I haven't quite sorted out the best growing conditions for my undulata 'Chocolate Chips' yet, it seems I probably grow them too much like an agave, and should give them righer soil and more water.
It did however flower, which is typical of manfredas; interesting but only a few flowers on the stalk.
Sadly the flower was at the start of spring and I couldn't get hold of any agave pollen to cross with, so no seeds. This was really frustrating as it would be a great parent plant for mangaves.
You don't grow manfredas for the flowers, it's the colour and speed of growth that make them an ideal partner for agaves. Manfreda guttata is a good example of this, and my most dramatic manfreda.
So the mangaves. There are two main plants you can get in the UK, 'Bloodspot', and 'Macho Mocha'. My 'Bloodspot' is a work in progress.
There is a variegated form of 'Macho Mocha' call 'Espresso'. I am lucky enough to have both and they pretty much behave identically.
Sadly they suffered last winter and are just getting back into looking good again. The great thing about mangaves is that they quickly. Next winter they will be brought inside as the unheated greenhouse is just too a little too cold. So if you are looking in the UK that is probably what you will find.
The thing about manfredas is that they flowers readily, and even in the UK agaves flower. So ther are probaly lots of un-named mangaves out there in private collections. Again I have been lucky in that I have managed to get hold of two. Both crosses with an agave obscura (or polyacantha var xalapensis, I forget which is the current name). One with manfreda maculosa, the other manfreda virginica. They have very different forms.
The manfreda maculosa x agave obscura have triangular sections to the leaves. It seems to offset profusely which is useful.
As with many manfredas / magaves the colour depends on the light and sun levels. In direct sunlight this one is covered in spots.
The manfreda virginica x agave obscura is more upright with softer leaves. Speaking to friends who also took pups, these were quite variable in colour and form.
I had high hopes for this one, then dispite only being a few years old it flowered. At first it looked like it would be a typical manfreda flower; a few flowers on the stem.
The flowers themselves are larger and typical of agaves.
Obviously the issue with seeds is that they need to be germinated and grown. Me and seedlings do not go well together. The last seed project was the aloe polyphyllas, 48 out of 50 seeds germinated, only 2 seedlings are still alive. I guess, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. In the mean time keep your fingers crossed that the pods produce viable seeds.
This summer, with the flowers and propagating my plants I have renued my search for more varieties. In the USA, there are now a lot of stunning varieties avialable. Just go to Walters Gardens Mad About Mangave page for a sample. While these are now for sale in the US, they have yet to make it over to the UK. I understand that plans are afoot to change this, but it will not beuntil for a year at least. In the mean time my search for European collectors / growers continues. If you have any manfredas or mangaves and would be interested in trading please let me know.
No doubt I will keep you up to date in the seeds progress, and if you live in the US, what are you waiting for go out and buy yourself a pot of happiness. Mangaves have been in the shade for too long, this is their year to shine!