Manfreda

Family: Agavaceae
Habitat: USA, Eastern Mexico and Guatemala.
Cultivation: Easy: a bright spot, careful watering, mild temperatures and a well-draining substrate will do well.
Curiosity: All Manfredas are now placed in the Agave genus, but ther’s still confusion about their classification.

KEY FEATURES

Manfreda is a genus of plant in the family Asparagaceae. There’s still confusion about the botanical classification of this genus: some authors place it in genus Polianthes, others in the genus Agave.

Manfredas are mainly native to USA, Eastern Mexico and Guatemala.

Many species of Manfreda, such as M. brunnea, are from areas at altitudes of around 1000 meters above the sea level. On the other hand, the majority of the Manfreda species are from a wide range from altitudes, from 10 to 1500 meters. Manfredas usually prefer to grow on dry slopes or hills, among succulent bushes, or on rocky plains. Also, dry shrublands are the main habitat of many species.Actually, the preferred soils and environments depend on the species. M. maculosa, for example, can be found also in moist oak woods.

Manfredas are succulent, stemless or short-stemmed plants, consisting in a loose rosettes of fleshy leaves, sometimes hidden by bigger bushes in its natural environment.

The leaves are usually green but can take on different tinges or be blotched, depending on the species. Their shape is usually triangular, with smooth or slighly toothed edges, with no mucrone at the top of them (a mucrone is a terminal spine located at the top of the leaves of many succulent species.

Inflorescences are born on elongated, erect stems that reach heights of 120 centimeters and are, in botany, classified as spikes and leafless. The spike forms little, sessile (namely, not equipped with a peduncle), flowers, tubular or slightly funnel-shaped, with 6 petal fused at the base, of different colors depending on the species. In M. maculosa, flowers even change their colour during their short life (3-4 days), from green, to white, to pink and finally dark red. The blooming season usually occurs from March to July.

Fruits are 25 millimeters long capsules (in botany, a capsule is a specific kind of dry fruit that opens when ripe in different segments called valves, spreading the seeds all around). They contain black, flattened seeds.

VARIETY AND TYPES

Here below are a few species of Manfreda:

  • M. brunnea
  • M. bulbulifera
  • M. chamelensis
  • M. elongata
  • M. fusca
  • M. galvaniae
  • M. guerrerensis
  • M. guttata
  • M. hauniensis
  • M. involuta
  • M. jaliscana
  • M. littoralis
  • M. longibracteata
  • M. longiflora
  • M. maculata
  • M. maculosa
  • M. malinaltenangensis
  • M. nanchititlensis
  • M. paniculata
  • M. petskinil
  • M. planifolia
  • M. potosina
  • M. pringlei

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TIPS FOR GROWING

Manfredas are not so difficult to grow. Here are our advices:

  • Put your Manfreda in a bright spot to enhance the colorful tinges of its leaves.
  • Water your Manfreda regularly in Spring and Summer (its growing season) and reduce the irrigation frequency in Autumn and Winter, when the plant goes dormant and stop growing. Always wait for the soil to dry up completely before each irrigation.
  • Manfredas can survive cold temperature, even below 0ºC, if their substrate is maintained completely dry (unlu
  • Manfredas can resist to extremely low temperatures, even below 0ºC, as long as their substrate is maintained completely dry. However, to stay safe, if you live in climate zone with humid winter, it’s definetely advisable to put them indoors.
  • Choose a well-draining substrate to make your Manfreda thrive.
  • Fertilization necessities vary according on the species.
  • Repotting necessities vary according on the species: once a year, anyway, should be sufficient.

The easiest propagation method is to take off its many offsets and replanting them.

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