Wednesday, October 23, 2019

2019 ×Mangave roundup

In a March 2018 post, I proclaimed 2018 to be the “Year of the Mangave.” Sure, it was a rather self-important thing to do, but it did reflect the rapidly growing popularity of the love child between two closely related succulent genera: Agave and Manfreda.

My original post gives a comprehensive overview of the nothogenus ×Mangave. I won't repeat all the details here, but in a nutshell, mangaves have evolved from naturally occurring hybrids (such as 'Macho Mocha' and 'Rio Verde') to man-made novelties (the ever popular 'Bloodspot') to commercially viable ornamentals (the successful “Mad About Mangave” introductions by Walters Gardens).

×Mangave 'Mayan Queen' in our front yard

This evolution—“revolution” might actually be a better word—was largely driven by the pioneering hybridization work of Hans Hansen, Director of New Plant Development at Walters Gardens. If it hadn't been for Hans's neverending curiosity, innovativeness and perseverance, we might never have moved beyond 'Bloodspot'. Thank you, Hans, for propelling us into a new age of ornamental abundance! (Hans, I might add, is not just Mr. Mangave; he has filed dozens of plant patents in genera as diverse as Anemone, Baptisia, Buddleia, Hosta, Kniphofia, Phlox, Sedum, and many more.)

Over the last two years I've been trialing a number of mangaves in my garden, both in containers and in the ground. All of them have been through one winter, some through two or more. Not that our mild zone 9b winters are much of a challenge to mangaves: Even 'Lavender Lady', considered to be the most tender mangave because of its Agave attenuata genes, has made it with flying colors.

×Mangave 'Coffee Jitters' and 'Thunderbird'

×Mangave 'Red Wing' and 'Blazing Saddles'

One mangave has been difficult: 'Carnival'. A sport of 'Jaguar', it has the opposite variegation of 'Kaleidoscope' (dark leaf margin, creamy center). 'Carnival' suffered from extensive leaf rot in our excessively wet 2018/2019 winter. After I removed the affected leaves, there wasn't much of plant left. It was touch and go for a number of months, but now (six months later) 'Carnival' has started to produce new leaves. Oddly enough, the closely related 'Kaleidoscope' didn't have any problems with leaf rot although, to my neverending regret, it isn't a very vigorous plant either.

Mangaves and aloes in the shared strip between our house and our neighbor's

This post isn't the grand result of systematic trialing on my part. It's simply a snapshot of how my mangaves are doing at a random moment in time: now. For each hybrid, I give ratings in three categories: rate of growth, ease of cultivation, and gardenworthiness. The first two are somewhat objective. The third (gardenworthiness) is purely subjective, and I'm happy to say that there are very few mangaves I would boot from my garden simply for a lack of attractiveness.

Mangaves, agaves, and aloes in the far corner of the backyard

With some exceptions, the photos in this post were taken in the last six weeks. Some of my mangaves are close to reaching their peak potential but many others are still small and have a lot of growing to do. In other words, don't expect catalog-quality beauty shots. What the photos do show, aside from the plants themselves, is how well mangaves play with others. Yes, many stand out as solo performers, but they also harmonize well with other succulents and even completely unrelated plant groups. 




Pronunciation

This is a pet peeve of mine, so I must bring it up: “Mangave” is pronounced “man-GAH-vay.” The “man” part is from Manfreda, “gave” from Agave. Hence “man-GAH-vay,” not “MAN-gave.”

To fight mispronunciation, Walters Gardens has a “genus pronunciation” button on the mangave pages on its web site. In addition, they've started to introduce the spelling “mangavé” as a subtle pronunciation clue.

Knowing that many people do say “MAN-gave“ instead of “man-GAH-vay,” I hereby make a formal request to Hans Hansen to name an upcoming cultivar ×Mangave 'Man Cave'.

Index

These are all the mangaves covered in this post. Click a link to jump directly to the respective variety.

