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This Purple Succulent Suits Dry Gardens and Pots

‘Thunderbird’ mangave is a small succulent with mottled purple foliage. The edges of the leaves bear colorful teeth—lime green shifting to orange. It makes an interesting accent plant in a dry garden or a cool container specimen.


Common name: 'Thunderbird' mangave

Botanical name: Mangave 'Thunderbird'

Exposure: Full sun

Foliage: Thick, flattened, succulent leaves are purple in color, with noticeable silver mottling. The leaf margin is silver and studded with green and orange teeth. 

Habit: 'Thunderbird' mangave forms a tight rosette to 12 inches wide and tall. 

Origin: Mangaves are plants that come from crossing species in two different genera, Manfreda and Agave. From their manfreda parents, mangaves gain quicker growth and intriguing leaf coloration. Their agave parents provide a tight growth habit. meanwhile, they get a tight habit from their agave parents. 'Thunderbird' was introduced by Walters Gardens in 2022 as an addition to the Mad About Mangaves series.

How to grow it: Mangaves grow slowly, so they need some patience. However they do grow more quickly than agaves. Provide full sun and a soil or potting mix with sharp drainage. If grown in a container, mangave needs a pot just slightly wider than its rosette; avoid choosing a pot too large, which could lead to root rot. Cease watering in winter, when this plant is dormant. During the growing season, mangave can take dry conditions but will thrive with occasional supplemental watering. 'Thunderbird' mangave is hardy in USDA Zones 9 through 11. Elsewhere, it can be wintered indoors in a cool room.

Image courtesy of Walters Gardens