Agave victoria reginae T. Moore
Growth Habits: This plant is slow growing but will in time make a magnificent compact plant. The succulent rosettes can in time make 18 inches in diameter (45 cm). The individual leaves are tightly curled and when they unfurl the white markings are left on the leaves. The rosettes are normally solitary, but some plants do offset quite heavily.
Scientific name: Agave victoria reginae
Common names: Queen Victoria Agave.
Synonym: Agave consideranti, Agave nickelsii, Agave ferdinand-regis.
Etymology: Agave. The word means noble. (For example: Agave americana). The specific name is in honour of Queen Victoria
Origin: Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua, Mexico
Light: The plant is said to like full sun, but I have always kept my in a little shade and they always seem to do ok. I have found over the years that the tips of leaves on both Agave and Aloes are susceptible to scorching if the sun is too fierce.
Compost: Lots of grit in the compost for this beauty and a good feed two or three times a year.
Water: All the books will tell you to water with care, but I have a friend who is an absolute whiz on Agave’s, in fact he gives talks on them and he is of the opinion that Agave’s will take all the water that you can give them, but I think his mixture is more grit than compost.
Flower: This slow growing plant could take 30-40 years before flowering. The flower stalk is 10 to 15 feet with pale green to cream flowers. Most people will be happy to miss out on the flowers as normally signal the death knell of the plant, which dies after flowering.
Min. temp: To be safe I would not let the temperature drop below 50°f. (10°c) although if the plant is almost dry it will probably stand it a little cooler with no humidity to speak of.
Cultivation: Just sit back and admire this one. It needs very little maintenance as long as the above rules are adhered to. It will take a long long time to achieve its full potential, but it is one of the few plants that improves with age.
Habitat: Agave victoria-reginae is endemic to the arid lower elevations of the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains in north eastern Mexico. The plant is endangered in its native environment, due to unsustainable harvesting by collectors. In fact there are probably more plants in cultivation than there are in habitat.
Comments: Firstly I will mention the name of the plant. The experts cannot seem to decide on the correction name. is it reginae or is it regina. Is it victoria regina[e] or victoria-regina[e]. You will see it spelt many different ways depending on which book you are looking at. I would not be without one of these and the missus who will not normally give a cactus or a succulent house room, always has one in the conservatory. As with virtually all Agave’s this one has a very strong spine on the end of each leaf of the rosette, this can cause havoc on small children, girlfriends, unwanted guests and anyone else who is silly enough to see whether they really hurt. Even the dogs not that stupid.
Photograph by kind permission of David Angus http://www.botanica.uk.net/cacti.htm