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Products > Agave nizandensis
Agave nizandensis - Nizanda Agave
Image of Agave nizandensis
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Agavaceae (now Asparagaceae)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Green
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Height: <1 foot
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32 F
Agave nizandensis (Nizanda Agave) - A small distinctive low growing nearly unarmed agave that forms open clusters of 1 to 2 foot wide rosettes and spreading slowly by stolons. The rosettes have only a few narrow leaves that reflex to spread out wide and then recurve downwards. These narrow 6 inch to 1 foot long leaves are a mid-green color with a pale mid-stripe and are and flat or slightly concave on the upper surface and convex below. The margins have well-spaced minute teeth and the red terminal spines are not sharp. In bright light the leaves can turn a darker purple to nearly black color but will always have a lighter central stripe. The inflorescence is not often seen but rises 3 feet tall with a capitate cluster of greenish flowers. Plant in bright shade or morning sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate occasionally. Hardy to only a light frost and short durations temperatures slightly below 32 F. This unique plant might be best for a container or large dish garden but can grow outdoors as an interesting ground cover in a warm, frost-free climate in a well-drained soil in a brightly shaded or morning sun location. This plant is a unique plant for the collector but it is a bit brittle and needs to be in a location that provides protection traffic, frost and full sun, but a bright shade or morning sun location can bring out darker colors, sometimes even purple tone in the leaves. This plant comes from a very limited area on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec near the town of Nizanda in the southern state of Oaxaca, Mexico, where it grows in dry forests on steep limestone slopes. Though not listed on the Red List, some consider this plant to be an endangered species due to its limited range and continued habitat loss. In an article in the Fall 1951 issue of the Cactus and Succulent Journal (Vol.23 No.5) titled "A New Dwarf Mexican Agave" Ladislaus (Lad) Cutak first describes this plant after finding this plant with Tom McDougal in 1947. He noted: "A second maguey ... caught my immediate fancy for it formed dense mats and looked like it might make an excellent pot plant. It was definitely different from all the Agaves of my acquaintance." Howard Scott Gentry later noted in his landmark Agaves of Continental North America that "The taxonomic position of this distinct species is anomalous. It has no close relatives and does notfit well into any section or group. The small umbellate form of the inflorescence indicates it belongs in the subgenus Agave, but the rosette and leaf are more Littaeaoid in character." In Gentry's introduction on the Group Amolae where he listed this species he expanded on this thought by writing "The Amole is a heterogeneous group. Some of the species have extra-sectional characteristics The diminutive A. nizandensis is especially anomalous because its small umbellate inflorescence on a Littaea-like leaf rosette. It does not fit well into any section of subgenus Agave or Littaea and it is placed here as a provisional convenience." 

This information about Agave nizandensis 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.