Far Out Flora

Adios Agave americana!


Agave americana before

Last year we ripped out this middle section which was full of loser succulents we didn’t know what to do with to plant a bunch of California natives (one of the best gardening moves we’ve ever made). Way back when we first moved to San Francisco we picked up this Agave americana baby (we still have big momma) for free on Craigslist. The owner’s baby was starting to walk and she was worried the kid might fall and get stabbed.

Going for the kill

We only use the highest tech protective gear when gardening, like this stinky old sweatshirt. I’m pretty sure Matti has a few permanent scars from ripping out and moving these spiky plants over the past few years. Here’s a post we did about pulling out its little brother back in May and another post from last October, when Matti ripped out a bunch of babies and moved this guy to the middle.

Agave americana rip out, success!

This was back in early October. I have to point out the massive clump of Erysimum franciscanum var. crassifolium on the left. Have you ever seen a happier San Francisco Wallflower? It might just be one of my favorite plants. Can’t wait for it to be covered in yummy scented yellow blooms this spring.

Here it is frolicking last May with one of my favorite CA natives Gilia tricolor.

View from above

Here’s the view from the dining room window last weekend sans the Agave.  It’s kind of ridiculous how many plants we’ve crammed in back there, considering this is only half the yard.

More Erysimum franciscanum var. crassifolium love

If you live next to the beach in sandy land definitely give Erysimum franciscanum var. crassifolium a shot. We barely ever water it and even without flowers it’s a handsome fellow year round. Annie’s has a bunch of them right now.

P.S. We’d love it if you would vote for our terrarium entries at Potted (probably not the wisest move to enter the same week)


  1. And you’re shipping that handsome agave to me, right? I LOVE agaves and as you can imagine, they are not common here. I have a few really small ones, but can only dream of having one like the one you ripped out. Such a difference in our growing zones and the plants we can put in the ground. My agaves are now resting in the conservatory until I can put them out again in spring.

  2. it’s against the law in my yard to yank out agave. i see all kinds of plants in your yard that i don’t have a clue as to what they are. looks great!

  3. Kylee, I don’t miss gardening in the midwest one bit :) We actually had a run in with the law when we set this Agave free. Matti’s going to blog about soon. No plans to rip out the original big momma, even though she makes us bleed on a regular basis and shoots out babies in inappropriate places.

  4. I just bought a ton of Agaves for a friends garden but Agave americana is one I won’t plant. They are sort of ridiculous. It did look pretty wit the Gillia though. Looking forward to the Erysimum post when it blooms.

    • Yeah, if only we knew… We’re kind of pineappling the one we’re letting stick around & it’s kind of sentimental as the first big honking succulent we’ve ever owned. I’ve been shocked at how quickly they get huge. Really wishing we would have planted a slower growing variegated form, but we barely knew what we had. There will be gratuitous Erysimum posts in the future :)

  5. The Agave rule around here is solitary growers only. Those generous offsetters are too much work. A. augustifolia is another one that can become quite a pest.

  6. You need another blue succulent now! I have lots of Agave Parryi’s if you want one!

  7. Well if it had to go it had to go but it did really anchor all those smaller succulents.

    • We still have the mama that is surrounded by the smaller succulents. The one we pulled out is slowly becoming more CA natives and was at once a dog blocker.

  8. I think the agave was perfect for your yard at that size… but knowing how big they get, it was certainly time to take it out before it got completely out of hand.

  9. I love the dramatic visual Agas make but their spikes scare me enough to keep them out of the mix in my garden of succulents which include Boraginaceae, Crassulaceaes, Araceae, Hypoxidaceae and an Aloe.

  10. Waiting for the post on how you got rid of it. How big is the momma?

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