Agave applanata cv. Creamy Spike


Agave parryi f. compacta variegata
Agave parryi cv. Cream Spike
Agave parryi cv. Merico Nishiki
Agave patonii f. marginata alba
Agave patonii cv. Hikitsusyote Nisiki
Agave patonii cv. Toyoushi
Agave patonii cv. Toyushi
Agave patoni f. variegata


Agave applanata cv. Creamy Spike is a cultivar of Agave applanata, which is native to Mexico and the southwestern United States. The natural habitat of Agave applanata includes rocky hillsides and canyons, as well as dry scrublands and deserts. It is adapted to survive in hot, arid regions with little rainfall, and it is able to store water in its leaves to survive long periods of drought.

The origin of Agave applanata cv. Creamy Spike is uncertain, but it is believed to be of garden origin. It was first discovered by a nurseryman named Randy Baldwin at San Marcos Growers in Santa Barbara, California, in the 1980s. According to Baldwin, the plant was received from Japan by Rick Nowakowski at Nature’s Curiosity Shop, but the original source of the form remains a mystery.

It is important to note that the cultivar Agave applanata cv. Creamy Spike is a selected form that has been developed by horticulturists for its ornamental value. It is not found in the wild and it is not considered a threatened or endangered species. The plants are grown in nurseries and sold to gardeners and plant enthusiasts.



Agave applanata cv. Cream Spike is a unique and striking plant that is often used in container gardens. It is a dwarf, small growing variety of Agave applanata, with variegated leaves that are highly ornamental in appearance. However, it has long been misidentified as Agave patonii “variegata” in horticulture. This cultivar is highly dimorphic, meaning it changes shape as it matures. When young, it has a low-growing and almost flat form, but as it ages it develops into a rounded rosette with stiff, upright leaves. This cultivar is also known by several different names such as Agave patonii f. marginata alba or ‘alba marginata’, Agave patoni f. variegata , or with the Japanese names Agave parry cv. Merico Nishiki , or ‘Ohikitsusyote Nisiki’ or ‘Toyoushi’. Other names include: Agave minima ‘Variegata’. This cultivar is indeed quite variable, this may suggests that there is more than one clone in culture, however growing condition (exposition, water, soil, pot size, feeding etc.) and age of the plant, greatly influences the habit, colour and sizes of its leaves and spines. It is an acaulescent plant, meaning it does not have a visible stem. The juvenile form of this plant is in the form of rosettes, and it is larger than tall when young, usually only 10-12 cm tall by about 15-25 (or more) cm wide. As it matures, the rosettes become more compact and resemble giant artichokes, but the eventual size of the rosette is unknown, with the largest ones having reached 30-40 cm tall and about 60 cm in diameter. The leaves are essentially smooth, light blue-grey-green to olive green, very broadly oblong, quickly acuminate, openly concave (spoon-shaped), margined with cream coloured edges and with a stiffly erect-spreading; spine somewhat flexuous (becoming firm in mature specimen) , from purple-chestnut becoming dull grey-brown. The margins occasionally have a seasonal slight flush of red at the leaf tip and base. Marginal spines are well spaced. This cultivar only blooms when the plant is 20 years old or more. The flower stalk is up to 3 (or more) meters tall with small orange to yellow flowers. After blooming the plant dies, but it leaves behind offsets that grow into replacement plants.


The Agave applanata cv. Cream Spike is a beautiful plant for containers, known for its variegated leaves. It may grow slowly, but it’s worth the wait. When grown in a container, it can take a while to reach its full size. It’s important to plant it in soil with good drainage and to give it plenty of sun or a lightly shaded area, although it may prefer some shade in hot climates. Water it when the soil is dry, but be careful not to over-water as this can cause the leaves to rot. During the winter, it only needs to be watered once every 1-2 months. This plant is generally resistant to pests and diseases, however, watch out for rodents as they can damage the plant overnight. It’s also important to make sure the soil is not too wet as it can cause stem or root rot. This plant has proven to be hardy in temperatures as low as -7 to -8 C and can be grown in USDA zones 8b-11.


Propagating Agave applanata cv. Creamy Spike is relatively easy as it produces many offsets or “pups” which can be easily pulled and re-planted. The best time to remove these suckers is in the spring or summer, and it is recommended to let the cuttings dry for a few days before planting them in compost. However, one challenge that may arise during the propagation process is the logistics of getting to the suckers, as they are often located right next to or under the mother plant, and the spines can be very sharp. To overcome this, one may use protective gear like gloves or use tools to remove the suckers safely.


The cultivar Agave applanata cv. Creamy Spike gets its name from its unique variegated leaves that have creamy white edges, which makes it a striking specimen plant. This cultivar is highly versatile, it can be used in rock gardens, hanging pots, or as a focal point in a mixed border. Its small size makes it perfect for container gardening, it can be used as a centerpiece on a patio table, in a small terrace or balcony. It only blooms once in its lifetime, and after blooming, it dies. However, it produces offsets that will grow into new plants, ensuring the continuation of the species.

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