Agave ovatifolia ‘Emerald’ is a selection of the desirable ‘Whales Tongue Agave’ that shows a more greenish colour to its broad chunky leaves whilst maintaining the dense flower bud like stance so typical of this gorgeous group of agaves. As with many of the agave varieties available to us in recent years the exact parentage and correct nomenclature is somewhat dubious. It may be that these plants are as is often the case are hybrids, there is a form known as ‘Emerald Giant’ which is a cross between Agave ovatifolia and Agave salmiana ‘Saltillo’. Who knows, I’m certainly not bold enough to make assumptions , one thing for sure is that Agave ovatifolia ‘Emerald’ is a fine plant very worthy of a place in anyones collection and a real candidate for growing outdoors in milder parts of the U.K where it should be hardy to at least minus 6 or so degrees C given perfect drainage and a sunny spot.
As with all agaves compost should be as free draining as possible especially around the base of the plant so add gravel or pebbles for maximum effect. I like to extend what is possible by building a temporary ‘roof’ over outdoor agave plants for winter protection by building a simple cover of corrugated clear plastic simply supported by 4 posts hammered into the ground just past the furthest reach of the leaves. This keeps the worst of the winter wet and frost off the the agave whilst allowing maximum air flow through the leaves. Of course most agave can be grown for many years as a container plant especially helpful if you live in a really cold spot as they can then be brought undercover during the winter months, enjoyed in a cool glasshouse or conservatory.