Blue Glow Agave (Agave ‘Blue Glow’)
Sometimes, you see a plant’s name and wonder, “where on Earth did they come up with that?” Thankfully, that is definitely not the case with Agave ‘Blue Glow’. The plant’s leaves are already modestly exquisite at first sight—up to 18” long and 1.5” wide, smooth except for a single spine on each tip, and colored a chalky greenish-blue with a millimeters-thin double stripe, red outside and yellow inside, running around the edges. But when the late afternoon sun shines through those ever-so-slightly-translucent leaves and they seem to almost light up from within, like the jewels in an old-fashioned kaleidoscope? It’s subtly spectacular.
Moreover, this lightshow requires almost comically little care and maintenance. Sunlight is the biggest concern, but instead of the bright indirect light most houseplants desire, Blue Glow Agave loves full, direct sun everywhere but in the very hottest summer climates. Outside of that, it doesn’t require much water, prefers poor soil as long as it drains well, feels content in any temperature as long as it’s above freezing, and has almost no need of fertilizer or pruning. Seriously, you probably have knick-knacks on your fireplace that require more attention than this gorgeous plant.
A hybrid cross of Agave ocahui and Agave attenuata, this awesome desert succulent grows slowly, so it rarely needs repotting, and has a very manageable spread of only 18-24” high by 24-36” wide even when fully grown. So it can fit into all but the tiniest gardens or plant shelves. That’s good. Because if you love plants the way we do, once you’ve seen Blue Glow Agave’s leaves glowing in the sunlight, you won’t be able to imagine your plant family without it.
Characteristics and traits of a Blue Glow Agave (Agave ‘Blue Glow’)
- Scientific Name: Agave ‘Blue Glow’
- Genus: Agave
- Family: Asparagaceae
- Common Name: Blue Glow Agave
- Indoor: Year round
- Outdoor Zones: 9a-12 - Hardy to 25F
- Type: Perennial; Each plant may produce multiple bulbils which grow into mature plants
- Mature Height: 18”-24”
- Mature Width: 2’-3’
- Plant Height when Shipped: XXXXXX
- Growth Rate: Slow
- Flower: Rare - after 8-25 years, grows a single towering flower stalk 8’-16’ high topped with clusters of green-yellow flowers. Parent plant dies afterward, but bulbils can be propagated.
- Foliage: Fleshy, lance-shaped leaves up to 18” long of light bluish-gray-green, with very thin maroon and yellow margins and a short spine at the tip
Plant Care and Advice for Blue Glow Agave (Agave ‘Blue Glow’)
- Grown In: Inside: all zones year round, Outside: zones 9a-12
- Light Requirements: Full sun to filtered shade, likes 6+ hours sun daily, but may need slight protection in the Southwest if outdoors.
- Water Requirements: During warm months, “soak and dry”. Give ample water, then allow to dry out. In winter, reduce water to once/month
- Drought Tolerance: Excellent
- Temperature: Tolerant of triple-digit highs and cold hardy to 25F
- Air Purification: Good
- Toxicity: May be mildly toxic to people and pets if ingested
- Fertilizer: Small amount once in spring first two years, none after that.
- Container Friendly: Yes - Be sure it drains well
- Planting: Soil choice is vital when planting Agave ‘Blue Glow’. This is a desert succulent, so a soil with high amounts of water retention and organic material is downright hazardous to the plant’s health. Resist the temptation to give it anything rich and loamy and instead opt for something sandy, gritty, and even rocky, such as cactus soil. When planting or potting Blue Glow Agave, proper drainage is vital. Also, be careful not to set the plant deeper in the soil than it was, so that portions of the stem that were formerly above the ground are now touching the dirt. While this may seem harmless, it introduces the possibility for stem rot.
- Plant Care: Blue Glow Agave is remarkably unfussy. As a desert succulent, it’s comfortable at any temperature between freezing (possibly as low as 20F) and the triple digits at the top of your thermometer. It craves 6 or more hours of full sunlight a day (so, south windows if indoors) and will only need even slight sun protection in the very hottest of summer climates. It has an almost camel-like ability to store—and wait for—water, so give it a good drink, let it drain fully, and wait until the soil is quite dry before watering again. It doesn’t sucker, so pruning needs are minimal at best, and it needs to be fertilized exactly twice: in the spring of its first two years, with gentle (½ strength) all-purpose feed. After that, let it take care of itself (lest you trigger a bloom cycle).
- Expert Advice: If planting Agave ‘Blue Glow’ outside, keep in mind that when fully grown, it will be 3’ wide and have a tiny, but very sharp spine on the tip of every leaf—so it might be wise to keep it a safe distance from walkways, mailboxes, swing sets, etc. Like most agave, Blue Glow has little susceptibility to pests and disease as long as it isn’t forced to sit in water-soaked soil (which is a sure invitation to root rot and other fungal infections). One pest that can hit the plant (particularly if planted outdoors) is the agave snout weevil, Scyphophorus acupunctatus, a black beetle with a very long snout. The weevil lays its eggs on agave, and prepares the site by injecting bacteria that liquefy the plant’s flesh so the larvae can eat it. Unfortunately, this bacteria is incurable and can spread not only all through the host plant, but to neighboring agave as well. The only “solution” is to remove and dispose of the host plant before its infection can spread. Preventative doses of neem oil or insecticidal soap can help deter the weevil in the first place, and are also effective against any more common pests, such as mealy bugs. Propagating Agave ‘Blue Glow’ is an exercise in patience. Because the plant doesn’t sucker and doesn’t root from leaf cuttings the way, say, an aloe vera would, the best way to propagate Agave ‘Blue Glow’ is to wait for the plant to flower. It may be a long wait, too. Specimens kept indoors almost never flower, and outdoor specimens flower only once before dying (the term for this is monocarpic) somewhere around the 8-to-25-year-old mark. When this happens, small baby agave, or bulbils, will grow right on the flower stalk. These bulbils can be detached and grown into new plants. To harvest bulbils, simply let them grow until they have several viable leaves—some may even begin to grow a few baby roots—then gently twist them off of the flower stalk with your fingers, doing your best to avoid damaging the bulbil’s base. Let them sit for 48 hours so the “wound” where the stem detached can scab over (this will minimize the risk of fungal infection when inserted in soil), then dip the bulbil’s bottom in water and rooting hormone (if desired), then set them in a nice, quick-draining soil such as cactus mix. Give them a bit of water now and then and keep them warm (and if possible, slightly humid, as in a greenhouse). Within a month or two, the bulbils should grow their own roots and be ready to transplant.