Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Mottled Tuberose, Texas Tuberose
Manfreda variegata

Family: Agavaceae (ah-gav-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Manfreda (MAN-fred-ah) (Info)
Species: variegata (var-ee-GAY-tuh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

2 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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5 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive poeciliopsis On Jan 28, 2015, poeciliopsis from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

Central Phoenix -- My plants appear to be Manfreda variegata, but a seemingly identical plant at the Desert Botanical Garden is labeled M. virginica. Whichever it is, this plant is an almost too enthusiastic spreader in my succulent beds. It puts up multiple pups, often up to a foot away from the parent. However, they are relatively easy to remove using a sharp digging bar or knife. This plant needs no winter protection and has weathered many freezing winters in my garden, down to the lower 20s, without damage. The outer leaves die back in winter whether it freezes or not. The flower stalk is over 5 feet tall, with light yellow flowers. This plant tolerates many watering regimes, from every-other-day to once-a-month in summer. It will grow in dense shade (but leaves are elongated, unspotted, and droopy) and light shade. I have not tried it in full sun, but suspect it would survive fine.

Positive jmps On Jun 28, 2014, jmps from Austin, TX wrote:

This plant grows well under oaks, mottled shade and sun in Austin TX. It is a very interesting plant. I am surprised that there is little information around about its flowering habits. The flower scapes that come out in April shoot up to eight feet tall. They are still standing, dried, at the end of June. I have checked with others in Austin who report similarly, flower stalks seven to eight feet tall.

Positive marasri On Nov 19, 2013, marasri from Dripping Springs, TX wrote:

I love this plant. It is a no care plant under my oak tree in Central Texas. My only complaint is that the deer like it as much as I do. I have not seen a flow yet.

Positive azsusieq On Feb 15, 2011, azsusieq from Tucson, AZ wrote:

I love this plant. It spred laterally quite quickly. It is frost sensitive and has frozen back completely this cold Tucson winter. Hope the roots are still alive!

Neutral htop On Feb 13, 2009, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. Mottled Tuberose, Texas Tuberose (Manfreda variegata; synonyms: Agave variegata, Manfreda variegata, Manfreda tamazunchalensis, Manfreda xilitlensis, Polianthes variegata, Polianthes variegata, ) is also commonly known as variegated huaco, variegated wild tuberose, amole akayman (Spanish) and rattlesnake master. It is found natively growing only in Texas (endemic: Lower Rio Grande - Cameron County) and Mexico (Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas, Veracruz and Yucatán) on dry chaparral or moist locations, on rocky slopes or open/dense oak woods and is widely cultivated in gardens in Texas as well as Mexico and southern Africa.

Its succulent 16 inches long leaf blades resemble that of agaves, taper to a point and are splashed with liver-colored spots and are in the form of a basal rosette. The margins usually have distantly spaced, small teeth. The foliage usually is evergreen in mild winter climates; however, it is deciduous in the northern part of its growing range. The blooms which have a cooked onion odor appear in 8 inch long and 5 inch wide flower clusters on 3 foot to 6 foot flower spikes. They are light yellow to greenish-yellow turning to red and have showy lily-like anthers which give them a spidery appearance. They are followed by papery seed capsules. Hummingbirds love the flowers which provide early season nectar. Mottled tuberose may be a host plant for Manfreda Giant Skipper which is endangered in Texas due to habitat destruction.

Positive gispa30 On Dec 20, 2008, gispa30 from Mount Juliet, TN wrote:

This plant grows naturally on our very rocky terrain. The leaves remain close to the ground and are indeed pretty, but the flower stalk will be 5 feet tall. Flowers themselves not very conspicuous.
Very obvious seedpods form and I take it it self sows. Apparently, the flowers become fragrant at night. (need to re-verify that aspect).
The soil is very poor in its natural state and we experience drought conditions in summer so it should be a good subject for xeriscaping. I am a plant nut and try to maintain the rather unusual plants that grow on our terrain which goes by the name of a glade.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Blue Diamond, Nevada
Mount Juliet, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Dripping Springs, Texas
Pearland, Texas
Richmond, Texas

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