Agave colorata-Mescal Cenizo
Agave colorata is a small to
medium-sized plant, growing to 4 feet high and 4 feet wide. Its striking powder
blue-gray leaves are relatively short and broad, measuring 1.5 - 2.5
feet long and 7 inches wide at the widest point. The leaves have
intricate bud prints on both sides from the teeth and terminal spine of the
leaves both above and below. The leaf edges are heavily toothed with dark brown
teeth and a 2 inch long terminal spine.
A 10 foot tall panicle with
bright yellow flowers appears in late spring and early summer. The flowering
stalk signals the end of that plant’s life cycle, although Agave
colorata does produce offsets that will continue to grow after the
flowering plant has died.
There are two forms of Agave colorata in
cultivation. One is smaller, about 2.5 feet high and 2.5 feet wide. Its
individual leaves are nearly spoon shaped, 1.5 feet long and very broad
towards the end. The other form is larger, growing to 4 feet high and 4
feet wide. Its leaves are more swordshaped, measuring 2.5 feet long and not
noticeably wider anywhere along their length. If possible, look
for the form with shorter, spoon shaped leaves, as it is the
most compact and attractive.
The flowers will attract
hummingbirds, but the plants may take about 15 years to flower.
Native to Sonora,
Mexico, this plant is reliably cold hardy to 15° F. It has a
slow to moderate growth rate, and thrives in full sun and
reflected heat exposures. It also works in coastal areas,
provided that drainage is excellent. Great in pots or in