×Hansara 'Jumping Jacks'
×Mangave 'Bad Hair Day'
×Mangave 'Blazing Saddles'
×Mangave 'Bloodspot'
×Mangave 'Blue Dart'
×Mangave 'Carnival'
×Mangave 'Catch a Wave'
×Mangave 'Coffee Jitters'
×Mangave 'Crazy Cowlick'
×Mangave 'Desert Dawn'
×Mangave 'Desert Dragon'
×Mangave 'Dreadlocks'
×Mangave 'Espresso'
×Mangave 'Falling Waters'
×Mangave 'Femme Fatale'
×Mangave 'Freckles and Speckles'
×Mangave 'Frosted Elegance'
×Mangave 'Greg Starr' (not official name)
×Mangave 'Inca Warrior'
×Mangave 'Inkblot'
×Mangave 'Iron Man'
×Mangave 'Kaleidoscope'
×Mangave 'Lavender Lady'
×Mangave 'Macho Mocha'
×Mangave 'Man of Steel'
×Mangave 'Mayan Queen'
×Mangave 'Mission to Mars'
×Mangave 'Moonglow'
×Mangave 'My Dog Spot'
×Mangave 'Navajo Princess'
×Mangave 'Pineapple Express'
×Mangave 'Purple People Eater'
×Mangave 'Red Wing'
×Mangave 'Rio Verde'
×Mangave 'Shadow Waltz'
×Mangave 'Silver Fox'
×Mangave 'Snow Leopard'
×Mangave 'Spotty Dotty'
×Mangave 'Thunderbird'
×Mangave 'Tooth Fairy'
×Mangave 'Whale Tale'


Variety listings


×Mangave 'Bad Hair Day'
Parentage: Agave geminiflora × Manfreda maculosa
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 7b
Width × height: 30" × 10"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: Looks good in a head planter as a literal interpretation of “hair.”

Clockwise from left to right: ×Mangave 'Navajo Princess', ×Mangave 'Whale Tale', ×Mangave 'Bad Hair Day'

From left to right: ×Mangave 'Navajo Princess', ×Mangave 'Bad Hair Day'


×Mangave 'Blazing Saddles'

Parentage: Agave nizandensis × Mangave 'Bloodspot'
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 15" × 8"
Rate of growth: Slow
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: Intense reddish-purple coloration in full sun

×Mangave 'Blazing Saddles'

×Mangave 'Blazing Saddles'

×Mangave 'Blazing Saddles'



×Mangave 'Bloodspot'

Parentage: Agave macroacantha × Manfreda maculosa
Breeder: unclear; this hybrid may have been created in Japan
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 15" × 12"
Rate of growth: Slow
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: Still one of the most popular mangaves in cultivation, and one of the easiest to find.

×Mangave 'Bloodspot'


×Mangave 'Blue Dart'

Parentage: Agave macroacantha × Agave shawii × Manfreda maculosa
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 22" × 16"
Rate of growth: Slow
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes:
1—More agave-like that most mangaves.
2—'Blue Dart' doesn't stop people in their tracks like some of the variegated or more intensely colored cultivars do, but not every plant in your garden can be the in-your-face-type. I like it for that very reason.


×Mangave 'Blue Dart'

×Mangave 'Blue Dart'


×Mangave 'Carnival'

Parentage: like 'Kaleidoscope' below a sport of ×Mangave 'Jaguar' (unspecified agave × Manfreda guttata), but with reverse variegation (dark edge, yellow center stripe)
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 8a
Width × height: 24" × 20"
Rate of growth: Slow
Ease of cultivation: Difficult
Gardenworthiness: + if you can get it to thrive
Notes: 'Carnival' has been the most challenging mangave for me to grow. It's much more prone to winter rot (wetness, not cold per se) than any other cultivar I've trialed. I managed to rescue my 'Carnival' from certain death, but it's no bigger now than it was two years ago. It has the potential to be one of the most striking mangaves of all, but the road to success is paved with massive potholes of uncertainty.

