Wednesday, 17 August 2011

When deformed growth is good.

Normally it is very upsetting when plants start to grow abnormally. You put all that effort into growing a pristine plant and then something damages it, totally spoiling all your hard work. Often we manage to turn these bad events into something positive; loosing the growing point may force off-sets, even loosing the plant frees up a space for something else.

Sometimes it is this unusual growth that gets the plant onto our wish-list. I have posted a picture of this cristate aeonium before and it has grown a lot since then.  Instead of one wide stem there are now multiple snaking stems giving it a Medusa like appearance. Cristate plants are quite common and most collectors have either bought or had a plant go cristate on them.

But perhaps the holy grail of unusual growth is where the the plant grows as a single plant but is so different that it warrants a name of its own.  These plants are few and far between and so not something I ever expected to manage myself.  A month or so back I found this agave at a local garden center.  It was obviously not growing normally and I spent a long time looking at it wondering how it would grow,  the last couple of leaves seemed to be split into three sections, but this could easily be one off damage.

Anyway I took the plunge and a month on it is really developing nicely, or should that be badly? 

The latest leaf is something very different, it is split into three sections with spines running down between them.

If it carries on growing like this then it's going to be really amazing, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that it continues to be deformed. I would LOVE to see an entire plant with leaves like this, that would open up a whole other set of decisions!


  1. THAT IS FREAKY!'s a little disturbing in a nightmare sort of way...

  2. In that last photo it does look like the leaf has developed two paws that are reaching out.

  3. I still love it even if it's deformed.

    Cassy from Acoustic Guitar Lessons

  4. I love it! What a cool deformation. I got a big beautiful aeonium cristate this year but it is not doing well. Really bummed. Hopefully it will overwinter better and grow.

  5. Very weird! I occasionally run into mutant sempervivum at the nursery, sedum angelina also seems to do weird things sometimes. Sometimes the mutant is better then it's predecessor. Cool Post!

  6. I would agree, many of th ebest plants come from mutations. Sadly I thins one is on the mend and not going to continue.