This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum Durable Delights, 30 can't-fail, easy-care plants well-adapted to our region.
Agave americana "Variegata"
Size: Under 5 feet tall
Bloom season: Seldom flowers
Exposure: Full sun
Pruning needs: Little or none
Water needs: Once established, water deeply once or twice a month.
Snapshot: The striped agave provides a dramatic focal point in sunny spots where water is unavailable. Growing only half the size of other large agave species, it's more adaptable to today's smaller landscapes. The most common of the variegated agaves, this striped beauty has impressive (and pointy) gray-green leaves with creamy, yellow-white stripes on the margins along with saw-toothed edges. The leaves curve gracefully to form a spectacular rosette. Native to northeastern Mexico, this perennial loves sun (south or east exposures are ideal) and well-drained soil. Hardy to 20 degrees, it prefers a location protected from too much rain in winter. It also makes an attractive container plant. You can see specimens in the arboretum teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.
For more on Durable Delights, click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu
See the arboretum's Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars at http://www.sacbee.com/home_garden