Wednesday, January 13, 2016

× Mangave ‘Macho Mocha’

× Mangave ‘Macho Mocha’

I was reading an article about houseplants recently, and among the plants recommended were agaves.

No, no, no: agaves are armed with potentially dangerous spines at the tip of their leaves: if a child or pet walks into one, it might take out an eye or make a serious puncture wound.

Yet there is a way to get the agave look without the rigid leaves tipped in sabers. In the image above, you see × Mangave ‘Macho Mocha’; it’s a cross between plants which are nominally members of the genera Agave and Manfreda. It definitely has the agave look, but the leaves are oddly rubbery, and what look like spines at their tips are relatively soft and flexible.

Once the weather moderates in the spring it goes back outside. This plant can take freezes without harm, but I bring it in for the winter. While inside it gets no water – it remains turgid and attractive, and the lack of water prevents the production of soft, new growth in the poor interior light. It’s about as care-free as a houseplant can get.

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