Scientific: Agave colorata
Common: mescal ceniza
Family: Asparagaceae (subfamily Agavoideae)
Origin: Found in palms canyons, desert scrub forests, and oak grassland forests of Sonora, Mexico.

Pronounciation: A-GA-ve ko-lo-RA-ta

Hardiness zones
USDA 8 - 11

Landscape Use: Interesting still and small bold accent plant for small and intermediate size desert gardens and xeric landscape design themes. It can be used as a container plant.

Form & Character: Evergreen perennial, succulent, rosette like, stiff with coarse, sharp leaf tips.

Growth Habit: Because of selection, cultivated forms are smaller than many found growing in native habitats. These cultivated forms grow only 2 to 4 feet in height with a similar width. Usually produces only a few basal offshoots, monocarpic (individual rosettes die after flowering in late spring and summer).

Foliage/texture: Rigid, relatively broad succulent and fibrous grey-blue leaves tapering to a stiff sharp point. Leaves often recurrent or cupped. Leaf margins bluntly arrayed with dark brown spiny teethed serrations; coarse texture.

Flowers & fruits: Produces many yellow flowers on a thick 10 feet panicle stock.

Seasonal color: None, except when flowering (and are you really going to wait around for that to happen?).

Temperature: Hardy in Phoenix. Cold tolerant to 17oF.

Light: Full sun

Soil: Sandy, some loam, well-drained best.

Watering: Some supplemental water only occasionally during the summer. Supplemental water increases growth rate.

Pruning: None required

Propagation: Division of basal offshoots.

Disease and pests: Agave weevil (Scyphophorus acupunctatus) can attack variously most agave species in the low desert.

Additional comments: This is a very handsome small, extremely tough agave for difficult planting locations. Because of its relative cold hardiness, mescal ceniza can also be grown in colder desert cities such as El Paso and Las Vegas.