×Mangave 'Carnival'


×Mangave 'Catch a Wave'

Parentage: Agave pablocarrilloi × Agave colorata × Manfreda maculosa
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 30" × 20"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: In my personal top 5.

×Mangave 'Catch a Wave'

×Mangave 'Catch a Wave'


×Mangave 'Coffee Jitters'

Parentage: Agave marmorata × Manfreda longiflora × Manfreda maculosa
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 24" × 6"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: ±
Notes: Looks unassuming as a small plant but develops character as it ages. Low-growing habit.

Top: ×Mangave 'Coffee Jitters'    Bottom: ×Mangave 'Thunderbird'

×Mangave 'Coffee Jitters'

×Mangave 'Coffee Jitters'



×Mangave 'Crazy Cowlick'

Parentage: Agave bovicornuta × Agave pablocarrilloi × unspecified Manfreda hybrid 
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 36" × 20"
Rate of growth: Fast
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: In my top 5. The Agave bovicornuta genes are strong in this one.

×Mangave 'Crazy Cowlick' in the ground

×Mangave 'Crazy Cowlick'  in the ground

×Mangave 'Crazy Cowlick' in a terracotta pot



×Mangave 'Desert Dawn'

Parentage: Agave macroacantha × Agave nizandensis × unspecified Manfreda 
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 17" × 6"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: ±
Notes: More subtle than most.

×Mangave 'Desert Dawn' (with Aloe karasbergensis)

×Mangave 'Desert Dawn'


×Mangave 'Desert Dragon'

Parentage: Agave macroacantha × Agave geminiflora × Agave pablocarilloi × Agave attenuata × unspecified Manfreda 
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 19" × 5"
Rate of growth: Fast
Ease of cultivation: East
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: Low-growing but full of character. Looks especially great next to a plant with non-pattered leaves.

×Mangave 'Desert Dragon' (with Echeveria cante)

×Mangave 'Desert Dragon'

×Mangave 'Desert Dragon'

×Mangave 'Desert Dragon'

×Mangave 'Desert Dragon'


×Mangave 'Dreadlocks'

Parentage: Agave asperrima × Agave pablocarrilloi × unspecified Manfreda
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 24" × 6"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: ±
Notes: My plant definitely has a way to go before it looks like this.

Top: ×Mangave 'Inca Warrior'
Bottom left: ×Mangave 'Dreadlocks'    Bottom right: ×Mangave  'Falling Waters'

×Mangave 'Dreadlocks' 



×Mangave 'Espresso'

Parentage: white-edged version of ×Mangave 'Macho Mocha' (Agave mitis × unknown Manfreda)
Breeder: Hans Hansen, introduced by Plant Delights
Zone: 8a
Width × height: 36" × 12"
Rate of growth: Fast
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: Like most 'Macho Mocha' progeny, a fast grower. Mine could do with a bit more sun for better color, but it's still in my top 10.

×Mangave 'Espresso' 

×Mangave 'Espresso' 

×Mangave 'Espresso' 

×Mangave 'Espresso' 

×Mangave 'Espresso', second plant in a different spot

×Mangave 'Espresso' at the Ruth Bancroft Garden; this is the coloration I'd love to have



×Mangave 'Falling Waters'

Parentage: Agave ovatifolia × unspecified Manfreda
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 7b
Width × height: 30" × 15"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: ±
Notes: My specimen doesn't really look like these photos on the Walters Gardens website. Maybe it's just a matter of time (and a lot more fertilizer). For now, I'd give 'Falling Waters' a neutral rating.

Left: ×Mangave 'Dreadlocks'    Right: ×Mangave  'Falling Waters'



×Mangave 'Femme Fatale'

Parentage: Agave macroacantha × unspecified Manfreda
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 7b
Width × height: 9" × 2"
Rate of growth: Fast
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: 'Femme Fatale' has turned out to be a pleasant surprise. It looked nondescript as a small plug but has grown into quite a beauty.

