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Products > Agave x pumila
Agave x pumila - Miniature Agave
Image of Agave x pumila
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Agavaceae (now Asparagaceae)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: NA
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Synonyms: [A. pumila, A x pumila 'Clusterfest']
Parentage: (A. asperrima x A. nickelsiae)
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Agave x pumila (Miniature Agave) - A very slow unusual agave that has dimorphic stages, growing for many years in juvenile form as a small suckering rosette with individual rosettes that are only 2 to 4 inches across with short smooth stubby gray-green leaves that are deeply concave above and check-striped below with small weak marginal and terminal spines. As the plant matures it forms a few-leafed, open, and solitary rosette that has leaves that are paler and elongated to 16-18 inches long and that have white leathery margins and a stout short dark brown terminal spine. This plant is not known to have ever flowered and, in fact, its entire origin is quite a mystery.

This plant thrives in full sun in a well-drained soil with little irrigation and has been shown to be hardy to around 20 F, with some noting that it is hardy down to 10 F.

The neotype specimen used by Howard Scott Gentry to describe this plant in 1963 for his book Agaves of Continental North America was a plant in cultivation at the Huntington Botanic Garden. Gentry noted that when John Baker first described this plant in 1888, he did so from a plant growing at the Royal Horticultural Gardens at Kew which had been obtained from De Smet, a Dutch plant trader, in 1879. Gentry speculated that if the plant were of hybrid origin that he would suspect it a cross between Agave lechuguilla and Agave victoriae-reginae and in his description of it included a statement from the noted succulent expert Charlie Glass, who was at that time the co-editor of the Cactus and Succulent Society Journal, agreeing with this hypothesis and noting that if this were the case that he thought it might be from the north edge of Laguna de la Viesca, where a dwarf form of Agave victoriae-reginae and Agave lechuguilla were both collected. Later treatment is that it is the result of a cross between Agave asperrima. (previously known as A. scabra) and Agave nickelsiae (previously known as A. ferdinandi-regis).

Agave pumila is sometimes listed as Agave x pumila and is most often sold as a collector curiosity in its juvenile form as a potted specimen but it is also an attractive agave as it matures and should be tried more often in the ground in Southern California. Old clusters of this plant are sometimes sold as 'Clusterfest', but it our experience that that the normal form will often cluster, particularly after the center of main plant has damaged (or cored) as often is done for propagation, so these multiple rosette plants should not be given a separate cultivar name. Our plants from vegetative propagation of plants originally received from Stockton plant collector Alice Waidhofer in 2004. 

This information about Agave x pumila displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.