What is a bulbil? They are small plantlets that form on the flower stems of many plants. Many agaves form thousands of these plants. But in nature, out of thousands of plants that fall to the ground, only a half a dozen or so will take root.
These are two bulbils from Agave vilmoriniana that bloomed in late 2007. One of the parent plants was much bigger then the other. The smaller plant was a 2nd or 3rd generation bulbil from a plant a I bought years ago at the Living Desert.
This is a flat of 16 of the larger bulbils. Although many bulbils form roots, as they develop on the flower stem, these bulbils had no roots.
This is a flat of 16 bulbils from my plants (the smaller one). They seem to root quicker then the larger bulbils but that could have more to do with the temperature as they were planted about a month apart.
On August 19th, 2008 we planted 19 flats of agave Vilmoriniana and on the 20th we planted 13 more flats for a total of 512 bulbils planted in two days. We’ve started to move the plants in the flats in the above photos to gallon containers. We planted them and over 480 bulbils in flats in November and December 2007. We’re moving them to gallon now after just 8 months in 4 inch pots. So there should be over 500 vilmoriniana for 2009. We’re also harvesting and planting over 1000 agave Desmettiana bulbils. I don’t think most of them will be ready for guerrilla gardening until 2010.
Last spring (2008) an agave “Tequila sunrise” flowered. I’ve never seen tequila sunrise bloom anywhere so I watched to see if it would form bulbils. After months of nothing and the blooms looking about done, with nothing but seed pods, I almost gave up hope. But in late November I saw the little plantlet’s pushing out. I harvested well over 500 bulbils of this beautiful, rare plant. I also collected dozens of seed pods so we’ll be trying to grow thousands of plants from seeds. I’ll start to plant the bulbils early 2009 and there might be some ready for late 2009.