Friday, June 7, 2019

My Burgeoning xMangave Collection

I don't collect many things other than plants.  Well, and garden books.  Once I find myself under the spell of a particular plant, I tend to gravitate to others in the same genus.  That's how I ended up with collections of Leucadendrons, and Grevilleas, and Agaves.  Mangaves, properly referred to a xMangaves as they're intergeneric hybrids of Agaves and Manfreda, are a relatively recent fixation.  Collecting them hasn't been easy as the plants are rarely found in garden centers, as least in my area.  'Bloodspot', a hybrid of Agave macroacantha and Manfreda maculosa, was the first one I purchased.  I picked it up 4 years ago.  This one is still the most commonly variety available in my area.  However, within the past year, I've managed to acquire 9 other cultivars, most obtained by mail.  With a birthday present of 6 plants from Plant Delights, my husband increased my total collection from 8 to 14 plants.

I recently got all my new plants in the ground so I thought it was a good time to document my newest plant collection in a post.  The largest group have found a home in the succulent bed in front of our garage.

In retrospect, I planted this bed more sparsely than I'd like, using too many small succulents.  As many of the Mangaves will develop some girth in time, I'm hoping their addition will go a long way to filling in the space.

Clockwise from the upper left:
1) 'Bad Hair Day', perhaps my favorite, a hybrid of Agave geminiflora, A. nizandensis, and Manfreda maculosa
2) 'Jaguar' (2), part of my b-day haul, a hybrid of an unidentified Agave and Manfreda guttata
3) 'Kaleidoscope' (2), a prolific pupper, a sport of Mangave 'Jaguar'
4) 'Snow Leopard' (2), also part of my b-day present, another sport of Mangave 'Jaguar'

Manfreda maculosa, a parent of many of the xMangaves, also occupies a pot in this area


There's a second group of xMangaves in the dry garden area on the north side of the house.

I have plans to fill in the gaps between the 5 Mangaves here with other succulents

Clockwise from the upper left:
1) 'Bloodspot', one of the smaller Mangaves, a hybrid of Agave macroacantha and Manfreda maculosa
2) 'Lavender Lady', a hybrid of Mangave 'Bloodspot' and Agave attenuata
3) 'Purple People Eater' (2), from my b-day collection, a hybrid of Agave pablocarrilloi, A. macroacantha, and Manfreda
4) 'Silver Fox', another pupper, a hybrid of Agave gypsophila, A. macroacantha, and Manfreda


A few others are scattered about the garden at the moment.

From left to right:
1) 'Blazing Saddles', a Christmas gift from a friend, currently in a pot, a hybrid of xMangave 'Bloodspot' and a noID Agave
2) Another 'Kaleidoscope', this one from a benefactor who wished to remain unidentified, on my front slope
3) 'Spotty Dotty' in my bromeliad bed, a hybrid of Agave gypsophila, A. boviconuta, and Manfreda


Since most of the plants arrived in small nursery pots within the past year, they're all still relatively small but several of them are already producing pups so I hope my collection will grow in size over the next few years.  And, hopefully, local garden centers will begin to offer a broader range of choices as well.

What plants are grabbing your attention at the moment?


All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

34 comments:

  1. Mangaves! I've never even heard of them but I can see why you are so taken with them. What a fabulous collection of succulents you have. Here it's the roses which are grabbing all the attention, they are fantastic this year. But if I had your climate I would be seeking out mangaves too.

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    1. Mangaves are definitely a better bet in my garden than roses, Chloris. With all the rain we had this winter, I thought I'd get a better show of the relatively small collection of roses I have but they haven't astounded me by any means. I perhaps should have done a better job of feeding them.

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  2. Nice collection, I have a few Manfredas and enjoy them quite a lot.

    It's rare for a new bed to look filled in so yours is right on track.

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    1. I do think I've depended too much on some of the smaller succulents to serve as fillers, Shirley. While Aeonium 'Kiwi' is up to that job, many of the others I've chosen just haven't spread as I'd hoped.