×Mangave  'Femme Fatale'

×Mangave  'Femme Fatale'

×Mangave  'Femme Fatale'

×Mangave  'Femme Fatale'

×Mangave  'Femme Fatale'



×Mangave 'Freckles and Speckles'

Parentage: Agave macroacantha × Agave geminiflora × Agave pablocarrilloi × unspecified Manfreda 
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 10
Width × height: 19" × 8"
Rate of growth: Slow
Ease of cultivation: Moderate
Gardenworthiness: ±
Notes:
1—The 'Freckles and Speckles' I've seen in nurseries and other gardens have all looked more vigorous than mine. In my garden, it's been slow to bulk up. More fertilizer?
2—'Freckles and Speckles' is said to flower at a young age.

×Mangave  'Freckles and Speckles'



×Mangave 'Frosted Elegance'

Parentage: Agave nizandensis
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 12" × 6"
Rate of growth: Slow
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes:
1—Central stripe from Agave nizandensis more pronounced with agave.
2—Slow-growing but good potential (see Plant Delights website).

×Mangave  'Frosted Elegance'



×Mangave 'Greg Starr' (not official name)

Parentage: Agave sobria × unspecified Manfreda 
Breeder: Greg Starr
Zone: 8a
Width × height: 12" × 18"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: This is a hybrid created by Greg Starr. I don't think he ever gave it an official name. It's not propagated commercially, so only available from Greg and those lucky few who have received offsets from Greg over the years and now have their own pups to pass on.

×Mangave 'Greg Starr'

×Mangave 'Greg Starr'


×Mangave 'Inca Warrior'

Parentage: Agave parryi × Agave ovatifolia × Manfreda jaliscana
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 7b
Width × height: 30" × 15"
Rate of growth: Fast
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: Similar to 'Mission to Mars'. Mine needs more sun to achieve the deep rich purples you see on the Walters Gardens web site. I do like the thick substantial leaves.

From left to right: ×Mangave 'Inca Warrior', ×Mangave 'Falling Waters', ×Mangave 'Dreadlocks'

×Mangave 'Inca Warrior'



×Mangave 'Inkblot'

Parentage: Manfreda undulata × Manfreda maculosa × Agave macroacantha
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 20" × 8"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: One of Walters Gardens' earlier releases and still a worthwhile plant.

×Mangave 'Inkblot'



×Mangave 'Iron Man'

Parentage: Agave pablocarrilloi × Agave montana × Manfreda maculosa
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 8a
Width × height: 36" × 20"
Rate of growth: Slow
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: One of the slowest growers in my garden. My plant is still miles away from looking like this, but I love its potential. More agave-like than most mangaves.

×Mangave 'Iron Man'

×Mangave 'Iron Man'

×Mangave 'Iron Man'



×Mangave 'Kaleidoscope'

Parentage: yellow-edged sport of ×Mangave 'Jaguar' (Manfreda guttata hybrid)
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 8a
Width × height: 24" × 20"
Rate of growth: Slow
Ease of cultivation: Challenging
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes:
1—'Kaleidoscope' has been a real head scratcher. I've seen gorgeous specimens in other gardens, but my plant has been slow to get established and is nowhere near its potential. My gardenworthiness rating is based more on what I know 'Kaleidoscope' can be than on my actual experience.
2—I may look for a replacement, just in case I received a "bad" plant.

I just moved my ×Mangave 'Kaleidoscope' after it failed to thrive elsewhere

Potted ×Mangave 'Kaleidoscope' in a private garden in San Diego County


×Mangave 'Lavender Lady'

Parentage: Agave attenuata × ×Mangave 'Bloodspot'
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 10
Width × height: 24" × 12"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: Very striking plant with obvious Agave attenuata parentage. Hardier in the garden than Agave attenuata. Quite possibly the most refined looking mangave so far.

