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HECHTIA galeottii

Image of Hechtia galeottii

James H. Schutte

Family

Bromeliaceae

Botanical Name

HECHTIA galeottii

Plant Common Name

False Agave

General Description

Commonly called false agave, this species of dry land bromeliad inhabits the canyons of southern Mexico and closely resembles a small Agave, as its common name suggests. It is a tender, semi-succulent perennial that forms a rosette of spiny leaves. Though attractive, this species is rarely cultivated.

The long, pointed, linear leaves of this Hechtia emanate outward from a dense rosette. They are sharply toothed, light to medium green on the tops and whitish gray on the undersides. In early summer, mature rosettes send up tall, branched flower spikes with dense, tufted rows of cream to pale yellow flowers. These are funnel-shaped and pollinated by insects and hummingbirds. After flowering and setting seed, the rosette will slowly degrade and die but not before small plantlet “pups” appear along the base of the dwindling mother plant.

Grow this species of false agave in full to partial sun and sandy or gravelly, fast-draining soil with some organic matter. Tolerant of extreme heat and drought, some supplemental water is needed in the heat of the growing season and little to none is required in winter. This tender desert plant may be grown in southerly rock gardens or dry summer containers. It can tolerate light frosts if the soil is dry.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6"-9" / 15.2cm - 22.9cm

  • Width

    5"-10" / 12.7cm - 25.4cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Light Yellow, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Gray Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Olive, Silver

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    No