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Rattlesnake Agave, Spice Lily

Manfreda maculosa

Family: Agavaceae (ah-gav-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Manfreda (MAN-fred-ah) (Info)
Species: maculosa (mak-yoo-LOH-suh) (Info)
Synonym:Agave maculosa
Synonym:Agave manfreda maculosa
Synonym:Manfreda maculata


Alpines and Rock Gardens


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Pale Green

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer


Grown for foliage





Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


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

Kingman, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)

Tucson, Arizona

Clayton, California

Oceanside, California

Santa Barbara, California

Miami, Florida

Henderson, Nevada

Roswell, New Mexico

Austin, Texas (2 reports)

Dripping Springs, Texas

Geronimo, Texas

Harlingen, Texas

Houston, Texas

San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)

Spring Branch, Texas

Uvalde, Texas

Willis, Texas

Yoakum, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 11, 2015, hampson from Kingman, AZ (Zone 8b) wrote:

Got my first one in the late 70's bare root from Don Buzzingham in Texas. Grew in a pot for years in IL. Then wintered out in AZ. I have grown 3 types. Bloom every summer. Suffer winter damage. No extra water. Full sun. Am now keeping "Macho Mocha" in pots to keep it more attractive. It is beautiful, but leaves break easily.


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

Central Phoenix --- Although I remain confused on Manfreda identification, I believe I have Manfreda maculosa. I have several plants, all propagated from a plant collected in the wild in Texas in the mid-1980s. It is small for a Manfreda, but quite vigorous. The flower stalk is about 18 inches to 2 feet tall and the flowers are white with burgundy blush on the outer edges. Their multiple heads cluster closely. These plants have survived many freezing winters into the lower 20s in the ground and in pots. They get water ranging from once a month to weekly in summer and little to none in winter. While I grow most of mine in shade, some get substantial afternoon sun and those tend to do best.


On Jul 9, 2010, theDabbler from Henderson, NV wrote:

I've been growing this plant in my yard for over one year. It has survived both the summer (115 degrees +) and the winter (a 6" blanket of snow) in Las Vegas and is doing quite nicely. The flowers are interesting.


On Feb 25, 2009, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. Rattlesnake Agave, Spice Lily (Manfreda maculosa) is native to southern Texas and northern Mexico. It blooms from March through August.


On Jan 18, 2008, dmj1218 from west Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is a low growing native of South Texas with rosettes of succulent blue-green toothed leaves sporting an abundance of maroon colored spots. The plants reach a maximum height and width of one foot, which makes them the perfect size for most garden and container settings. The tubular two-foot-tall blooms open a greenish-white and fade reddish-pink as they age. Manfreda maculosa grows from underground rhizomes and needs a very well drained soil with full sun to partial shade. It becomes deciduous to survive droughts and can survive serious freezes without damage once established in the garden. Chopped rhizomes of Manfreda maculosa were once used as a source of soap and shampoo in the republic of Texas. Caterpillars of the rare Manfreda Giant Skipper (Stallingsia maculosa) depend on this p... read more


On Apr 14, 2004, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

I love this plant.....have moved it twice to get it away from any source of water. It doesn't like to be wet at all, so now it sits where it gets no water, but will get some dappled late afternoon shade to keep the leaves from burning.