Plant This: Agave lophantha ‘Quadricolor’


Need a little summer sunshine in your garden? Plant an Agave lophantha ‘Quadricolor’, a small agave with golden-edged, serrated leaves with reddish teeth that grab onto sunlight and simply glow.


Stripes of pale celery, forest, and olive green run down the center of the leaves in snazzy fashion. Add in the gold along the edges, and you see why it’s called ‘Quadricolor’.


But actually you may see a fifth color in cold weather, when it may pink up around the edges. All in all, it’s a gorgeous plant.


You’ll never need to buy more than one because it’s a prodigious pupper. Baby Quads pop up regularly at the base of the mother plant, and you can either gently tug them loose or use a sharp knife to sever the roots that connect them to the mother plant. Wear gloves — this plant can bite! Let the pups harden off (sit in a shaded, warm, dry spot for a couple of days), and then you can plant them up or share with a friend. Because of the pupping, I prefer to plant ‘Quadricolor’ agave in a pot, where I can control its spread more easily. Plus a pot elevates it for close appreciation of its unique striping.

‘Quadricolor’ agave is winter hardy in Austin’s zone 8b and grows to about 1 to 1-1/2 feet tall by 1 to 2 feet wide. Sun or part sun keeps it happy. Give it excellent drainage, and water it occasionally in summer.

Note: My Plant This posts are written primarily for gardeners in central Texas. The plants I recommend are ones I’ve grown myself and have direct experience with. I wish I could provide more information about how these plants might perform in other parts of the country, but gardening knowledge is local. Consider checking your local online gardening forums to see if a particular plant might work in your region.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

24 Responses

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    This plant is a beauty.

  2. commonweeder says:

    I enjoy looking at beautiful plants like this even if I can’t grow them.

  3. Diana says:

    One of my faves, as you know. Mine are in the ground, but since they keep pupping so much, I may have to bring one in closer in a pretty pot.

  4. Kris P says:

    I picked up a small one at a fall plant sale and have it in a pot. I’m glad to hear they pup easily.

  5. I got one at Ally’s Go-Go. I think Diana brought it.
    It disappeared in the Big Flood.
    May have to get another one.
    I like the colors more than the regular Lophantha I have.

  6. Jenny says:

    This is one plant that has not been phased by our very cold winter. It can take the cold and the heat. I have them planted in the ground but only one has pupped for me. Maybe conditions aren’t generous enough here for them to reproduce or even to grow large. I am grateful for their pupping propensity though because mine all came from friends.

  7. Denise says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more. But no pups on mine yet either. And if ever there was an agave I want more of, it’d be this one.

  8. peter schaar says:

    Pam, beautiful Agave. Do you see any damage on leaves after extreme freezes? Also, where did you get yours (i. e., where could I get one)?

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Peter, I haven’t noticed any damage from freezes in our upper 20s range. I can’t remember where I got mine — probably pups shared by a friend. —Pam

    • Astra says:

      Plant Delights sells them (along with many other drool-worthy agaves). And I believe Yucca Do does as well. I’ve had great plants from both nurseries.

  9. Ragna says:

    Thanks for bringing this beautiful agave to everyone’s attention. I too wonder how a whole mound would look in the ground, or overflowing a pot. Incidently, mine did not pup until it’s third year. It now has three babies which I’ll transplant in spring and then maybe let the pot start overflowing … I hope. Mine is right out in the open with no protection at all and was not damaged in the least by cold weather.

  10. Tom in Austin says:

    I just potted up a new agave parryi truncata (after viewing an older CTG video) and adjusted my big orange “Digging” pot — seems like we’re all on the same wavelength. The agave is in dappled shade, so we’ll see how it does. It came with pups so I put them in sun for insurance….

  11. Lori says:

    I agree completely. I was thinking of putting one in the ground but wasn’t sure if it’d show freeze damage in this weather. But if Jenny’s looks fine, then mine should be fine!

  12. Audrey says:

    How big do they get?

Leave a Reply