Agave pygmaea ‘Dragon Toes’


Agave pygmaea ‘Dragon Toes’, as a specific cultivar of the Agave genus, doesn’t typically have botanical synonyms in the same way species do, because it’s a named variety rather than a naturally occurring species.


Agave pygmaea ‘Dragon Toes’, a distinctive variety of the Agave genus, is native to Mexico. This succulent is adapted to arid, desert-like environments where it thrives in well-drained, rocky soils. Typically found in the wild on mountain slopes and in rocky terrains, it is well-suited to withstand hot and dry conditions, making it a popular choice for drought-tolerant gardens.


‘Dragon Toes’ is a smaller succulent belnonging to the Asparagaceae botanical family. The plant typically reaches about 30-50 cm in height and spread. It is known for its compact, rosette shape with short, broad leaves. The leaves are a striking blue-green color, with pronounced reddish-brown spines on the edges and tips, resembling the ‘toes’ of a dragon. As the plant matures, the leaves may curve inward, giving the rosette a tight, spherical appearance. This variety does not typically flower frequently, but when it does, it produces a tall stalk with yellow flowers.


This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full sunlight exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light during the hottest periods. The plant does not like temperatures below 10°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow for drainage and prevent root rot, as the plant is prone to it. Remember to use a perforated pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in spring and summer: during the vegetative period you can water the plant every 7 days, checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again. In winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a faster and lusher growth, you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with specific fertilizers for succulents; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. If the pot becomes too small for the plant, you can repot it in a pot that is 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Be careful to red spiders and mealybugs.


Agave pygmaea ‘Dragon Toes’ is usually propagated through offsets or “pups” that grow around the base of the mother plant. These pups can be removed once they have developed their own roots and are large enough to survive independently. The separation process involves carefully digging around the pup and severing the connecting root to the parent plant. The pup should then be allowed to dry for a few days to form a callous before being planted in well-draining soil.


The Mesoamerican civilizations have long exploited the agave properties: it was used to get drinks, syrups, animal feed, textile fibers, medicinal packs. Some of these uses are still standing: the tequila, for example, is made by Agave Blue. The plant’s relatively slow growth rate and unique aesthetic appeal make it a fascinating subject for both novice and experienced gardeners. Its ‘dragon-like’ features add an exotic touch to any garden setting, embodying both the ruggedness of its native terrain and the whimsical nature of its cultivated form.

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