Bottom: ×Mangave 'Lavender Lady' (with Agave attenuata 'Boutin Blue')

×Mangave 'Lavender Lady'



×Mangave 'Macho Mocha'

Parentage: Agave mitis × Manfreda variegata (assumed)
Breeder: natural hybrid from seed originally collected by Carl Schoenfeld of Yucca Do Nursery on a plant exploration trip to Mexico; the seed came from Manfreda variegata but there was Agave mitis growing nearby
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 48" × 36"
Rate of growth: Very fast
Ease of cultivation: Very easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: This is the largest ×Mangave to date. Several sports have since been discovered and introduced into horticulture, including 'Espresso' and 'Cappucino'. And oldie but goodie that's readily available since it offsets generously.

×Mangave 'Macho Mocha'


×Mangave 'Man of Steel'

Parentage: Agave striata × ×Mangave 'Bloodspot'
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 21" × 11"
Rate of growth: Very slow
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes:
1—Beautiful and very agave-like; stiff leaves with rigid terminal spines.
2—Slow-growing so unsure how long it will take to achieve its size potential.
3—Some people report it offsetting with wild abandon (not my experience).

×Mangave 'Man of Steel'


×Mangave 'Mayan Queen'

Parentage: Agave pablocarrilloi × Agave macroacantha × unspecified Manfreda 
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 36" × 15"
Rate of growth: Fast
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: One of my very favorite mangaves. The photos below show why.

×Mangave 'Mayan Queen'

×Mangave 'Mayan Queen'

×Mangave 'Mayan Queen'



×Mangave 'Mission to Mars'

Parentage: Agave shawii × Agave ×pseudoferox × unspecified Manfreda
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 48" × 24"
Rate of growth: Very fast
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: In my experience, the fastest growing mangave. Coloration changes quickly depending on UV exposure.

×Mangave 'Mission to Mars', plant #1 in steel container

×Mangave 'Mission to Mars'

×Mangave 'Mission to Mars', plant #2 in ground

×Mangave 'Mission to Mars'

×Mangave 'Mission to Mars'



×Mangave 'Moonglow'

Parentage: ×Mangave 'Bloodspot' × Manfreda undulata 'Chocolate Chips'
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 8b
Width × height: 12" × 6"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: Another earlier release that has managed to hold its own against more recent introductions.

×Mangave 'Moonglow'

×Mangave 'Moonglow'


Parentage: Agave montana × Manfreda maculosa
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 7b
Width × height: 30" × 12"
Rate of growth: Fast
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: Attractive agave lookalike with creamy leaf margins.

Clockwise from left to right: ×Mangave 'Navajo Princess', ×Mangave 'Whale Tale', ×Mangave 'Bad Hair Day'



×Mangave 'Pineapple Express'

Parentage: ×Mangave 'Jaguar' × ×Mangave 'Bloodspot'. 
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 8a
Width × height: 24" × 18"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: More upright habit than other similar mangaves, especially in the shade. (My specimen below receives quite a bit of sun so it's less pineapple-like than the plants on Walters Gardens' web site.)

×Mangave 'Pineapple Express'




×Mangave 'Purple People Eater'

Parentage: Agave pablocarrilloi × Agave macroacantha × unspecified Manfreda
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 10
Width × height: 24" × 14"
Rate of growth: Slow
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: One of my top 3 mangaves (with 'Mayan Queen' and 'Snow Leopard').

Potted ×Mangave 'Purple People Eater' with full sun exposure

×Mangave 'Purple People Eater' in the ground; it receives less sun that the potted plant above


×Mangave 'Red Wing'

Parentage: not specified
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9
Width × height: 26" × 18"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: Slower growing than expected but once my plants (I have three now) look like this, 'Red Wing' will be among my faves 

×Mangave 'Red Wing'

×Mangave 'Red Wing'

×Mangave 'Red Wing'



×Mangave 'Rio Verde'

