My neighbor’s (now-retired) gardener, Alfons, and I used to trade plants. A few years ago he gave me a little plant that he said was a maguey (agave) that grew in the desert around his house in Chihuahua.
I was hoping it was something like an exotic agave used to make high-end mescal or native medicines, but he said “no”, it was just a little maguey that grew by the rocks. In the summer heat it turned red.
Okay, not secret mescal cool, but cool enough from an “authentic native of Chihuahua, Mexico” perspective.
Turns out that it wasn’t a little maguey, but an Echeveria agavoides, which is a member of the stonecrop (Crassulaceae) family of succulents. Though, in Alfons’ defense, the “agavoides” in the botanical name is a reference to the fact that it looks like an agave.
As a native of Alfons’ desert backyard, I doubt it’s a fancy subspecies like “prolifera” or “lipstick.” Rather, it’s most likely just the run-of-the-mill variety common to that area — as exotic as green grass in Ireland, I suppose.
Up until recently, I’d left this plant outside where it happily sat direct sun and desert heat in the summer (yes, it does turn red), and mostly shade and overnight freezes in the winter.
This winter’s been a weird one though, and recently it delivered high wind gusts and rain strong enough to blow the pots over and roll them down the slope. Tired of retrieving the pots (and plants) from the hillside, I moved them all into the greenhouse to ride out the remainder of winter.
Apparently the move is one the agaviodes liked, because not only is it producing a whole bunch of fresh growth, but, for the first time, every rosette, except the newest one, has also decided to flower.
The flower stalks and the outside of the flower are bright pink, but the inside of the flower itself is bright yellow. Pretty cool indeed.