Art & Sol™ mangaves. Photo by: Proven Winners

If you garden in the desert Southwest, you are probably familiar with the agave plant, a drought-tolerant succulent admired for its dramatic architectural form. But you may not know about the latest succulent to rock the horticultural world—one that combines the shape and habit of Agave with the unique coloring of Manfreda, resulting in an intergeneric cross that boasts the best qualities of both.

Mangave (pronounced man-GAH-vay) is a showy newcomer that comes in an amazing array of colors, sizes, and growth habits, thanks to its hybrid parentage. Compared to plants in the Agave species, Mangave grow faster, can tolerate higher levels of moisture, and have softer, less prickly spines that make for easier handling. Many varieties also sport unique foliage features not commonly seen on Agave, such as attractive spotted patterns and wavy edges.

Although they are tender perennials, Mangave can be grown as annuals in colder climates or overwintered indoors as houseplants. Their bold, symmetrical form makes them ideal for use as striking stand-alone plants in containers and garden beds. Plus, they're deer and rabbit resistant, drought tolerant, and nearly maintenance free.

On this page: Basics | Planting | Care | Varieties | Frequently Asked Questions


Botanical name:

x Mangave

Common names:


Plant type:

Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual)


9-11 for most varieties, with some hardy to zone 7


Full sun


6 to 24 inches tall and 8 to 42 inches wide, depending on the variety

Foliage color and characteristics:

Arranged in rosettes, the leaves may be flat, wavy or curled, with an arching or upright habit. Foliage color runs the gamut from green to silver to lovely purple, red, and variegated forms, often with striking stripes or speckles.

Special attributes:

  • More forgiving of overwatering than typical succulents
  • Non-toxic and pet safe
  • Deer and rabbit resistant
  • Drought and heat tolerant


'Lavender Lady' mangave. Photo by: Proven Winners.

When to plant:

In spring, after the danger of frost has passed. Although Mangave can tolerate a light frost, they prefer temperatures that are consistently above 60 degrees F.

Where to plant:

For the most vibrant leaf color and spotting, plant in an area that receives full sunlight (at least 6 hours daily). At lower light levels, the color will fade but you can restore it by moving your plant to a bright, sunlit location.

Growing in containers:

Because of their diversity in shape and form, mangaves are well-suited for patio containers of all sizes and even hanging baskets, either alone or in combination with other succulents and annuals with similar moisture and exposure requirements.

When planting mangave alone in a container, use a well-draining soilless potting mix, such as a succulent and cactus mix, and a container just slightly wider than the width of the plant’s rosette. Make sure the pot has plenty of drainage holes to prevent soggy soil.



One of the greatest attributes of the mangave plant is a tolerance for more water than other succulents (although extremely wet conditions should be avoided). Mangaves are drought tolerant once established, but young plants will appreciate watering during dry spells.
Fun fact: Regularly watering a mangave actually makes it grow faster! If you’re happy with the size of your mangave and want to slow its growth, simply water it more sparingly. This gives you the ability to regulate the size of your plant and keep it in proportion to its container.


During the active growing season (from spring through early fall) apply a fertilizer formulated for succulents, following the dosage instructions on the package. Mangaves are not heavy feeders and won’t benefit from overfertilizing. Withhold feeding during the winter months.


This low-maintenance plant needs no pruning or shaping to maintain its appearance. However, you should remove any browning or damaged foliage by cutting it off near the base of the leaf.

Pests and diseases:

Because of their thick, spiny leaves, mangaves are rarely bothered by insect pests or hungry critters like deer and rabbits. However, they can develop root rot if allowed to sit too long in overly wet soil.


Swipe to view slides

Photo by: Proven Winners

Art & Sol™ 'Bad Hair Day'

Zones: 7-11
Height and spread: 8 to 10 inches tall, 18 to 20 inches wide

Slender lime-green leaves with light blush-red speckling gracefully arch from the center to create a cascading mound perfect for containers and hanging baskets. More cold hardy than other mangaves.

Photo by: Proven Winners

Art & Sol™ 'Catch a Wave'

Zones: 9-11
Height and spread: 8 to 10 inches tall, 18 to 20 inches wide

Silvery blue-green leaves with margins that curl upward are reminiscent of ocean waves. Finely toothed edges and heavy maroon spotting add further interest. Because of its upright habit, this plant looks as attractive viewed from the side as it does from the top.