Parentage: not specified
Breeder: originally discovered in San Luis Potosí, Mexico by the folks at (now defunct) Yucca Do Nursery
Zone: 8
Width × height: 24" × 24"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: 
1—This is the original description from the Yucca Do website: “This Manfreda or ×Mangave has an unmistakable agave-like appearance. Its deeply-channeled, upright, leaves are widest in the middle, tapering at each end, and are edged in fine, brittle teeth along their margins. The newly-emerging leaves are flecked with maroon spots. We offered seedlings of this site years ago, thinking the seedlings we were offering represented a species, but we noticed that this one seedling had a more pronounced agave-like form and so we propagated it for our trials. After growing this clone for years, we now believe that it might be a ×Mangave because of its intermediate form and failure to set viable seed.”
2—Following the comments from Yucca Do, I find 'Rio Verde' to be very manfreda like in appearance (and its leave to be very brittle).
3—My plant came from Markham Nature Park and Arboretum in Concord. They operated a small but exquisite nursery under the auspices of Ryan Penn, who was also the horticulturist at the Ruth Bancroft Garden. Now that Ryan has moved on, the nursery is unfortunately no longer in operation.

×Mangave 'Rio Verde' (next to Dioon edule 'Palma Sola Form')

×Mangave 'Rio Verde'


×Mangave 'Shadow Waltz'

Parentage: Agave parryi × Agave nizandensis × unspecified Manfreda
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9
Width × height: 24" × 12"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes:
1—Another positive surprise. Tons of potential here.
2—The central stripe from Agave nizandensis is very prominent.

×Mangave 'Shadow Waltz'



×Mangave 'Silver Fox'

Parentage: Agave pablocarrilloi × Agave macroacantha × unspecified Manfreda
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 22" × 11"
Rate of growth: Very slow
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: With 'Tooth Fairy' the slowest grower in my garden. A stunner when mature.

×Mangave 'Silver Fox' (with Agave mitis 'Nova')

×Mangave 'Silver Fox'



×Mangave 'Snow Leopard'

Parentage: white-edged sport of ×Mangave 'Jaguar' (unspecified agave × Manfreda guttata),
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 8a
Width × height: 24" × 18"
Rate of growth: Very fast
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: One of my top 3 favorites (with 'Mayan Queen' and 'Purple People Eater'). Among the fastest growing mangaves.

×Mangave 'Snow Leopard'

×Mangave 'Snow Leopard'



×Mangave 'Spotty Dotty'

Parentage: Agave gypsophila × Agave bovicornuta × Manfreda maculosa
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 36" × 10"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: Low-growing but beautiful. 

×Mangave 'Spotty Dotty'

×Mangave 'Spotty Dotty' (with ×Mangave 'Purple People Eater' in top left)

×Mangave 'Spotty Dotty'




×Mangave 'Thunderbird'

Parentage: Agave marmorata × unspecified Manfreda
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 12" × 8"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: Great potential but fairly slow growing so patience is needed.

×Mangave 'Thunderbird'

×Mangave 'Thunderbird'

×Mangave 'Thunderbird'



×Mangave 'Tooth Fairy'

Parentage: Agave macroacantha × Agave shawii × unspecified Manfreda
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 17" × 12"
Rate of growth: Very slow
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes: With 'Tooth Fairy' the slowest grower in my garden. A stunner when mature.


×Mangave 'Tooth Fairy'



×Mangave 'Whale Tale'

Parentage: Agave ovatifolia × Agave pablocarrilloi × Manfreda maculosa
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 7b
Width × height: 48" × 12"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: +
Notes:
1—Not a speed demon; small plants only hint at the potential.
1—Noticeable "lost wax" effect on some leaves.

Clockwise from left to right: ×Mangave 'Navajo Princess', ×Mangave 'Whale Tale', ×Mangave 'Bad Hair Day'

×Mangave 'Whale Tale'

×Mangave 'Whale Tale'

×Mangave 'Whale Tale' for sale at Green Acres Nursery in Sacramento (right: ×Mangave 'Whale Tale' and Agave ovatifolia, one of its parents)


×Hansara 'Jumping Jacks'

Parentage: Agave pablocarrilloi × Agave macroacantha × Manfreda maculosa × Polianthes tuberosa × Polianthes howardii 
Breeder: Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens
Zone: 9a
Width × height: 27" × 14"
Rate of growth: Medium
Ease of cultivation: Easy
Gardenworthiness: TBD
Notes: The first trigeneric hybrid involving manfredas and agaves. Think of it as a mangave plus one: agave, manfreda and tuberose (Polianthes). The genus name, ×Hansara, was coined by Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery. A brand-new introduction, with very few photos of more mature plants available (here's one).

