Agave pelona Gentry
Bald Agave, Mescal Pelón (Spanish), Mexican Agave
Agave pelona is a stunning succulent that forms a dense rosette of narrow, glossy green leaves, often tinged with red. It is similar in size and coloration to Agave ocahui. The solitary rosette slowly grows to 3 feet (90 cm) in diameter. Leaves are stiff, up to 18 inches (45 cm) long and up to 2 inches (5 cm) wide, and have white toothless margins and a reddish, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long apical spine.
Once in its lifetime, usually in early spring through summer, the rosette produces an up to 10 feet (3 m) tall flower spike with striking deep reddish-purple bell-shaped flowers.
Agave pelona is native to Mexico. It occurs on the steep sides and tops of ridges only in three small mountain ranges of extremely arid northwestern Sonora.
The specific epithet "pelona (pel-OH-nuh)" is the feminine form of the Spanish adjective "pelón," meaning "with little or no hair; bald or balding" and refers to the lack of teeth along the margins of the leaves.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Agaves are not difficult plants to grow. They are slow-growing and dramatic and will even thrive on a bit of neglect. If you are the type of person who likes to fuss with houseplants and water a lot, Agave is probably not the plant for you. On the other hand, if you are the type of person who likes to set it and forget it, and you have a sunny window, Agave might be the way to go. Be aware that some large varieties will eventually outgrow your room (unless you have a large greenhouse), and Agave can be aggressive. They have irritating sap and sometimes very sharp thorns that can cause injuries to small children and even pets.
In general, Agaves do not need to be repotted every year. Most species commonly found in cultivation grow very slowly and take a long time to outgrow their pot. It is also best to handle your plant as little as possible since they do not like to be disturbed. When repot, refresh the spent soil with a new potting mix and ensure the plant is firmly anchored in its pot. However, be careful not to pot the Agave too deep, as that will encourage stem rot during the growing season.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Agave.
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