The Corpus Callosum

Agave From Root Cuttings

Last February, we had a very unusual hard freeze. It killed a lot of plants.

The prior year, I had gotten an agave from a local nursery. It was a nice specimen, about 12 inches wide; it cost $25. In the freeze, it died. So I removed all the dead matter above ground. In the springtime, I watered it sparingly. After a couple of months, there was no visible growth.

One weekend, I went and bought a plant to replace it. The new plant is a Dasylirion wheeleri, aka sotol, or desert spoon. These things grow in the mountains, where it actually snows sometimes. Ought to be able to tolerate a freeze or two.

When I dug a hole for the sotol, I found a lot of thick, moist, viable-looking root from the agave. Somewhere, sometime, I had read about propagation from root cuttings. So I used some cactus potting mix, in a 12-inch terra cotta pot. I put the root cuttings in a coil, about an inch below the surface. I placed them outdoors, in dappled shade. Then, I waited. I watered them sparingly, occasionally.

Last week, I noticed that two of the four have sprouted new plants.


At this point, I only have to wait about ten years, and I will have two decent specimens.


  1. #1 informania
    August 15, 2011

    How come you still insist it died?
    It obviously didn’t..

  2. #2 Bill
    August 24, 2011

    Great blog.

  3. #3 William
    August 25, 2011

    Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel.

  4. #4 Logtar
    September 1, 2011

    Very neat… glad you saved them.

  5. #5 Sesli Chat
    February 7, 2012

    Bir hafta sonu, gitti ve bunun yerini almak üzere bir tesisi satın aldı. Yeni bir Dasylirion wheeleri, aka sotol, ya da çöl kaşık olduğunu. Bunları nerede o aslında bazen Karlar dağlarda büyür. Hiç bir dondurma ya da iki tahammül edebilmek için.

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