×Hansara 'Jumping Jacks'

×Hansara 'Jumping Jacks' (with Aloe elgonica)

Hard to believe, but...

While I have most mangaves that have been released, there are even more out there. I decided to check what they are, out of curiosity, and the list is actually longer than I'd expected:

'Aztec King'
'Artic Fox'
'Blue Mammoth'
'Electric Cheetah'
'King Cobra'
'Painted Desert'
'Sponge Paint'

If nothing else, this is vivid proof that we're in a golden age of succulent breeding, with many previously unimagined creations in development.

Where to buy

'Bloodspot' is probably the most common mangave (“common” being relative). I see it fairly regularly in succulent nurseries and at succulent-focused plant sales, probably because it makes such a handsome potted specimen.

'Macho Mocha' has become a popular passalong plant among succulent nerds since it offsets readily. Ask around; somebody you know might have one to share.

The Hans Hansen/Walters Gardens mangaves tend to be harder to find. I don't know the precise reasons but I suspect they're in heavy demand and there's only so much material to go around. I've been lucky in that the fall plant sales at the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery always feature at least a half dozen different mangaves. I've also made isolated sightings at general nurseries as well as at the Ruth Bancroft Garden nursery in Walnut Creek.

Mail order continues to be the best avenue. Plant Delights Nursery has the most complete selection. Mountain Crest Gardens has been adding to their inventory and now carries 13 Walters Gardens mangaves. eBay is another worthwhile source.


Mangaves at the 2019 UC Davis Arboretum fall plant sales

×Mangave 'Inkblot' at the 2019 UC Davis Arboretum fall plant sales

×Mangave 'Freckles and Speckles' at the 2019 UC Davis Arboretum fall plant sales

×Mangave 'Lavender Lady' and Manfreda 'Mint Chocolate Chip' at the 2019 UC Davis Arboretum fall plant sales

×Mangave 'Red Wing' at the 2019 UC Davis Arboretum fall plant sales

×Mangave 'Mission to Mars' at the 2019 UC Davis Arboretum fall plant sales



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17 comments:

  1. Thanks for this extensive review of Mangaves. I recently saw 'Inkblot' and 'Falling Waters' for sale at a local nursery up here. The 'Falling Waters' looked very different from yours, wider leaves, much paler and with pale spots. I wasn't actually tempted by either of them. I wish I could find 'Kaleidoscope' for sale, I have heard that it's supposed to be more robust than yours has been.

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    1. Like many plants, small mangaves often don't look all that impressive. Maybe that's why the trend is for licensed growers to hold them until they're in 2 gallon pots or even bigger?

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  2. So beautiful and you're so lucky to posses a 'Greg Starr'! Thank you so much for all of the wonderful info. Mountain Crest has been my only source for these beauties but I am starting to see more 'Bloodspots' around town (I am up to 2 in my collection). I do have a Mangave that is beginning to pup but for the life of me, I cannot remember which one it is at the moment. I will have to go back to my records and check. So far so good with the specimens that I have planted into the ground. I am very much looking forward to what they will all look like when they become mature.

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    1. Mangaves (like agaves and many other succulents) require a bit of patience. I've learned the hard way because patience is NOT among my strengths, ha ha.

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  3. Thanks for this great survey Gerhard..I can't imagine how much time you must have spent putting together this post. Very informative.
    My Kaleidoscope looks like yours-folded leaves though otherwise healthy with pups coming on. More water ? We'll see what happens when the rains come.

