Still awaiting my second dose but the first one made me feel liberated enough to go to the grocery store on my usual early Sat am schedule instead of geezer hour on Friday. Real life is on the horizon.

  3. Gerhard Bock says:

    What a beautiful agave! I hope you’ll find a pup or two to keep it going.

    So happy to hear you got your first shot. I’m getting mine today. I feel much better about the rest of 2021 now…

  4. Denise says:

    @Kris, seeing vets during the pandemic is exasperating. You can’t go in with the pet, and it’s now so difficult to get access for more than a couple minutes to ask questions. The vet we’ve used for decades had such a poor communication structure because of the pandemic that we’ve switched. As far as the vaccine, the LB Convention Ctr was an awesome scene of efficient public health at work, really impressive.
    @Kathy, the agave is so beautiful but obviously a little weak in the lust-for-life procreation department. I’ll be getting my second shot in late April. I really may tag along your PNW road trip, so look out!
    @Gerhard, so good to hear you’re getting your first shot! I’m amazed at the flood of vaccine that’s pouring in just the last couple weeks, such a game-changer.

  5. hb says:

    New puppy!!!!!!!!!!!!! Billie as in Holiday? I hope her cough is better quickly. She must be adorable.

    My albidior/albicans (clumping) is a ghostly lime, though it is in full shade until it gets stronger.

    A. titanota ‘White Ice’ is very white, a blue-white.

  6. I have two A celsii var albicans UCB starting to bloom now
    . Hopeing for pups.

  7. Denise says:

    Hi Robert — I tried a different approach with the latest blooming UCB variant. No bulbils formed on the bloom stalk as usual, so I cut it down and left the mother plant in situ. It is well-known as a clump-forming agave, but I wasn’t sure if the original rosette would die off or not, and it hasn’t but still looks fresh. So we’ll see how wide it clumps! The blooms are fabulous, enjoy yours!

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