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Agave leaves closing up
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rmhair



Joined: 26 Jun 2010
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:01 pm    Post subject: Agave leaves closing up Reply with quote

Hi, new forum member here.

I have a question about a couple variegated Century Plants that I potted a couple months ago and are sitting outside in the full sun. It appears as though the plant is closing up. By that, I mean the plant's leaves are not as spread out and open as they were when I first planted them. I just noticed it the last week or so, since the high temps have started consistently being above 100. Is it due to the heat? We have two blue century plants in the ground in the front yard (we planted them last year) and they to not appear to have the some problem. But they do get more shade.

I would appreciate any advise. Thanks!!
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phoenixtropicals
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Joined: 06 May 2008
Posts: 1177
Location: Mesa Arizona

PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:35 pm    Post subject: Agave Leaves Reply with quote

Agaves take full sun well here. In fact, I think they probably do best in full sun. However, you'll notice that you won't see big agaves out in the desert here at the same altitude as Phoenix. The reason being that they need a little more water than they will get here naturally.

I still do not recommend watering agaves regularly because it is actually bad for them. However, when it has been over a month or two since any rain and temperatures have been over a hundred, agaves will do better and look better with a good hosing down. I don't bother putting in irrigation to do this because you'll only need to do this say 3 times a summer. Just take the garden hose up to them and give them a good soaking.

Also, agave weevils are a real problem here. They are little black weevils that lay their eggs at the base of your agave. Their eggs hatch and little grubs will bore into your plant, and then in late summer your agave will collapse and die. I sprinkle triazicide around my agave every May and then water it in, to kill off any weevils that might come around. So, far my big blue agave has lasted 10 years.

I used to use diazinone, but that was too hard on birds, so they took it off the market. Triazicide is more environmentally friendly. May is the best time to apply it, but it still might help this time of year.

Good luck. Smile
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rmhair



Joined: 26 Jun 2010
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info. Since my agaves that are looking stressed are in pots, do you think they will require more frequent watering than if they were in the ground? Being from Iowa, I am use to watering potted plants every week. Maybe I am over watering?

Thanks again.
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phoenixtropicals
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They'll need more water in pots, but still should be kept very dry. Once a week seems like too much, so I recommend you reduce your watering frequency.
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phoenixtropicals
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Joined: 06 May 2008
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Location: Mesa Arizona

PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They'll need more water in pots, but still should be kept very dry. Once a week seems like too much, so I recommend you reduce your watering frequency.
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rmhair



Joined: 26 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Will do. Thanks for your help.
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GermanStar



Joined: 17 Jun 2010
Posts: 117
Location: Fountain Hills, AZ

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is funny. I just planted a variegated Agave americana in my yard a few days ago, and it's doing the exact same thing. My plan has been to water every four days for a month to get it settled, then let nature take it's course. In 10 days, I've watered twice. My best guess is that it's closing due to a sudden increase in sunlight exposure (I purchased at Home Depot, where it resided indoors), and that it will reopen in time as it adjusts. At least, that's the plan.... Confused
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phoenixtropicals
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Location: Mesa Arizona

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is really the hardest time of the year to plant things. You are better off waiting until fall. However, when I do plant this time of year I give the plant shade (shade cloth, lawn chair etc.) until its established.
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rmhair



Joined: 26 Jun 2010
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I showed pics of my potted agaves to someone who grows them both in the ground and in pots and he said it looks like heat and sun stress. He said his (both in the ground and pots) do that in the extreme heat of the summer. This person suggested giving I continue to water my potted agaves once a week. From what I've heard they do like to dry out a bit between watering so if you have them in the ground you may want to make sure the ground dries out a bit between watering. Sounds like they can get root rot if they are kept too wet.
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GermanStar



Joined: 17 Jun 2010
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Location: Fountain Hills, AZ

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

phoenixtropicals wrote:
This is really the hardest time of the year to plant things. You are better off waiting until fall. However, when I do plant this time of year I give the plant shade (shade cloth, lawn chair etc.) until its established.

I am going with your lawn chair idea on this one (wish I could with my Fire Bush as well, but it just isn't practical). As it is, it is shaded until noon, and only receives afternoon light starting midday until just before 5. I'm now going to leave a lawn chair over it until around 3 PM or so, so it gets some direct light, but not the blistering mid-day sun. Hopefully, that will allow it to adjust in more comfort. If it starts re-opening, I'll slowly increase its exposure. I'll keep you posted.
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phoenixtropicals
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That should help. Keep in mind agaves are tough like cactus and take the heat and sun very well here, once established. I have a big blue agave in my front yard in full sun and I hit it with the house probably just 4 or 5 times the whole summer. The rest of the time it is on its own. I also, put insecticide around it each May, triazicide, to keep the weevils from getting to it.
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GermanStar



Joined: 17 Jun 2010
Posts: 117
Location: Fountain Hills, AZ

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I have a big blue in full sun, too, along with a handful of other Agaves (parryi, Blue Glow, and a couple more A. americana), it's just this new guy that's reacting poorly. It can only be the sun, closing certainly isn't an adaption to excessive heat, since that would only make it worse, and I don't see any correlation with excessive or insufficient water either. It's just plain old sunburn, that from being kept indoors for too long, once it heals (how long, any idea?), it should start slowly opening in reaction to the reduced exposure.

I'll start with triazicide treatments next spring, I've never done it before, but all this stuff about Agave weevils has me inspired.
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phoenixtropicals
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It won't really heal, but new leaves will emerge from the middle which are more heat/sun adapted and eventually the damaged ones will dry up and blow away. Some people trim their agaves to get rid of the older leaves. I don't do that. It doesn't seem to be good for them. Aside from have a few wrinkled leaves near the base, they look good without trimming.
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GermanStar



Joined: 17 Jun 2010
Posts: 117
Location: Fountain Hills, AZ

PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tips, we'll see how it goes. You can see from the pics how dramatic the change is in 10 days time. The leaves are still bright and feel healthy and strong, they've just curled up to avoid the sun. I'll let you know if it reopens.


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phoenixtropicals
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My agaves leaves do the opposite when they get too dry, they droop. You should be careful not to overwater. Nothing will kill a cactus or agave faster than overwatering. Dying of sunburn or drought is an extremely slow process with these types of plants. I have included a picture of my blue agave. I don't have any drip irrigation or anything like that. If it starts to look too droopy I house it down for about 5 minutes. Probably I only do that once month in the summer if we haven't had any rain.

By the way, this time of year everything sunburns. I don't worry about sunburn with cactus.



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