Variegated Tapioca 'Variegata'

Manihot esculenta

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Manihot (MAN-ee-hot) (Info)
Species: esculenta (es-kew-LEN-tuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Variegata




Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


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

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow


Bloom Time:

Late Fall/Early Winter


Grown for foliage


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

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:

Glendale, Arizona

Tempe, Arizona

San Diego, California

Boca Raton, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Clearwater, Florida (2 reports)

Dunnellon, Florida

Fountain, Florida

Homosassa, Florida

Lakeland, Florida (2 reports)

Naples, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Plant City, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Rotonda West, Florida

Saint Augustine, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida (2 reports)

Sarasota, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Honomu, Hawaii

Greenwell Springs, Louisiana

Lake Charles, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Pass Christian, Mississippi

Stilwell, Oklahoma

Alvin, Texas

Austin, Texas

Belton, Texas

Brazoria, Texas

Frisco, Texas

Orange, Texas

Plano, Texas

Princeton, Texas

Spicewood, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 29, 2012, lfunnyfarm from Buford, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I had been eying this plant for a couple of years and finally broke down and bought one at the UGA plant sale. It has grown from a small 1 gallon plant to a 5 foot tall standard.
My boys call it Mom's "variegated marijuana plant" :)

It was in a southeastern location outside but I brought it in last night because of the predicted temperature. I don't have a greenhouse (sigh...someday) and the exposures of my windows don't strike me as optimal. Should I prune it/cut it back for the winter? I would also like to propagate it.
Any suggestions?


On Oct 16, 2012, MerMom from Rio Rancho, NM wrote:

I also live in Rio Rancho, NM and bought this plant from Home Depot. I had it out doors but the wind was so bad I brought it inside. All the leaves fell off but now I see little ones starting to sprout. I am wondering what I did wrong so I dont repeat this. My plant will be staying indoors in a very sunny spot, from reading the other comments I am assuming that humidity is a good thing?


On Jul 11, 2012, charliend from Rio Rancho, NM wrote:

Just saw this plant for the first time at Home Depot in Albuquerque, and had to have it. We live in Rio Rancho, just NW of ABQ. They knew nothing about it, so I used the price and name tag on the pot to find information. The comments I have read have all been from Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. I see nothing for New Mexico. I can only assume that come winter, we'll have to bring this plant inside, and eventually put it in a different pot. Don't know yet whether it will grow yet here, and
They had it in full sun when I saw it. It's in full sun here, most of the day. I'm hoping it will do well, because it's a beautiful plant.
Please let me know if it's known to survive here, and under what conditions. Thanks


On Sep 17, 2010, donnacreation from Sumter, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

This stunning plant isn't cold hardy here, and I don't think it's cold hardy in Dallas, either. In Nov, I cut mine back and winter indoors , then plant inground around mid April. They grow taller than 6' in my backyard, so far almost 8' and counting this summer. These plants grow from lightly rooted tubers, and they are very fragile. Because they're also bulky and leafy, they need to be shored up on all sides to protect from gusty winds. I use a native stone that happens to be quite heavy. Light stones or bricks will easily collapse in strong winds, especially when plants begin exceeding 5' in height. Spectacular foliage and bamboo appearing trunks and limbs defintely make this plant worth the extra effort.


On Apr 2, 2010, pgcarroll from Belleair, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

We have had this plant in our front yard (morning shade and afternoon blast-furnace, full sun) for six years now. It grows very tall (6+ feet) and looks gorgeous every year. I cut it back several times a year, usually only a few stalks at a time so that it doesn't look completely denuded; it always grows back. This year's (2010) severe freezing temps for several nights knocked it back hard but now (April) we are seeing sprouting from the brown stumps that are left. I have every expectation that it will come back. It's hard to kill, not that I'd want to.


