Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mangave ‘Bloodspot’ about to flower

One of the major surprises of this summer is this Mangave ‘Bloodspot’:

140817_Mangave_Bloodspot_!022

It’s about to flower!

I’m not quite sure whether to be excited or sad. Most agaves die after flowering while manfredas flower every year without dying. ‘Bloodspot’ is a hybrid between Agave macroacantha and Manfreda maculosa so the jury is still out on what will happen.

I haven’t been able to find definitive information on what to expect. San Marcos Growers, whose excellent website is one of my go-to resources for all things succulents and drought-tolerant, says:

This plant is considered by some to be non-suckering and monocarpic so completely dying after flowering but others have reported that the flowering rosette can live past the flowering event and that it will also occasionally sucker new rosettes to provide additional longevity - we are not sure on this ourselves and welcome other's observations.

A discussion on the Xeric World Forum suggests that ‘Bloodspot’ may die after flowering, but that it will produce offsets before it does:

Friend has one that flowered last year... produced a lot of healthy suckers and bulbils, and plant is still alive today... but not grown since it flowered... So I assume it is monocarpic... it just doesn't know it yet.

And:

Mine died after flowering, but took awhile and did produce lots of pups. Has taken a few years for the plant to regain full size. 

140817_Mangave_Bloodspot_!014 140817_Mangave_Bloodspot_!017

The flowering ‘Bloodspot’ is the larger of the two in my collection. The other one looks perfectly normal, no sign of an impending flowering event. I believe it’s a year younger than the other.

140817_Mangave_Bloodspot_!018

Here’s the emerging flower spike as of today, four days after the photos above were taken:

140821_Mangave_Bloodspot_!001

I’ll keep you posted on what will happen. Since I’m quite fond of this intergeneric hybrid, I’m hoping for a few offspring.

For more information on Mangave ‘Bloodspot’ check out the San Marcos Growers web site.

15 comments:

  1. So it flowers quite young then, bittersweet event. Hope it sends lots of pups again after it's blaze of glory!

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    1. I checked my records, and I bought both 'Bloodspot' in June/July 2009. They were probably a year or two old when I bought them, so yes, they do seem to flower young.

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  2. Congratulations and sincerest sympathy on your Mangave's blooming! Looking forward to hearing about what happens after it blooms!

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    1. That's a very appropriate sentiment for agaves and relatives :-).

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  3. The two I know that have flowered have both produced loads of offsets and then the parent has died. I would expect you will have more babies than you can cope with.
    As with most of these plants, it is a lovely flower.

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    1. That's great to know. 'Bloodspot' is so attractive that I won't have any problems finding a home for the babies.

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  4. Two comments that won't add to the value of this conversation:

    1) Whenever I see "Mangave" my brain says "Mangrove", my eyes then see photos of Agaves (close enough), and I just sit there for a few moments trying to figure out what's going on.

    2) Wouldn't it be amazing if asparagus stalks were actually this big? I can't help but think "asparagus" when I see these things. Yum.

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    1. "Mangrove" has popped up in my head a time or two as well :-)

      The resemblance to an asparagus stalk is actually pretty uncanny, color aside. It's growing so quickly, I bet it would be nice and tender, too!

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  5. The flower looks very manfreda-like. I hope you get lots and lots of offsets, more than you know what to do with, hint, hint. ;^) I must have something to trade that you need.

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    1. I'm sure you have plenty of things I'd love to have, but even if you didn't, I'd be happy to send some babies your way. I'll keep ya posted!

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  6. That plant looks lethal. There's a big one in the US Botanic Gardens in DC that has wine corks at the end of the spikes to keep it form impaling people. I hope yours doesn't die! But maybe it can skewer a lesser plant on its way out to make itself feel better.

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    1. You guys are tender petals, LOL. This 'Bloodspot' is a cuddly kitten compared to some agaves :-)

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  7. Well heck, it will be beautiful, and hopefully as the others have said there will be many babies. My Manfreda undulata Chocolate Chips bloomed and died last summer, sadly. I still get confused about the difference between Manfreda and Mangave.

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    1. I'll save a baby or two for you if you want!

      Manfreda is a genus in its own right. A mangave is an intergeneric hybrid between a manfreda and an agave. Similar to gasteraloe (gasteria + aloe) or sedeveria (sedum + echeveria).

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  8. Nothing like dying at the height of your beauty. Running to check my flowering mangave for offsets...

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