May 2009 Plant Profile: Beschorneria septentrionalis

Dubbed as the “False Red Agave”, this Mexican native is slowly making a presence as a architectural, hardy perennial plant for the Pacific Northwest. We received this as a donation from Far Reaches Farms (www.farreachesfarm.com) and decided to grow it in a container. Fearing that it didn’t survive our exceptionally cold and wet winter, it came through just fine in a sheltered location. I moved it out into the Soest garden up against the hedge where it benefits from the radiated heat from the path and gravel to produce several stalks of bright red-pink with campanulate red flowers with a greenish tip. It is becoming more and more readily available; a hybrid selection called ‘Ding Dong’ is quite prominent. This is definitely a conversation starter!

Location: Container in the Soest Garden
Family: Agavaceae
Origin: Mexico
Height: Plant is about 1.5 ft. tall and the flower stalks reach 4-5 ft.
Spread: Forms a clump to 1 meter wide after several years
Bloom Time: Early Summer
Bloom Color: Pale read with green shades
Exposure: Full Sun
Water/Soil: Require little water when established, but can take moist rich soil as long as drainage is optimal.