Sunday, October 8, 2017

Mangaves and other goodies at UC Davis Arboretum fall plant sale

October 7 was the first plant sale of the season at the UC Davis Arboretum Teachning Nursery. I had printed out the plant list from their web site so I knew what to expect. (Their plant list is very handy because it contains not only brief information about each plant but also the aisle in the nursery where to find it, the price, and how many are in stock.)

I was thrilled to see that the plant sale inventory contained a number of new mangaves from Walters Gardens. Mangaves are crosses between the genus Agave (or, in many of these cases, another ×Mangave) and the genus Manfreda. I had several already, thanks to Loree aka Danger Garden who shared her mangave bounty with me earlier in the year, but there were some others I didn't have. I'm making a bold prediction right here and now: 2018 will the the year of the mangave! Many of these new hybrids will find their way into nurseries and, hopefully, into customers' gardens. Look for a dedicated mangave post soon.

Mangave bouty at the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery fall plant sale
Here are the mangaves at the sale (and a few manfreda selections thrown in for good measure):


×Mangave 'Moonglow', a hybrid between ×Mangave 'Bloodspot' and Manfreda undulata 'Chocolate Chips'

×Mangave 'Man of Steel', a hybrid between Agave striata and ×Mangave 'Bloodspot'

×Mangave 'Lavender Lady', a hybrid between Agave attenuata and ×Mangave 'Bloodspot'

×Mangave 'Mission to Mars', a hybrid between Agave shawii, Agave × pseudoferox, and a couple of manfredas

×Mangave 'Pineapple Express', a hybrid between Manfreda guttata Jaguar' and ×Mangave 'Bloodspot'

×Mangave 'Macho Mocha', one of the first mangaves on the market. It's a natural hybrid between Agave mitis and an unknown Manfreda, collected in Mexico.

Manfreda undulata 'Mint Chocolate Chip', a choice selection of Manfreda undulata 'Chocolate Chip'

Manfreda guttata 'Jaguar'


The selection of agaves was very nice as well:

Agave bracteosa 'Monterrey Frost'

Agave 'Desert Diamond, a sport of Agave 'Kissho Kan'

Agave xylonacantha 'Frostbite'

Agave ×romanii 'Shadow Dancer', a hybrid between Agave filifera and Agave mitis var. albidior

Agave filifera

Dozens upon dozens of Agave ovatifolia 'Frosty Blue', both in 4" and 1 gallon sizes

Agave ovatifolia 'Frosty Blue'

Agave americana 'Striata'

The aloe selection was comparatively small:

Aloe ×spinosissima (left), Aloe grandidentata (right). They also had 'Estrella del Mar' and 'Daniel'.

In comparison, the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory tables at the far end of the nursery had a far richer selelection of aloes. These were the same plants as in the pre-sale on Friday where I bought 7 small aloes (both species and hybrids).


Here are a few other succulents that caught my eye (these are Teaching Nursery plants, not Botanical Conservatory plants--I know, it's confusing, but they are two separate entitities selling at the same sale):

Not a big selection of echeverias...

...but this was one I'd never seen, 'Ghost Buster'

Echeveria 'Imbricata' is quite common, but there's a good reason for that: it's beautiful and it handles our summer heat better than other echeverias

I haven't been growing hylotelephiums (the taller fall-blooming 'Autumn Joy'-type sedums) in a number of years because I don't find them all that attractive when not in flower. But apparently there are a number of new cultivars with variegated and even purple foliage that might make me change my mind:

Hylotelephium spectabile 'Hot Stuff'

Hylotelephium telephium 'Autumn Charm'

Hylotelephium telephium 'Frosted Fire'

Hylotelephium telephium 'Touchdown Teak'; I've never seen one with purple foliage before

As always, the sale featured a goodful handful of choice manzanita selections, including two cultivars of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, the smallest member of the genus: 'Radiant' and 'Wood's Compact'. I bought 'Wood's Compact' (only 8" in height) for the backyard because it's said to be the most shade-tolerant of all manzanitas.

Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn'

I'm not currently in an ornamental grass phase, but when I saw this, I was wishing I'd have room for some:

Muhlenbergia capillaris 'Pink Cloud'

This plant caught my eye on my last pass through the nursery: Trichostema lanatum. I had never heard of it before, but it's a 2×3 ft. shrub native to the coastal ranges of Southern California. Its common name is blue whorls--it's easy to see why. 

Trichostema lanatum. I did some research, and it's one of the those California natives that want very little to no supplemental water after they are established. In fact, the most common cause of death in home gardens is water in the summer. I'm tempted to try it in a hot spot outside the front yard fence.

And here is my plant haul:


  • ×Mangave ‘Lavender Lady’
  • ×Mangave ‘Man of Steel’
  • ×Mangave ‘Mission to Mars’
  • Agave ‘Shadow Dancer’ (2x)
  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi ‘Wood's Compact’
  • Callistemon viminalis ‘Slim’
  • Cotinus coggygria ‘Winecraft Black’, a new dwarf smokebush that retains its purple color all summer
  • Eremophila glabra ‘Grey Horizon’
I'm particulary excited about these two: ×Mangave 'Mission to Mars' and ×Mangave 'Lavender Lady'.



