Agaves book cover

New Must-Have Agave Book

The new book, Agaves: Species, Cultivars & Hybrids by Jeremy Spath and Jeff Moore is a must-have. The authors are unashamedly---and endearingly---besotted with these fanged, fountain-shaped New World plants. Moreover, at $39.95 for 350 pages and 2,000+ images, Agaves is a no-brainer bargain for succulent aficionados.

Stunning photos capture the beauty and fierceness of these sculptural succulents in ways both artistic and definitive. The book has comprehensive cultivation info and plant IDs. And it's a good read.

Authors and nursery owners Jeremy Spath (Hidden Agave) and Jeff Moore (Solana Succulents) have become major players on the succulent scene. This is Jeff's fifth book on succulents, and the first he's co-authored. Jeremy brings extensive knowledge of the genus and habitat photos of species and hybrids; Jeff, per the Preface, "a knowledge of book building and more of a general succulent enthusiast's approach." He's too modest---Jeff's erudite yet easy-going style may be the best part. Both are professional landscape designers with---no surprise---a good eye for color, form and aesthetics.

I received a copy to review.

See My Hidden Agave Video

In my earlier video tour of Jeremy's nursery and display gardens, both he and Jeff talk about plants (duh), and---at 4:49---they introduce their new book.

My only problem...

...with the new Agaves book is deciding which excerpts to share with you. I chose these for their visual appeal and descriptions. Below each photo is corresponding text from the book.

Agave garden by Jeremy Spath (c) Agaves by Jeremy Spath & Jeff Moore

Agave garden by Jeremy Spath

"When the homeowner told Jeremy he was also an agave enthusiast and wanted to go for it, Jeremy almost fell to his knees and wept in gratitude and anticipation."

Agaves at Santa Barbara mission (c) Agaves by Jeremy Spath & Jeff Moore

Agaves at Santa Barbara mission

"Although there were precious few agaves available in the early days of the missions (perhaps Agave americana and/or Agave sisalana had been carried north by then), the newly available species and hybrids shown here look very appropriate."

Agave turns red when dying (c) Agaves by Jeremy Spath & Jeff Moore

Certain agaves may turn red when dying

"In the same way some tree leaves take on warm colors in the fall, when agaves...focus all their remaining energy on the huge inflorescence, the resulting no-longer-needed chlorophyll cells break down, and the underlying warm-colored carotenoid pigments remain...a happy chemical result...sort of like a rainbow."

Imprinting on Agave leaves (c) Agaves by Jeremy Spath & Jeff Moore

Imprinting on Agave leaves

"One of the most endearing traits of some agaves is the phenomenon of imprinting. This fantastic patterning is a result of the leaves being compressed together as they form...resulting in a very artful and eye-pleasing plant...such specialized growth [is] similar to fossilized imprints... The fact that it becomes art is a whimsical bonus."

Agave albopilosa (c) Agaves by Jeremy Spath and Jeff Moore

Agave albopilosa

"Outside of Monterrey in Nuevo Leon is a maze of limestone canyons that fan out of the earth. The incredibly steep slate gray walls...are inaccessible without climbing gear---a jet pack would be ideal. [This is] where Agave albopilosa grows. Tufts of hair on the tips of the leaves become saturated with moisture from fog; water then drips down the leaf, feeding the roots.

Agave tequilana (c) Agaves by Jeremy Spath & Jeff Moore

Agave tequilana 'Tequila Sunrise'

"This is the agave of distilled tequila fame...almost everyone, your humble authors included, usually pronounce the name wrong. Most of us say 'tuh- KEEL-ee-ah-nuh', but there is no 'i' after the 'l' - it should be 'tuh-keel-AH-nuh'."

Teeth on agaves (c) Agaves by Jeremy Spath & Jeff Moore

Teeth on agave leaf margins

"Agave edge-spines can somehow be simultaneously threatening, yet stunningly beautiful."

Variegation of agaves (c) Agaves by Jeremy Spath & Jeff Moore

Examples of variegation of agaves

"Variegation...can manifest itself in myriad ways---orderly stripes, haphazard streaking, two- or three-tone variations, or blurry or milky yellows or whites."

Best Way to Get a Copy

As Jeff requests in the video, instead of getting the book from a large distributor (from which he and Jeremy receive very little), "try to buy it from the authors first if you can." Come by either nursery or order from them online.

Jeff Moore, Solana Succulents, 355 N. Hwy 101, Solana Beach, CA;; 858/259-4568.

Jeremy Spath, Hidden Agave Nursery, Escondido, CA (by appointment only); email

Do you already have the book? Looking forward to getting it? Tell us what you think in the Comments below! -- Debra


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Hidden Agave nursery garden (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

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Agaves: Uses, Photos, IDs and Varieties

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  1. Sylvia McMaster on October 13, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    So many beautiful agaves!, so little space. I which I had space for one of each.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on October 13, 2021 at 1:42 pm

      LOL, I agree! Thanks, Sylvia!

  2. Nancy Mumpton on October 13, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    Bought my copy of the book from Jeremy at Hidden Agave, Debra. Thanks so much for the heads up! Can’t wait until it comes!

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on October 13, 2021 at 4:12 pm

      Oh, Nancy, you’re such a love! You won’t be disappointed ;+)

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