Friday, January 24, 2020

My Expanding xMangave Collection

xMangaves are intergeneric hybrids created by breeding Manfredas with various species of Agaves.  I didn't know much about them when I got my first one, 'Blood Spot', in 2015.  Sometime after that they exploded in popularity as more and more hybrids were created.  Unfortunately, few garden centers or nurseries in my own area offered them.  A few crept into the local trade in 2019 but the majority of those I've collected since 2015 have come via mail order nurseries and as gifts.  This week following a meeting, the South Coast Botanic Garden docents had an opportunity to tour the garden's propagation unit and I was pleased to see that volunteer propagators have created their own hybrid.

The plant on the left and its siblings in the next 2 photos are hybrids of a Manfreda and Agave potatorum.  The new creation reminds me a bit of 'Spotty Dotty' but this one has nicely curving leaves along the lines of 'Falling Waters'.

I'm hoping that one will show up at the garden's Spring Festival and Plant Sale in April.  In the meantime, I decided it was a good time to take an inventory of what I already have.

My newest and generally smallest specimens are tucked into what I call my bromeliad bed (even though there are now more succulents than bromeliads there).

This is 'Falling Waters', which I got by mail order from Mountain Crest Gardens

'Mission to Mars', one of 3 Mangaves Gerhard Bock of Succulents & More kindly picked up for me at a US Davis Arboretum sale.  I'm hoping it'll get enough sun in this spot to develop the red leaves it's known for.

'Pineapple Express' was purchased at South Coast Botanic Garden's Fall Plant Sale

There are larger and more well-established specimens in the adjacent succulent bed in my front garden.

'Bed Head', purchased by mail order from Plant Delights, is one of my favorites, although it's looked a little beaten down by the rain it received last year and again this year

My husband purchased 'Jaguar' and other Mangaves by mail order from Plant Delights for my birthday last year.  One of the larger Mangaves, expected to reach 2 feet in height at maturity, it's already looking great.

I moved 'Spotty Dotty' last year and she's been happier since

'Snow Leopard' was also a birthday gift from my husband.  With the return of cooler temperatures this winter, these 2 plants have taken on a decidedly pink tinge.

The same is true of 'Kaleidoscope'.  This one is the most prolific pupper among my Mangaves.

The dry garden on the northeast side of the house has some of my oldest specimens, including 'Blood Spot'.

A group shot of the collection in this area

'Blood Spot', the Mangave that started this particular collecting obsession.  This is the one and only Mangave I've obtained from a local garden center thus far.

I got 'Lavender Lady' by  mail order in 2017 but she's shown up recently in SoCal garden centers

'Purple People Eater' was part of my birthday haul.  It's looking a little scruffy at the moment.

The discoloration on a few leaves of 'Silver Fox' has me concerned about rot but the problem hasn't progressed so I'm hopeful

Other than another couple of 'Kaleidoscope' Mangaves on the front slope, the rest of my plants are in pots.

'Blazing Saddles' was a Christmas gift from a friend in 2018.  It's supposed to remain relatively small and seems perfectly happy in this container planted by my friend.

'Moonglow', part of Gerhard's shipment

'Red Wing' was another of the plants Gerhard secured for me.  It's supposed to tolerate a bit of shade.

I got 'Tooth Fairy', another of my favorites, from Mountain Crest.  It's reputed to be a slow grower so I've surrounded it with other succulents in this rusted steel wok.

I may have gotten off to a slow start with this particular collection but I'm catching up - maybe.  Breeders seem to be hybridizing new varieties every week.

Have a pleasant weekend!

All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party


  1. Surprised these aren't more available in your area. I have almost a dozen (all in pots) obtained locally or from a fairly local Canadian mail order nursery despite the fact they are only hardy on the Pacific Coast. Ironic where some of the newer plant material shows up. You have a nice collection going so far though.

    1. Why we have such difficulty getting many of the newly-introduced plants here is something of a mystery to me, Elaine. As SoCal isn't generally known for its garden-focused population in the sense that the UK and the American PNW are, perhaps our garden centers are more wary about ordering "new" plants, preferring to stick with the more familiar types that don't require much of an introduction. Succulents in general didn't become a big deal here until the drought hit with a vengeance (i.e. until water restrictions went into effect).

  2. I've never even heard of mangaves but aren't they fabulous? You have a wonderful collection. I'm a sucker for succulents but they all have to come in for the winter here.

    1. Many Mangaves work well in pots and on average seem to be smaller than their agave parents so they may work well for you, Chloris. Quite a few, like 'Kaleidoscope', 'Snow Leopard' and 'Moonglow', aren't even prickly.

  3. Impressive Mangave collection, Kris. Another plant I admire from 'afar.' I love the textures of the plants/stones in your old wok, one could gaze happily upon that for a long spell.

    1. I have to admit that the selections included in the wok came about mainly because they were already on hand, Eliza; however, I like the final product too.

  4. I like the pink ones the best, but I guess that shouldn't be a surprise since I like pink flowers.
    Is there any plant you don't have Kris? The more I read your blog posts, the more I'm convinced you must have every one, even though I know that's not possible. How do you remember all their names? I had never heard of Mangaves before.

    1. Oh, there are plenty of plants this greedy gardener doesn't have, Cindy. The list of plants I can't grow here is long. I've kept a spreadsheet for years listing the plants I purchase, where I got them, when I planted them, etc. but the more often I photograph them or use them in a vase, the better I remember them without my crib sheet!

  5. You've got a great collection and they're all looking fabulous. Thanks to our (so far) mild winter I haven't lost any of the ones I experimented with by putting in the ground...yay!

    1. That's good news, Loree! The only one I'm worried about here is 'Silver Fox'. Although it got through last year's heavy rains (4X the amount we've received thus far this year), a few of those leaves raise concerns about rot.

  6. Aren't they beautiful? They've been surprisingly hardy for me too. And there are so many options... Hope you get more as gifts and also hoping they show up more in the local nurseries!

    1. Our local garden centers are behind the times, aren't they, Renee? We need them to kick into gear!


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