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  3. They are beautiful, I can see why you are drawn to them. I think 'Kaleidoscope' is my favorite, love its red lined edge.

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    1. 'Kaleidoscope' is the plant that prompted my first mail order purchase of Mangaves despite the truly eye-popping shipping cost on top of 3.5-inch potted plants already carrying a healthy price-tag. That one is also a pupper, though, so I expect it to earn its price.

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  4. Nice collection Kris! I've gotten most of mine from the US Davis Arboretum plant sales. I am starting to see them occasionally in garden centers this year. My Kaleidoscope came from-of all places- the Armstrong in San Juan Capistrano when I stopped there in spring of 2018.. It was the only Mangave in the place in a one gal can and looked a little beat up. I have to be really aggressive with the snail situation though. Your placement looks great !

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    1. I pop into my local Armstrong probably once every 7-10 days and I've yet to see anything but 'Bloodspot' there, Kathy. (That's where my own 'Bloodspot' came from 4 years ago.) I can't fathom why a broader selection hasn't materialized here. While our local cactus and succulent society had show specimens, I didn't see any Mangaves for sale. Perhaps I just didn't arrive early enough. And maybe I'm shopping the wrong garden centers.

      As to the snails, the one valuable service the resident raccoons provide is keeping snails and slugs under control!

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  5. I can see why you like these plants. I love the spotted ones. Kaleidoscope, Snow Leopard and Silver Fox are my favorites of what you showed us. I got a wild hair this spring and tried to turn our patio into a tropical garden. I don't know what I am going to do with all of these big ole plants come October. What was I thinking?

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    1. If you don't already follow Loree's blog, thedangergarden, you might want to take a look at her preparations for winter, Lisa. She loves spiky plants but Portland isn't the most hospitable place for them either. Warning: those winter preparations aren't for the faint of heart.

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  6. Hi Kris, I have one Manfreda virginica in a pot. It wintered over fine on my patio but we had a mild winter so who knows? I really love 'Kaleidoscope' but all of yours look great in your garden and in the pots. They're fun plants. ... You commented on the Ligularia on my blog. I wonder if you could grow it in a pot with either a very small drainage hole or none at all. It sure likes water. I know what you mean about being a plant addict. I'm hopelessly addicted. But it's fun and much better than some addictions, right?

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    1. Plants are the best addiction, Grace! Re the Ligularia, I've considered that strategy and it's still an option but, given that I used a similar approach with a Fatsia 'Camouflage' now taking over my lath house, I'm hesitating. Too many plants, too little room!

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  7. Your ‘Lavender Lady' is so beautiful! My generous shipment of Mangaves earlier this year meant I put some in the ground, they’re looking quite good but now I’ll be faced with the decision of what to do come fall...

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    1. As I've just spent a good part of the last 2 days moving plants from both our patios to make room for construction workers, I have a deepened respect for what you go through each fall, Loree!

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  8. I nearly ordered some from Plant Delights but the shipping cost made me back off. More of these have started appearing here in nurseries, mostly 'Lavender Lady' and one that looks like your 'Purple People Eater.' Good to know that 'Kaleidoscope' is a pupper, maybe it will start appearing more as well. It has the most beautiful coloring of all of them, I think, although I like the white stripe on 'Snow Leopard' too.

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    1. I justified my first order from Plant Delights as it included birthday presents for a friend but that shipping cost made me balk on subsequent occasions too, Alison. I put 3 plants on the b-day wishlist requested by my husband with a warning that the only source I knew of carried a hefty shipping fee. I was frankly surprised he didn't buy me something else. However, knowing the garden centers here, I expect that any new Mangaves they bring in will also bear jaw-dropping price tags, at least until they're more commonly available and competition brings prices down. I remember the prices on Acacia 'Cousin Itt' and Yucca 'Bright Star' all too well.

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    2. Mountain Crest had several Mangaves for around $10.

