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Agaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants: A Gardener's Guide

By Mary Irish and Gary Irish

A must-read for lovers of these spectacular plants ... well-organized, friendly, inviting.

Lauren Springer Ogden, Horticulture

These exotic natives of the Americas are among the most striking of drought-tolerant plants, and they make wonderful accents in the landscape, providing excellent contrasts to flowering perennial plantings. They can also be massed effectively, and many of the species are small, ideal for use in containers.

The authors point out that innovative nurseries and gardeners in cool, humid regions of North America and Europe have shown that many of these plants may be suitable for areas with climates very different from their native range. Full information on cultivation and propagation is provided.

Media reviews

"This is a must-read for lovers of these spectacular plants ... well-organized, friendly, inviting."

—Lauren Springer Ogden, Horticulture

"An admirable blend of general information with scientific and technical detail."


"This encyclopedic book supplies all the information you need to succeed with these plants ... Both authors known their subjects extremely well."


"Another wonderful resource."

—Sarah Robertson, Eugene Register-Guard

"Mary and Gary Irish provide detailed guidance on care, cultivation, and gardening uses."

Desert Plants

"As a highly informative guide, it has a place in any Southwestern botanical library, public or private."

Santa Fe New Mexican

"Valuable information and advice on how to grow these striking exotic plants."

Wisley Bookshop

"This is a very useful account of a group of plants about which it is not easy to find good, concisely presented information."

—Brian Mathew, Curtis's Botanical Magazine

"This book is an important and useful reference."

—A. M. Kapuler, Peace Seeds Resource Journal

"Mary and Gary Irish have provided a meticulous and thorough guide to every species of Agavaceae native to the United States and Canada, and a good many more southerly sorts that can be found in commerce ... The plant descriptions are precise (both in feet and down to the centimeter) and consistent."

—Panayoti Kelaidis, Rock Garden Quarterly

"You’ll find all the information here, from choosing the right one to siting to growing to propagation."

—Marty Figley, Michigan Observer and Eccentric

"You're in for a treat ... Full of interesting tidbits and in-depth growing information."

Phoenix Home and Garden

"A wealth of information on the cultivation and gardening uses of Agave and Yucca."

SciTech Book News

"I toast the Irish. This is a truly outstanding work."

—Rudolf Schmid, Taxon

"Agaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants, by Mary and Gary Irish brilliantly covers a group of unusually handsome, drought-tolerant 'architectural' perennial plants that offer a great variety in sizes and forms and in many cases are remarkably cold-hardy and suited to moist as well as arid regions."

Avant Gardener

"A useful and authoritative new reference."

—William May, American Gardener

"An excellent introduction to this delightful group ... Mary and Gary Irish have produced a book that will be an invaluable reference for the enthusiast and a source of inspiration for those not yet familiar with these useful and beautiful plants."

—Dean Kelch, Pacific Horticulture

"An important work written by a devoted expert, Begonias is a must read for gardeners and botanists."


"For those who want to learn more about yuccas, agaves and related plants such as Beaucarnea, Beshorneria and Dasylirion, I recommend Timber Press's Agaves, Yuccas and Related Plants by Mary and Gary Irish. [It] is an excellent reference work."

—Jim Reynolds, Hardy Plant International

"A very useful account of a group of plant about which it is not easy to find good, concisely presented information."

Curtis's Botanical Magazine

"[The Authors] have provided a meticulous and thorough guide to every species of Agavaceae native to the United States and Canada ... The drawings and pictures are useful, and much of the information contained in this book is otherwise only found in very bulky, expensive monographs, many of them now out of print."

—Panayoti Kelaidis, Rock Garden Quarterly

"This is a well-written book providing a wealth of information. It should prove useful not only to gardeners and plant collectors but also to professional botanists and horticulturalists. It is long overdue and is the first book covering this entire group of plants ... Enjoy this one – it is worth the price."

—David Ferguson, Cactus and Succulent Journal

"This fine book fills a significant gap on the gardener's bookshelf ... The enthusiasm of the two authors shines through and should bring many converts to these formidable plants."

—Gordon Rowley, Garden (Peterborough)

"The authors have provided a thorough overview of these families."

Garden Views

"This volume is packed with both information and inspiration."

Amateurs' Digest

"Nursery professionals, landscape contractors, designers and adventurous gardeners owe the Irishes a round of applause. Agaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants fills a much-needed niche in the western gardener's library."

—Elizabeth Davidson, Arizona Nursery Association Newsletter

About the authors

Mary Irish

Mary Irish is a prominent voice in southwestern horticulture. She once hosted a weekly Phoenix-based radio show called "The Arizona Gardener," and has appeared on countless news and lifestyle programs on television regarding desert gardening.

Read more about Mary Irish

Want this author to speak at your event? Visit the Timber Press Speakers Bureau

Gary Irish

Gary Irish holds a master's degree in plant geography from Texas A&M University, and is the manager of the computer mapping section for the Arizona State Land Department.

Read more about Gary Irish

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