I’ve grown a couple of x Mangave 'Macho Mocha' in containers and never loved them as much as I did the day I brought them home. Their fleshy leaves are easy to break and they just never looked great. Spring of 2012 I stuck this one in the ground, partially because I needed its container for something else and partially because I was just done with it. I never thought it would live through that winter, but it did. And now, well…it’s gorgeous! (those silver and blue metal uprights are part of my neighbors avant-garde fence)
San Marcos Growers reports “Plants remain solitary until flowering at which time several new plants will emerge from below the older rosette.” That’s not been the case with this plant; he’s got quite a few small plants clustered around his base and yet he's never flowered.
My favorite plant lust description has to be the one from Plant Delights Nursery: “Oh, my! On a plant exploration trip into Mexico, Carl Schoenfeld collected seed from a plant of Manfreda variegata. Only when the seedlings were grown was it realized that it had crossed in the wild with a nearby plant of Agave celsii, resulting in the very first xMangave. Each surreal-looking, 3' wide clump of thick, rubbery, glaucous foliage is so covered with iron-red spots that the clump looks red. Established clumps are topped in late spring with thick 8' tall flower spikes...a hummingbird's wet dream. We have had this survive 9 °F, but in areas with wet cold winters, grow xMangave 'Macho Mocha' as a container plant. Stunning!”
I also have to share this one liner from Secret Garden Growers: “Manfreda x Agave had relations and produced this bold beauty with the best traits of both parents!”
Some of the nursery descriptions credit sun for upping the quantity of purple spots, for me they seem much more pronounced with cooler weather, which it seems we’ll have plenty of now that autumn has officially arrived.
- winter hardy to about 10F (USDA Zone 8), of course good drainage is key
- drought tolerant, but does like some summer water
- prefers sun
- it’s flowers are white hummingbird attractors that top a 4-6ft tall stalk
- eventual width 2-3ft (mine is currently 3ft x 3 ft)
Please share your favorite plant this week in the comments below!
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