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    3. Thanks for the tip! The shipping price per plant is roughly the same but there doesn't seem to be a minimum, which is a boon. The pot size for their "large" specimens is the same as PD's standard size at half the cost which is great too.

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  9. Not sure about Mangaves--seems like they would be more tender than Agaves. I'm trying a couple in moist-ish mostly shade.

    I've been doing the genus-surveys as well...mostly concluding that just collecting the outstanding performers are enough, don't need to collect the so-so ones, too--there are several fabulous Grevilleas, several fabulous Agaves, etc, etc, but not all are equally interesting. I guess I'm content just buying the "Greatest Hits" album, not every song in the catalogue.

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    1. The Mangaves on my northeast side are in sandy soil in an area not well-covered by my irrigation system and, although I can't say they're growing fast, they seem fine. Then again, this winter was rather wet.

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    2. Sorry, misspoke. My bad. Tender as in "can't take extreme sun and heat". I think it was Gerhard that said they need some shade, but of course he gardens in ferociously hot summers. Worse than ours.

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    3. Do you think that the nature of the agave in the mix might make a difference? I'm operating on that premise, keeping some of the lax-leaved Mangave cultivars like 'Kaleidoscope' in partial shade settings.

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  10. Have never come across mangaves before Kris but can understand why you are hooked. They look like starfish. 'Bad Hair Day' is a brilliant name. Hope that you have fun adding to your collection.

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    1. I expect they're not plants that would be happy in your climate outside a greenhouse, Anna!

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  11. Very impressive, Kris! I like the way you have them arranged, and the ones in pots are awesome. I could see potting a couple of them and overwintering them in my sunroom. (I keep adding plants for winter storage. ;-) ) What a great group of plants to collect!

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    1. With the speed at which new cultivars are being introduced (even if they're slow to come to market), I think I'm going to have to follow Hoover Boo's example and become more selective.

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  12. I had not heard of Mangaves but I can see why you are adding more to your collection - they have the same general shape, but are also wonderfully diverse in pattern, texture, leaf shape and colour. It's reminding me of my crazed moment recently with hostas. I meant to get a couple but ended up with a dozen. I can't wait until they start to settle in and gain some size - all were in 1 gallon pots, so they are relatively small, but some are supposed to get over 5' across.

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    1. It's probably lucky, at least for my pocketbook, that the Mangaves are still so hard to find here, Margaret. Most are relatively short in stature but many make up for that in girth so I look forward to their filling out.

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  13. I've also started using Mangaves and Manfreda's in the landscape over the last few years. They've all done well in full sun and or filtered sun with minimal watering. One that has done exceptionally well is "Mission to Mars" which grew from a smallish 1gal size to 3' wide in just a year! Oh - and I planted a good dozen "Lavender Ladies" in my front yard back in Dec... so looking forward to them growing.

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    1. If I'd realized my husband would pony up for 6 Mangaves, I'd have added 'Mission to Mars' to my list, Hans. As it turns out, that one is on offer at a reduced cost by Mountain Crest, another mail order nursery Hoover Boo (Piece of Eden) pointed me to. Their plants are small but, if it grows as quickly as yours has, I may go for that option.

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  14. Most of these would not survive our winter outside. I am always amazed at the large variety of plants that grow with so little rain in your area. Your garden is a botanical wonder. It must be wonderful to view it in person!

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    1. You'd be welcome any time you're in the area, Deb, although the garden may be in serious disarray for the next 6 months as we (finally) kick off our home remodel. In addition to expecting collateral damage to the garden by workers, we've had to clear out both our patios and I now have pots scattered all over the place. I'm not sure when I accumulated so many...

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  15. Beautiful plants. Easy to see why you love them. I have a few in my collection but they get dragged inside during the coldest months of winter.

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    1. As I mentioned to Loree, I have renewed respect for the extent you in the PNW go to to take care of your plants after hauling several dozen of my own to temporary homes within the past week, Peter.

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