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Garden Gems: Spot a ‘Pineapple Express’ in dry garden

Garden Gems: “Pineapple Express” mangave or hybrid spotted agave is a hybrid of manfreda and agave. It shines in a dry garden.
Garden Gems: “Pineapple Express” mangave or hybrid spotted agave is a hybrid of manfreda and agave. It shines in a dry garden.

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “Garden Gems” series – 45 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region and that add sparkle to drought-tolerant landscapes.

Hybrid spotted agave

Mangave “Pineapple Express”

Size: Up to 18 inches tall and 2 feet wide

Bloom season: None

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade; needs six-plus hours of sun daily to bring out coloration

Pruning needs: None

Water needs: Medium to low; once established, water deeply once or twice a month in summer; prefers no winter irrigation

Snapshot: Discover a low-water “Pineapple Express.” Recently introduced to horticulture, mangave or spotted agave is a new hybrid of manfreda and agave. It combines the interesting spotted foliage and quick growth of manfreda with the form and dependability of agave. This sculptural succulent or tender perennial features inch-wide olive green leaves with many purple spots and tipped by sharp cinnamon-colored needles. The form and color makes a beautiful spiky accent, reminiscent of the top of a pineapple (especially when planted in a yellow or brown container).

For more on “Garden Gems,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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