AZ Arboretums

Agave vilmoriniana

Desert zinnia

Common: Octopus agave
Family: Agavaceae
Origin/Range: Cliffs from southern Sonora to Sinaloa states, Mexico, at 2000 to 5000 feet elevation (600-1500 m)
Light: Full sun to partial shade, avoid reflected sunlight in Phoenix
Hardy to 20°F (-6°C), leaves are damaged at 25°F (-4°C)

Water:  Little water

Also known as Agave vilmoriana, Agave mayoensis, Agave eduardii, Agave houghii.

Succulents, fast growing to 3 feet tall, 5 feet in diameter (0.9 by 1.5 m). Propagation by suckers (called pups), seeds, buds on the flower spike.

The crushed leaves are used by the Tarahumara Indians as soap. This agave is named for Maurice de Vilmorin, with whom Berger found this Agave.

Tolerates poor soil and drought, but requires excellent drainage.

Blooms only when the plant is 7 to 15 years old or more. The flower stalk is huge (15 to 25 feet), starting like an asparagus, with yellow flowers. The plant then dies leaving suckers that grow into replacement plants. The spike generally produces large quantities of vegetative buds that can be planted.