I've been planning to inventory my Mangave collection for some time. A Mangave is a hybrid of a plant with parents from two genera, Manfreda and Agave. The mix varies, which in turn produces plants that vary in color, form and size. I last surveyed my plants in June 2019. At that time I had fourteen Mangaves. I knew I'd accumulated a lot more since then but even I was surprised by how many I now have. Every time I thought I'd identified all of them, I'd remember I had others in another spot - and then yet another. While some of my Mangaves are grouped, there are others scattered seemingly everywhere else. Even when I stopped counting home-grown pups, I tallied over fifty plants consisting of twenty-eight varieties.
Before I share my favorites, let me show you some of the spots I've tucked them into.
|Two Mangave 'Jaguar' found a home in this bed in the front garden in 2019|
|'Spotty Dotty', acquired in 2018, was moved to this area in the same front garden bed a year or so ago|
|I've got Mangaves in pots all over the place. This group of pots by the back door includes 'Black Magic', Praying Hands', and 'Aztec King'.|
|3 Mangave 'Pineapple Express' I picked up at my local botanic garden's spring plant sale ended up in a border near the back patio|
|I recently planted one 'Navajo Princess' and 4 other unlabeled Mangaves that might be 'Red Wing' on the south end of one back border|
Many of my favorites are planted in the ground.
|This is 'Blazing Saddles'. I have a second one in a pot.|
|I have 3 'Frosted Elegance' in one bed and a fourth in a pot. The one in the pot receives more shade and hasn't developed the pink tinge shown by those in the back garden bed that get more sun.|
|This is my one and only 'Freckles & Speckles' and I love it (despite the name)|
|This is my largest, most stately 'Lavender Lady'|
|Without any intentional plan, 'Pineapple Express' has gained a foothold in at least 3 areas of my garden|
|I've got 2 'Purple People Eater' in the ground and a plant in a pot that lost its label I think is the same variety|
|I love the colors of 'Spotty Dotty' but I've concerned that her curved leaves and dried out leaf tips, combined with the pink flush, indicate that she's not getting enough water|
Several of my favorites are living their best life in pots.
|I tried planting 'Bad Hair Day' in the ground but it was not happy. I have 2 in coordinating pots by the front door.|
|With its downward curving leaves, I decided 'Crazy Cowlick' was made for a pot|
|This 'Coffee Jitters' was received as a gift pup from Gerhard of Succulents and More. It's done well in a pot, although its placement under a hose bib isn't ideal. |
|I've planted 'Kaleidoscope' in the ground with mixed results. This one in a pot, a gift from a friend last year, is doing very well, although it may need a larger pot soon.|
|'Moonglow' is also made for pot culture|
|I fell in love with 'Night Owl' last year and a birthday gift card from a friend got me over my reluctance to purchase it in a larger size than I usually start with|
|Gerhard of Succulents and More picked 'Painted Desert' up at a plant sale in Northern California at my request and brought it down this way when he passed through. After a year or so in a pot I think it's about ready to be planted out in the garden.|
There are a host of others I really like but they've yet to grow into their potential.
|Those in this category include, clockwise from the upper left: 'Aztec King', 'Mission to Mars', 'Navajo Princess', 'Praying Hands', and the 'Silver Fox' that replaced my original plant. I saw a mature 'Mission to Mars' in a 3-gallon pot for $50 at my local garden center last week and was oh so tempted but I remain patient. 'Praying Hands' has an unusual form that I fell in love with the first time I saw it but it's a very slow grower. (You can see it in its mature form here.)|
There are a couple more I have mixed feelings about.
|'Bloodspot' (left) was my very first Mangave but, with all the pups developing at its base, it needs to be dug up and divided. 'Tooth Fairy' (right) was one of my favorites but I think it wants to be liberated from its pot.|
The remaining varieties are still too small to demonstrate their value in the garden.
I've only lost one variety thus far, 'Snow Leopard'. I had two plants in the same bed as 'Jaguar' and 'Spotty Dotty'. The white margins of 'Snow Leopard' rapidly turned pink, looking more like 'Kaleidoscope' and, like 'Kaleidoscope', it didn't like the planting bed in the front garden at all. It's admittedly a very dry area. The plants shrank to a sad shadow of their former selves and I removed them. I saved a small piece of one but whether I can resurrect it to its original form remains to be seen.
That'll have to do for this review. Maybe I'll revisit my collection in another year or two. I've already got my eye on another Mangave variety with Agave ovatifolia parentage, 'Permanent Wave', but I've yet to find a source for it. If you'd like to see other Mangaves, I've got a portfolio of photos showing 52 varieties going on a Pinterest page you can find here.
All material © 2012-2022 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party