On Jan 26, 2009, Dedda from Petersburg, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Have mine for two years now in a pot.Did well outside in part shade- gets a wilted look in too much sun, leaves fold down ward..hard to decribe.
Does not like chemical fertilizers!
Keep it on the dry side, will drop every leaf if she stays too moist! Handles drought conditions better .....
Correct about root sytem being flimsy...


On Nov 26, 2008, Plant_Man_28 from Saint Augustine, FL wrote:

Picked up this plant at the St. Augustine agricultural plant show. I planted it in full sun in May and it was always wilting so I moved it to where it would only get morning sun until noon and it has thrived all summer and grew to a bushy 4+ feet and looked great. The plant does seem to have weak roots and got knocked down by a few tropical storms but nothing a bit of staking wouldn't fix. Now it is November and it is looking a little scraggly and losing some of its leave after a very early cold snap and a few nights close to freezing. Hopefully it will make it thru our fairly mild St. Augustine winter will keep you posted.


On Oct 20, 2008, Dirty_Thumbs from Clearwater, FL wrote:

I had purchased this plant from a Vendor at a local Flea-market in March 2007. When I bought it, it was about 14" tall.

This morning (1 year & 7 months after planting) It has grown to 73" Tall & 77" wide.

I purchased this plant for privacy mainly (It is between my home & my neighbor's). I have not cut it back since I planted it last year.It has 2 branches out from the main.

It holds up well during the winter months, we average mid 40's in the winter at night & 50's to 60's during the day.

Although, I am curious if this plant flowers.


On Sep 12, 2008, robcorreia from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

Absolutely gorgeous. My plant is still very small, but very healthy in part sun, protected by a mansonry wall. I can't wait till it grows and it can go in the ground!


On Jun 28, 2005, TexasTam from Plano, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I recently visited the Texas A&M Research Center in Dallas and noticed a couple of Variegated Tapiocas (planed in mostly full sun) in their testing garden.

The plants immediately caught my eye for their variegated beauty. One was trimmed into a small tree form, the other was left as more of a hedge.

If the plants survive four years w/o fertilization or herbicides in their current conditions, they'll be deemed a Texas Superstar by Texas A&M...and you can be sure there'll be lots of publicity to go along with such a declaration!


On Nov 12, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

Both the varigated and plain plants grow here profusely...sometimes to great heights. You see it growing as a wild weed in many places and by the sides of the roads.

My son can't touch it. For some reason, he breaks into hives. It doesn't bother me, so I'm usually the designated cutter when it needs to be trimmed back or chopped down.


On Nov 9, 2004, larrycook from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I've had for several years. Very tropical, goes into GH b4 1st frost. Mine is sorta lanky, foliage is outstanding. Saw 1 recently owner still had in 1gal. pot that spread out rather then up.


On Jun 21, 2004, WillowWasp from Jones Creek, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I just bought this plant because I love varigated plants of any kind. It was so full and pretty I couldn't resist it so home it came. I have had it now about 2 months and it is doing wonderfully. It is a real keeper in my book... :o)


On Jun 21, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love this plant, too, but mine just melted to the ground first frost of winter, here in So Cal... too bad. The 'regular' form right next to it grew great and never had a problem (becomes deciduous in the winters), but doesn't look as striking as this one... so positive on looks, negative on experience here in zone 9b


On Jun 21, 2004, tyler70006 from New Orleans, LA wrote:

I found one from Lowes for $14.00. It doubled in size in abought a month. Its one of the most attractive plants I have. Will attempt propagating by cuttings in a few weeks.


On Jun 15, 2004, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

THIS is THE plant that everyone remarks on when they walk into the garden or greenhouse. EVERYONE wants one! Thank goodness it's easily started from cuttings!

My greenhouse dipped down below 32 degrees twice this past winter, once I think it got to 26 inside there. The plant lost all it's leaves, but they regrew from the stems (that obviously survived) just fine come spring.

This is a cousin to the edible-rooted tapioca plant we get tapioca for pudding from.