Agaves in a Celebrity Hybridizer’s Garden

– Posted in: Succulents

'Blue Glow'

The first time I saw Agave ‘Blue Glow’, in a photo like the one above, I thought I was looking at a watercolor painting. A Kelly Griffin hybrid, it entered the nursery trade in 2005, and has since become one of the most commercially successful succulents. It does well in containers or in the ground, grows no larger than 3 feet in diameter, is beautiful repeated in landscapes, and is hardy to 20 degrees F. As you might imagine, when I visited Kelly, I was delighted to see additional ‘Blue Glow’ hybrids in his own garden. These are not available yet, but likely will be:

'Sun Glow'

'Snow Glow'

“I have five variegated forms of ‘Blue Glow’,” Kelly said. “In addition to these, which are the easiest to reproduce (at least at present), there are a dwarf form, one that is striated light green and dark green, and a compact form.” Not all the agaves in Kelly’s garden are crosses. Some of them are natural mutations, such as this brilliantly colored variegate of Agave bovicornuta, arguably one the most gorgeous of all succulents.

Agave bovicornuta, featured photo

Agave parrasana ‘Fireball’ is not flashy, but is lovely in its own way. Note the pastel hues in the teeth along the leaf margins, and the steely blue-green of the leaves themselves.


At first glance, I assumed this little guy was a common Agave americana ‘Marginata’ pup, which it resembles. But when Kelly explained that it’s a rare variegate of Agave ovatifolia, the whale’s tongue agave, I gasped. Named ‘Orca’, it’s Kelly’s favorite of all his variegated agaves. When it grows up, I want to go back.



You also might enjoy watching my YouTube videos, Kelly Griffin’s Own Succulent Garden (Part One): Variegated Agaves; and Kelly Griffin’s Own Succulent Garden (Part Two): Variegated Aloes.


Debra Lee Baldwin
Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored the Timber Press bestsellers Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified. Debra is a regular contributor to Sunset and other publications, and her own half-acre garden near San Diego has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens. Debra specializes in showing how to use architectural, waterwise and easy-care succulents in a wide variety of appealing and creative applications.
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin

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Leave a Comment

Tira January 6, 2015, 4:14 am

Thanks Debra for showcasing some lovely plants. I have an a. blue glow about 8 years now, got it at flora grubb. Those variations in your pics. look great. Also have blue flame. Thanks again for continuing to be my major inspiration for my succulent gardens!

Katie January 6, 2015, 3:21 pm

Wow–these are SO COol!!! How are the sun and snow glows created, though? It seems that hybridization wouldn’t be able to cause variegation. Are these just chance variegations that have been cloned/cored?

Round Rock Landscaping March 4, 2015, 5:43 pm

Agaves are a great plant in a landscape. Here in central Texas, we have most varieties, but the blue glow is one not seen much. Its a beautiful plant!

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