Regions / Western States
A plant's performance is not only governed by its hardiness or heat tolerance but also by many other factors such as the length of growing season, timing and amount of rainfall, winter lows, summer highs, wind, and humidity. Sunset Magazine has developed a Climate Zones map, which takes all these factors into account and has long been the standard among gardeners who live in the 13 western states. Unlike the U.S.D.A. map which tells you only where a plant may survive the winter, the Climate Zones map shows where that plant will thrive year-round.
Unlike many Agaves, Agave attenuata (Fox Tail Agave) is an evergreen succulent perennial which produces a handsome rosette of silvery, pale green leaves, up to 4 ft. wide (120 cm), without teeth or terminal spines. Born on a thick stem which can reach 4 ft. (120 cm), the rosette is composed of flexible leaves which gracefully arch back, resembling an open flower.
A fascinating North American Agave, Agave chrysantha (Golden Flowered Century Plant) is an evergreen, perennial succulent forming a pretty rosette of fleshy, sword-shaped, grey-green leaves which radiate gracefully from the center of the plant, giving it a neat and rounded shape. Deeply guttered, the leaves are lined with sharp spines along their edges and with a terminal spine.
Slow growing, Agave colorata (Mescal Ceniza) is an evergreen, perennial succulent forming a rosette of fleshy, nearly spoon-shaped, powdery blue leaves with particularly fascinating crossbanding. Rough textured, the leaves are deeply scalloped and lined with formidable, dark brown teeth along their margins and tipped with a stout terminal spine.
Extremely cold hardy, Agave havardiana (Havard Agave) is an evergreen, perennial succulent forming a tight rosette of fleshy, broad, cupped, silver-gray leaves. Adding an attractive texture and interest year-round, the leaves are heavily lined with dark brown teeth along their margins and tipped with a wickedly sharp black terminal spine.
An unforgettable sight, Agave nickelsiae, previously named Agave ferdinandi-regis, is an evergreen, perennial succulent forming a striking compact rosette of stout, smooth and spineless, dark olive green leaves. Each leaf is beautifully adorned with ornamental white bud prints. Lacking teeth along the edges, they instead exhibit narrow white margins and are tipped by a contrasting black terminal spine.
Surprisingly cold hardy, Agave ovatifolia 'Frosty Blue' (Whale's Tongue Agave) is an evergreen, perennial succulent forming a solitary rounded rosette of thick, broad, distinctively cupped, gray to powdery-blue leaves. Adding interesting texture and interest year-round, the leaves are lined with small teeth along their margins and tipped with a dark gray terminal spine.
Surprisingly cold hardy, Agave ovatifolia (Whale's Tongue Agave) is an evergreen, perennial succulent forming a solitary rounded rosette of thick, broad, slightly cupped, gray to powdery-blue leaves. Adding interesting texture and interest year-round, the leaves are lined with small teeth along their margins and tipped with a long terminal spine.
Highly sought after, Agave parryi var. truncata 'Huntington' (Artichoke Agave) is an evergreen, perennial succulent forming tight rosettes of thick, broad, short, pale blue-gray leaves with widely spaced small teeth and a wavy terminal spine. Dark reddish-brown on new leaves, the spines fade to gray on older leaves. Adding intriguing beauty, the leaves carry on their lower surfaces the distinct imprints of the thorny leaf margins of the previous outer leaf-bud.
Incredibly attractive, award-winning Agave victoriae-reginae is an evergreen, perennial succulent forming a perfectly spherical, solitary rosette of thick, smooth and spineless, dark green leaves. Each leaf is adorned with almost 'hand-painted' white margins and a small terminal spine.
Prized for its graceful foliage, Aloe vilmoriniana (Octopus Agave) is an evergreen succulent perennial adding great interest in the landscape. It forms a solitary rosette of long, slender, gray-green leaves that arch and undulate, resembling the tentacles of an octopus. The teethless edges of the leaves curl inward, particularly around the tips.
One of the tallest, Ageratum houstonianum 'Blue Horizon' (Floss Flower) features fluffy round clusters of lavender to purplish-blue flowers resembling asters.
Ajuga reptans 'Black Scallop' (Carpet Bugle) is a creeping perennial prized for its short spikes of fragrant, deep blue flowers and very glossy, near-black, scalloped leaves. Blooming in late spring to early summer, the flowers rise above the contrasting, spreading rosettes formed by the leaves, putting on an eye-catching display.
Fast growing, Ajuga reptans 'Blueberry Muffin' (Carpet Bugle) is a vigorous evergreen perennial prized for its blueberry-blue flowers and thick leaves, which quickly form a dense mat of attractive rosettes. Emerging with a bronze flush in mid-spring, the small but weather resistant, green leaves contrast nicely with the lavender-blue flower spikes
Fast growing, Ajuga reptans 'Bronze Beauty' (Carpet Bugle) is a vigorous perennial prized for its rich blue flowers and contrasting bronze-tinged leaves, which quickly form a dense mat of attractive rosettes. Ajuga reptans is valued as a wonderful spreader making a colorful groundcover, which will thrive in shady areas where grass has difficulty growing.
Noted for its wonderful tricolored foliage, Ajuga reptans 'Burgundy Glow' (Carpet Bugle) is a popular low-growing perennial prized for its short spikes of pretty blue flowers and contrasting creamy-white, rose-burgundy, and dark green foliage. Spreading more slowly than many other varieties, 'Burgundy Glow' will form over time a thick mat of attractive, lustrous rosettes.
Noted for its extremely dwarf habit and chocolate foliage, Ajuga reptans 'Chocolate Chip' (Carpet Bugle) is a ground-hugging perennial prized for its bluish-purple flower spikes on display in mid to late spring. The blossoms rise slightly above the foliage of tiny, glossy, oval leaves which are chocolate with burgundy highlights.
Vigorously spreading, Akebia quinata (Chocolate Vine) is a dainty semi-evergreen, twining, woody vine with dangling racemes of small, wine-red flowers with a spicy, chocolate fragrance in spring. The blooms stand out against the bright green foliage of elliptic leaflets which becomes purple flushed in cold weather.