The popularity of the new plant mangaves is growing – Low Calorie Diets Tips

Almost exactly a year ago, this column featured mangaves, new succulents for the garden. Mangaves are new plants because they are crosses between two established Mexican plant genera: Agave and Manfreda.

Today’s column revisits the mangaves for two reasons. First, the Cactus & Succulent Society of America recently published a thorough overview of the origins of this hybrid plant and an overview of the development of new varieties.

Secondly, we can observe the growth of the past year and update the appropriate care of these plants.

CSSA article “Magnificant Magaves” appears in the Summer 2022 issue of the Cactus and Succulent Journal. This quarterly publication is not available online, so we are providing highlights from the article.

Article author Tony Avent and his wife Anita are the owners of the extraordinary Juniper Level Botanic Garden and Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, North Carolina. They gifted this great project to North Carolin State University to tie into the existing JC Raulston Arboretum. The Avents and NCSU are working to ensure the continued operation of this unique resource.

Tony Avent is an exceptional plant connoisseur. I had the opportunity to visit his 10 acre Plant Delights Nursery a few years ago as a side trip during a trip for other purposes. The breathtaking diversity of the plant collection is a long-cherished memory and supports Garden Design Magazine’s recognition of Plant Delights as one of the top seven online nurseries in the United States. Visit the nursery online at

In his article, Avent mentions the discovery in 2003 of a natural cross between an Agave and a Manfreda, which is described as a bi-generic hybrid. This combination created a new strain that was later called Macho Mocha.

Avent then traces the work of several American hybridizers who crossed selected species of Manfreda and Agave plants to produce a range of new cultivars. One of the most prolific breeders is Hans Hansen, who introduced numerous new mangaves from Michigan’s Walters Gardens.

Breeders in other countries soon joined in researching this bi-generic hybrid. An early example from an unknown breeder in Southeast Asia is Mangave ‘Bloodspot’, a hybrid of A. macroacantha and M. maculosa. This is a small plant compared to the typical mangave, which grows two feet across. (By comparison, some agaves can reach two meters in height and fourteen meters in width.)

Succulent gardeners have embraced mangaves because they have attractive colors and patterns, lack spines, flower after only two or three years of growth, and, although they die after flowering, produce new generations of offsets. They grow best in full sun, which aids in coloration.

A disadvantage of mangaven is their relatively soft leaves, which make them susceptible to snails. Luckily, mangaves do well in containers that typically deter slugs, and gardeners have access to Snarol, an effective non-toxic slug bait.

Avent reports that “the proverbial floodgates have opened up for this new breed of succulents, which are now being gobbled up around the world as fast as production will allow.” of other parts of the world, quickly become staples of the landscape”.

Future development of these plants, Avent predicts, will produce more hardy selections. He lists numerous cultivars that will survive in Haridness zones 7 and 8, which are colder than zone 9 of the Monterey Bay region.

For Monterey Bay Area gardeners, the growing number of hardy mangaves means the market for these plants will grow larger and faster than it is already growing, and hybridizers will respond to market demand by creating additional cultivars.

If you enjoy mangaves in your garden, you already have access to several options and expect to have many more variations of this plant in the future. They are increasingly available at local garden centers. For a wider selection, visit Plant Delights Nursery (mentioned above),, and

Expand your knowledge

The Plant Delights nursery has a well-assorted collection of short video presentations on selected aspects of gardening. I have only set a time to start learning from these videos, confident that they are based on a solid foundation of gardening knowledge and well worth the viewing time. There are too many titles to list here, but they can be viewed for free at

The Ruth Bancroft Garden has announced a series of webinars for June. The descriptions below are from the RBG website (edited slightly for this column).

Essential Trees & Palms in Dry Gardens, 10am, 11 June. When you plan or create a garden, you should first consider the large-scale plants such as trees and palms. The tree and palm selection sets the tone for the overall design and helps determine all other plantings. This talk will examine how to choose a tree/palm for both aesthetics and local conditions, and will discuss a wide range of commonly available drought tolerant trees and palms. Curator Brian Kemble will present plants from Ruth Bancroft Garden’s plant collection and landscape designer Cricket Riley will discuss how to incorporate trees and palms into an arid garden design.

“Materiality in Gardens: Design & Environmental Stewardship”, 10 am, 15 June. Landscape architect Jennifer de Graaf will discuss the sustainable choices you can make when choosing and using recycled materials in your garden. Focusing on the non-vegetable elements in garden design, she will discuss how the choices we make for our outdoor spaces have wider implications. What should be considered when removing or changing paths, furnishings, etc.? We’ll discuss a thought path for these decisions and how to choose a material that’s right for your application. The goal is to know the life cycle of a product or material, its environmental relationships and durability, and how a recycled material may or may not provide the desired aesthetic. Recycled materials can look anything from random to intentional.

“Proteaceae & Pals (2 part series): 10am June 18 and June 25. Troy McGregor, owner of Gondwana Flora and Waltzing Matilija, will talk about plants in the Proteaceae family (e.g. Protea, Leucadendron, Leucospermum and Grevillea). For the 18 June talk ‘Proteaceae & Pals – Overview’, Troy will focus on established artists, some new releases and some rarities that have excelled at Ruth Bancroft Garden.

For the June 25th presentation, ‘Proteaceae & Pals – Care & Maintenance’, McGregor will share the best planting practices, pruning recommendations, fertilizer changes and soil/water requirements for these Australian and South African plants.

Mitigating Fire Risks Through Garden Design & Maintenance (2 part series), June 22 & June 29, 10am. Many California residents are preparing for another season of catastrophic wildfires this summer. With climate change and changes in land management, the intensity and regular occurrence of wildfires in our environment will be inevitable. The choices we make in our own gardens can have a bigger impact than most people realize. Join landscape architect Jennifer de Graaf for this two-part series on how a diverse, interconnected life of choices in your landscape can help mitigate your risks versus fire.

To register for these paid presentations, visit

Enjoy your garden!

Tom Karwin is past President of the Friends of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and Monterey Bay Iris Society, a Life Member of the Monterey Bay Area Cactus & Succulent Society, and a Life UC Master Gardener (certified 1999-2009). He is now a board member of the Santa Cruz Hostel Society and active in the Pacific Horticultural Society.

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