Agave utahensis is the most northerly naturally-occuring Agave species in the world. This is the form often referred to as Agave utahensis ssp utahensis which is now regarded as a synonym. This form is found in several widely scattered populations over an area that peppers the corner where Utah, Nevada and Arizona meet. At its most northerly point in Utah it occurs in Washington County to the north of Gunlock Reservoir on outcrops and amongst the landslide deposits on either side of the Tobin Wash valley at the southeast margin of the Bull Valley Mountains. Not surprisingly, Agave utahensis is a very tough Agave, capable of extremes of cold and heat, but it does require a very dry regime and should have perfect drainage and be kept completely dry from mid-October through to early March. They are very drought-tolerant and can survive for long periods of time without water and will respond by shrivelling up and stop growing altogether until water finally arrives. Their tenacity together with their subtle under-stated appearance makes them something of a favourite here at the nursery.
A relatively small and slow-growing plant, Agave utahensis will eventually form a toothy rosette about 50-60cm, taking many years to do so and forming a small colony of clumping offsets in the process. Like most of the north American succulents it favours an alkaline substrate and limestone chippings need to be added to the mix which should consist mainly of rock fragments, gravel and sand with very little organic material. Agave utahensis is extremely hardy providing it is kept dry during the winter months and will survive temperatures down to -15C. Its small-to-medium sized stature makes it relatively easy to construct a simple rain-shelter for and also makes it ideal for container culture thus enabling it to be brought into a drier space overwinter. It looks great in a large well-prepared terracotta container where - as long as it isn't over-watered - it will thrive.
A simple unvain species, the Ariocarpus retusus of the Agave world, Agave utahensis is one for both serious collector and beginner.
|Synonyms||Agave haynaldii var. utahensis, Agave newberyi, Agave scaphoidea, Agave utahensis var. discreta, Agave utahensis var. scaphoidea, Agave utahensis subsp. utahensis, Agave utahensis var. utahensis|
|Geographical Origin||USA: Utah, Nevada, Arizona|
|Cultivation||Full sun. A very free-draining alkaline rocky substrate with limestone chippings, sand, grit and shingle|
|Eventual Height||15-25cm. Yellow flower spike to 2-4m|
|Hardiness||Down to about -15C in well-drained substrate. Its medium-sized stature means making a rain-shelter is relatively easy. If grown in a container it can be overwintered indoors|
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