The original plant of Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ was wild collected from habitat near Coahuila, Mexico, by John Trager and Myron Kimnach and it was first distributed by the International Succulent Introduction (ISI). Since its introduction into cultivation in early 2000, Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ has been a collector’s delight. Slower to offset compared to other Echeveria agavoides types and greater growing difficulty in cultivation have kept the price up. Demand in Europe and Asia in turn has kept supply limited. I bought my first Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ six years ago on eBay for $75. That might sound cheap for this plant back in the day when you consider Asians were buying these for $500+ and shipping them back home. The Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ I received back then was only 2 inches in diameter and died a few months later. Since its untimely death I avoided looking for a replacement due to high cost. Fast forward to last week and an opportunity presented itself which I couldn’t pass up.
Many of those shown above were old, sun-grown Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony.’ And the best part? They were only $50! I was scared to ask for the price again, thinking the owner might have misspoken. But the seller reiterated the price was $50, so two ended up in my car for the ride to their new home.
Often confused with the really available Echeveria agavoides ‘Lip Stick,’ Ebony typically have wider leaves which are also more dull green in appearance. The most desirable trait of Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ are the maroon to dark purple leaf tips. In perfect specimens, this coloration extends around the entire top half of the leaf. Cool weather will really bring out the deeper color, making winter the best time to admire this plant.
Perhaps someday, with great care, one of the plants I just bought will look like this exceptional Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ I saw at the SDCSS Summer Plant Show last year.
The flower on Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ is not a selling point like it can be on other Echeverias types. In fact, after I took the photos for this blog post, I actually removed all the flowers from my two plants.
Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ is becoming more readily available thanks to all the tissue culturing being done on it. I have been to two nurseries recently where they had pots upon pots of seedlings being grown up for resale in the future. The plants that do end up in tissue culture are usually the nicest form you can find. For this reason I bought two different tissue culture forms off eBay last year. I am still a few years away from seeing how nice these turn out. Each of these plants was $30. A far cry from the $75 I paid for a smaller plant years back.
One reason I was so excited to find a good deal on these large plants is that I had a pot just waiting around to be planted out with Echeverias. Now that I finally found the sun-hardened center piece in my new Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony,’ I was able to finish it. I love how it turned out.
I know for many plant buyers, $50 won’t feel like the price has dropped on Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony.’ However, for a guy used to seeing them sold for hundreds of dollars, I feel as though I got a heck of a deal. To each their own.