What appears at first glance to be a sad, droopy plant is actually a thriving life source for insects and birds.
Sending up an arching, flower-covered stem after growing for ten years, the fox tail agave blooms starting in late summer through early spring. It is a magnet for bees and birds including hummingbirds, common yellowthroats and yellow-rumped warblers.
Here’s a short clip of bees visiting the blossoms on a neighborhood plant: https://youtu.be/oJHRkRgLTns
The flowers open gradually, starting at the base of the inflorescence and working up to the tip, a journey of several feet. Fox tail agave make a splash due to a relatively short life span: once the blooms are spent (which takes several weeks) the plant dies, leaving behind an array of rosette-leaved younger plants around the base.
Unlike most agaves, the fox tail has no spines. This botanical plant family also gives us tequila and agave nectar. We’ll drink to that!