I’ll talk more about my purchases as I put them in the ground.

The next plant sale at the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery is on Saturday, October 21 (9-11 for Arboretum members, 11-1 for the public). Check their web site for more information.

25 comments:

  1. Some very nice looking selections. Wish I still had any sunny areas for new plants in my garden.

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    1. I'm slowly running out, too. Still have space in dry shade left--always challenging.

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  2. crikey! If only the sale had been today-I had to go to Davis anyway to see a play (and by the way Gerhard, if you like Shakespeare, one week left to see this excellent production) and I could have easily looped in this sale. And they had Mangaves-damn.I wonder if they will have any left on Nov 4th.That's the only date I could go.

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    1. I'd be happy to pick up whatever you want at the October 21 sale. Just let me know.

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  3. Seriously interested in the mangaves. Love the Lavender Lady, Macho Mocha, and Mission to Mars. Can these handle morning sun and then partial shade? Do you think there will still be some left on the 21st, 2nd session?

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    1. Yes, that's exactly what many of mine get: a few hours of morning sun, then bright shade (light reflected off our neighbor's house).

      They had so many mangaves at the October 7 sale that I'm sure there'll be quite a few left on October 21.

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  4. What a fabulous sale and a great haul! I haven't seen anything like that selection of mangaves (or even manfreda or aloes) down this way. I resorted to mail order to acquire my own 'Lavender Lady' (and 'Silver Fox'). Best wishes with the Trichostema if you pick one up - I've killed it (2x!) but have been successful with the more forgiving hybrid Trichostema 'Midnight Magic'.

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    1. T. 'Midnight Magic' is a nice plant, I've got two and they've flowered the entire Summer and are still flowering.

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    2. I love both 'Lavender Lady' and 'Silver Fox'. Unfortunately, 'Lavender Lady' will need extra protection in the winter in our climate because it has Agave attenuata as one of the parents.

      As for Trichostema 'Midnight Magic', I will look for it.

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  5. O.M.G. - so many fabulous Agaves and Mangaves! Great haul too, I'm glad you were able to add to your Mangave collection.

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    1. I was so excited about the mangave selections.

      Now I just need to find Mangave 'Kaleidoscope'!

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  6. I'd like to try M. 'Man of Steel' and Pineapple Express, and Lavender Lady. I've got 9 Macho Mochas already...the one you gave me has doubled in size and is now my largest. lol 😂

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    1. They had lots of 'Man of Steel' and 'Pineapple Express'. I'm sure you'll be able to get some at the October 21 sale.

      9 'Macho Mochas'! That must be some kind of record!

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    2. 7 of them were pups off the first one! I can't bear to toss anything that has a chance to grow, and grow they did!

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  7. Great choices! I like 'Lavender Lady' very much, she looks so luscious. 'Shadow Dancer' is cute too, so chubby. I hope you are right about the future of Mangaves, and that they make it to our nurseries up here in the PNW.

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    1. Alison, Proven Winners now has 17 (!) mangaves in their Temperennial Collection, together with Agave ×romanii 'Shadow Dancer', Agave xylonacantha'Frostbite', Agave neomexicana 'Sunsport', Agave ovatifolia 'Frosty Blue' and others. Check out this catalog.

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  8. I'd hyperventilate if I was there! So many wonderful agaves! my brain would short-circuit!

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    1. Oh no! I don't think they have any paramedics on stand-by at the sales. Or maybe they do :-).

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  9. Wow, that looks to be one outstanding plant sale. Looks like outstanding prices too. $7.50 for 'Shadow Dancer' and 'Monterey Frost'?!? You got some great plants. I hope Callistemon 'Slim' does well for you.

    I got Mangave 'Catch A Wave' at the Huntington C&S show--where are you placing your Mangaves as far as sun goes? In full sun? I'm not sure where to site mine. Gypsophila likes a little shade here.

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    1. Yep, $7.50 for a 4-inch pot. Many of the mangaves were the size of 1-gallon plants. Good deal for sure!

      Most of my mangaves get a few hours of sun in the morning, then bright shade, with light reflected off our neighbor's house. They do color up so that means there's enough UV. But I just planted two in more sun. They should be OK. My 'Macho Mocha' gets hot hot hot sun in the summer and is fine.

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  10. Hi there! Just found your website while looking up a plant to purchase at Annie's this weekend. I was at the plant sale too, and I'm in at least two of your photos! Happy to have found your site. :)

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    1. WOW! What a coincidence! It's a small world, isn't it?

      Welcome to Succulents and More! I hope we'll get a chance to meet someday. Do you know about the Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society? See http://sacramentocss.org/.

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    2. Yes! I just need to retire before I can become a full time succulent/cacti/traveling person like yourself! I'm really enjoying the blog. :)

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  11. Sorry, just added identification... :)

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