    I agree that they are very garden worthy-I can stick them in a bed with herbaceous perennials and they don't look at all out of place. The biggest issue I have with planting them in ground is the snail damage-they tolerate frost just fine . I hope to attend the last weekend of the Davis plant sale -hopefully there will still be some inventory left.

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    1. Time well spent!!

      The inventory for UC Davis Arboretum clearance sale has just been posted HERE. Lots of great plants left, including dozens of mangaves. I see 10 varieties, all $6 for non-members ($5.25 for members):

      × Mangave 'Bad Hair Day'
      × Mangave 'Freckles and Speckles'
      × Mangave 'Inkblot'
      × Mangave 'Lavender Lady'
      × Mangave 'Man of Steel'
      × Mangave 'Mission to Mars'
      × Mangave 'Moonglow'
      × Mangave 'Purple People Eater'
      × Mangave 'Red Wing'
      × Mangave 'Silver Fox'

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  4. Excellent post, and one I'm going to bookmark for future reference. Just today, I told a friend that you have the most extensive private collection I know of - and even I vastly underestimated the number of varieties you have on hand, some of which I'd never even heard of before reading this post. Thanks again for helping me increase my collection by 3!

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    1. I sort of stumbled into my mangave collection but I'm glad I'm able to observe their growth.

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  5. I'm trying to wrap my brain around putting succulents on a fertilizer regimen! This is such great info, because I confess I want the ones that grow fastest and biggest. So my next two purchases will most likely be 'Snow Leopard' and 'Mayan Queen' -- thanks again for sorting these out.

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    1. I don't fertilize succulents either (or much or anything, really) but some respond pretty dramatically.

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  6. My first thought, as you were describing the growing conditions in your garden, was “if they can’t grow well in Gerhard’s garden then what’s the point!?” Seriously, I would think you have one of the best climates for testing these plants. I must admit, I skimmed a few entries, but my ‘Tooth Fairy’ put on a lot of growth this summer, I’m surprised yours hasn’t done more. Now you’ve got me thinking about doing a little post on my collection, if only to show them looking good before they turn to mush this winter. Problem is, I’m not sure I can get all their names right, I’ve kind of mixed them up.

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    1. I think there's always the possibility that a specific plant is "weak," for a lack of a better word. For example, it took me three tries to find a vigorous Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt'. It seems that even tissue-cultured plants aren't all created equal.

      My 'Tooth Fairy' is definitely bigger than last year, but that's like going from a small thimble to a regular-sized thimble: it's still a thimble :-)

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  7. I love the look of Lavender Lady but have resisted buying it since I thought it would be too tender for our area. Now I know it's worth buying, I'll pick one up at the clearance sale. BTW my 4 year old mangave Bloodspot has bloomed in my front yard and set seed, somehow- not sure what pollinated it! If you drive by, look at my house number, the plant is right in front of it, if you are interested in seeing it in bloom. Sue

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    1. I have two 'Lavender Lady' and they've been through two winters now, potted and unprotected from the elements. No damage.

      I'll look at your 'Bloodspot' on the weekend. Do save the seeds--who knows what you might get!

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  8. So where are you placing these things? Full shade? Full sun? I put a couple in a little sun and the rest shade, and they seem...not unhappy, but not thrilled, either.

    The Huntington C&S show had a big flawless 'Lavender Lady' on the trophy table--so very elegant.

    I like your 'Mayan Queen', the 'Mission to Mars' looks a little bleached?

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    1. Some are in full sun (HOT HOT HOT) all day, some partial shade. I don't think I have any that are in full shade.

      I've found that in the growing season, it seems to be impossible to overwater them. While they get by on very little water, they're opportunistic and take whatever you give them. Like many agaves :-)

      'Mission to Mars' was a bit bleached in the photos above but it's already changed back to a deeper purple. In fact, just in the last few days I've noticed color changes in several mangaves even though it's been in the mid to high 80s (so still fairly warm).

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  9. Thanks so much for this excellent informational post on the newer Magave cultivars! I'll be consulting this as my "bible" when considering new purchases...

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