Low Water Use Parrys Agave
Agave Paryyi – commonly known as PARRY’S AGAVE came from the Asparagaceae family. Generally, Agaves are attractive desert succulents that are also known as century plants. They got this name from the wrong belief that they only flower every century. In truth, their flowering cycle usually takes closer to 10 to 20 years. In fact, for Parry’s Agave, it takes 10-15 years and they die right after flowering. The Parry’s Agave, like most succulents, has a green-gray-ish color. Its leaves grow upright and are shaped like an oval. The leaves outline is surrounded by thorns and can be quite dangerous to handle. When growing these species, make sure to place them together with an ample amount of distance for it to grow fully. Once you have established this, growing them requires little work to keep in good condition.
Parry’s Agave makes an excellent accent plant for landscapes in Arizona as it can tolerate temperatures down to -5 degrees fahrenheit, USDA hardiness zones a 5-1. It’s growth rate might be slow but this wonderful plant can grow up to 3 feet. It produces larger, glaucous leaves, and rosettes than many of its subspecies. The Parry’s Agave is tolerant to the Arizona Climate. Best grown under full sun to partial shade, this plant is drought tolerant and should be watered sparingly. Once set up, watering them can be close to little to none at all! But, avoid poorly-drained soils. Parry’s Agave needs good soil drainage, do not over irrigate. Though considered as the most cold hardy agave of its species, the Parry’s Agave should still be protected from freezing, especially when moisture is present. Pruning is advisable to clip foliar spines if the plant is located in areas of human traffic.
Unfortunately, Parry’s Agave is in danger of Agave Snout Weevil, a known insect to feed on many species of agave. These should be treated appropriately especially in cases of infestation. This plant is also mildly toxic to our fur friends and humans when ingested so please approach with caution.
Parry’s Agave is typically purchased individually. This single specimen ultimately forms colonies of many offsets as it dies. At the end of its life, a long-stemmed flowering stalk forms with abundant flowers that are a rich yellow. These are its offspring that then live on to repeat the cycle.
Fun fact, despite his wild looking appearance, this species was used heavily by southwestern tribes as an important food staple, fiber, soap, tools, medicine for bartering purposes. Mescal, pulque, and tequila are derived from the juices of a Parry Agave.