Monday, July 3, 2017

Curling Up!

A lot of plants will react to prolonged heat/sun exposure. I can tell it's been ridiculously hot here (we had a whole week of above 105 deg F) when all my agaves (and similar plants) start curling up on themselves. Not all of them do it, and some do it more than others. They usually all "relax" again after the temperatures go back to "normal".

Mr. Ripple, normally
Mr. Ripple - earlier this weekend
I suppose this could also be an indication that he's getting ready to bloom... But after carefully sticking my head through his arms and looking, i only see new leaves. Still worth keeping an eye on him, i suppose. I have no idea what to do if/when he blooms (or more to the point, afterwards...)

Next up is xMangave 'kaleidoscope':
This one recovered from a rough winter, and was starting to look good again...
...but closed up a lot this week, although no sunburn (yet!)
However, this was on the winner's table at the Huntington Cactus & Succulent show... wow!
I have a bunch more pictures of that show & garden visit - so many awesome plants! I may have accidentally bought some more plants, which is of course a very bad idea when it's a "cool" 95 deg out.

This poor Agave salmaina var. ferox 'Green Goblet' certainly warns against planting anything:
how to minimize sun exposure...
That plant lives up in the corner of the hill side. It barely gets any water, so has grown a lot slower than it's 2 siblings. The black things at the base are dried up old leaves, not cracks in the ground.  The block wall to the side it of it also radiates heat. But it's not dead, and that's an accomplishment on the hillside!

I learned a while ago that because our "full sun" is really full sun, that certain delicate agaves, especially any with variegation, really need to hide under something. Somehow, that's kept this agave pototarum 'Kissho Kan' alive for several years.
hiding in the shade of an opuntia, which just laughs at the sun
It's not even supposed to be winter hardy here, but don't tell it that. As long as it keeps surviving the cold and heat, i'm happy. Now, i'd like someone to explain why the heat isn't keeping the weeds from growing, but that's something different...


  1. Great study how even desert plants hunker down in extreme stress - heat included. Your Mr. Ripple says it all. With the stronger monsoon season we get in the Chihuahuan Desert, I'm still amazed at recovery with humidity and rain...mornings often had a different look than afternoons. Over and over.

    1. we don't get the monsoons, but one of the big differences i see in when the nights cool down, versus staying warm. Plants are amazing at how they can adapt to the environment (vs. us humans with our air conditioning!) Thanks for visiting!

  2. "I may have accidentally bought some more plants"...of course you did! Over 105 for a week, yikes. I'd be curling up too.

    1. ha! yes, well, if i wasn't supposed to buy more plants, they shouldn't have plant sales in the summer! and someone reminded me of the Plant Delights summer sale too... :)

  3. That's interesting, Renee. I haven't noticed that behavior in my agaves but I've seen it in aloes and of course the aeoniums that curl up during the summer months. Maybe we're not hot enough long enough to make the agaves squirm (yet).

    1. I'm pretty sure most of my agaves would happily move to your garden and away from this heat! Thanks for visiting!

  4. Wow, that's a long stretch of hot weather. I've never seen an agave curl it's leaves as a heat response, perhaps because it seldom even reaches 90 here. Fascinating what plants are able to do to survive! Those pesky plant buying accidents seem to happen to gardeners a lot. Hmmm.

  5. Like Kris P's, my aloes draw their leaves up against the sun, but it's not so hot here that the Agaves do the same. Funny I was at the Huntington show also. Nice show, eh? That 'Kalaidescope' Mangave was very cool. Did you see the mind-blowing huge Hamanthus deformis?

    The sale was pretty shopped out when I went, but it was still fun. I got a couple of plants and a pot. Hope you had fun!


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