Photo by: Proven Winners

Art & Sol™ 'Lavender Lady'

Zones: 9-10
Height and spread: 8 to 10 inches tall, 12 to 16 inches wide

Thick, dusky purple leaves arranged in a solitary rosette makes this an excellent stand-alone specimen in container plantings and in the landscape. Small white spines and subtle purple spotting accentuate its beauty.

Photo by: Proven Winners

Art & Sol™ 'Night Owl'

Zones: 9-11
Height and spread: 6 to 8 inches tall, 16 to 18 inches wide

A dramatic blend of nearly black leaves accented by heavy dark spotting. The wide leaves gently undulate to add dimension and a sense of movement. Plant in full sun for the deepest foliage color.

Photo by: Proven Winners

Art & Sol™ 'Thunderbird'

Zones: 9-11
Height and spread: 8 to 12 inches tall, 10 to 12 inches wide

Leaves artfully arranged in a compact rosette are almost completely covered with dark red spots, making the foliage appear to be more red than green. Ideal for adding structure to container plantings, rock gardens, and xeriscapes.

Photo by: Proven Winners

Art & Sol™ 'Tooth Fairy'

Zones: 9-10
Height and spread: 10 to 12 inches tall, 16 to 18 inches wide

Features long and pronounced fang-like spines in colors ranging from cinnamon brown to yellow and orange. Thick blue-green leaves, arranged in an upright rosette, complement the colorful spines.

Photo by: Proven Winners

MAD ABOUT MANGAVE® 'Pineapple Express'

Zones: 9-10
Height and spread: 9 to 10 inches tall, 16 to 18 inches wide

A spiky rosette of long, slender foliage resembles the top of a pineapple. Pronounced burgundy spotting, brought out by exposure to direct sunlight, enhances the minty-green leaves. A superb thriller plant in mixed container arrangements.

Photo by: Proven Winners

MAD ABOUT MANGAVE® 'Mission to Mars'

Zones: 8-10
Height and spread: 8 to 10 inches tall, 20 to 22 inches wide

Leaves heavily speckled with burgundy red spots result in the intense red coloration of this unique selection. The long, arching leaves curl upward at the margins to show off cinnamon-colored spines.

Photo by: Proven Winners

MAD ABOUT MANGAVE® 'Praying Hands'

Zones: 9-11
Height and spread: 8 to 10 inches tall and wide

Dark green foliage curves inward like the leaves of an artichoke on this distinctive mangave. The look is enhanced by thin reddish-brown leaf margins and terminal spines of the same color that nearly touch each other at the top.

Photo by: Proven Winners


Zones: 9-11
Height and spread: 10 to 12 inches tall, 36 to 40 inches wide

Heavily ruffled dark green leaves resemble long locks of flowing hair, arranged in a slightly arching low-growing habit. Mahogany spots, which are more heavily concentrated at the center of each leaf, create an interesting striped effect.


'Lavender Lady' mangave. Photo by: Proven Winners.

Is mangave cold hardy?

Most mangaves can survive temperatures as low as 20 to 30 degrees F, but plants should be protected or moved indoors if a hard frost is predicted.

Do mangaves flower?

Although mangaves are primarily grown for their foliage, older plants may flower when grown under ideal conditions, sending up tall spires of tubular yellow blossoms similar to those seen on agave plants. Once a plant blooms, it will usually die and leave behind small offsets, called "pups," that form around the base. These can be removed to propagate new plants or allowed to grow in place and replace the parent plant.

How do you take care of mangave in the winter?

In regions with cold winters, you should bring potted mangave plants indoors in early fall before temperatures consistently drop below 60 degrees F. In warmer climates where mangave can be overwintered outdoors, the biggest concern is overwatering. Be sure to let the soil dry out between waterings, since overly wet soil during the winter months can lead to root rot.

Can you grow mangave plants indoors?

Mangaves will do quite well indoors, as long as they receive enough sunlight and are kept at room temperatures above 60 degrees F. For the best color retention, give your plants at least 6 hours of light daily by placing them near a sunny window or under a grow light. During the winter months, when plants are semi-dormant, cut back on watering frequency (see 10 Tips for Keeping Houseplants Healthy in Winter).


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