The dark green glossy ten-inch long leaves of Mangave “Pineapple Express” look a bit like a head of a pineapple but from some other planet.
The dark burgundy spots and dense rosette make it a truly stunning accent plant that works wonderfully in the sunny spot in the garden or the sunniest room in the house.
This mangave is not as spiky as its agave parent, but its tiny spikes on the edges of leaves deserve respect when repotting and watering. Its terminal cinnamon-colored spine is also sharp, so be careful.
If growing this beauty in the house, find the room with the window with southern exposure. Your Mangave “Pineapple Express” needs at least six hours of bright light and sun to thrive.
Mangaves are fairly new additions to the plant world.
This hybrid of Agave and Manfreda combines the best of both parents: it grows faster than agave and it is more frost and heat-tolerant than both parents.
Most importantly, this lovely perennial succulent is polycarpic, it does not die after blooming like agave.
Mangave “Pineapple Express” care
Mangave “Pineapple Express” grows best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. At home, if you cannot provide six hours of full sun and bright light, supplement it with a grow-light or a fluorescent lamp. This mangave needs poor, very well-draining soil. It should not be watered until the soil is completely dry. Do not let the temperature drop below 60°F (16°C). Mangave prefers desert conditions with dry air, so make sure the humidity in the room where your mangave lives is fairly low. If the conditions are good, your Mangave ”Pineapple Express” will grow to fifteen inches, with its rosette spreading to 18 inches. When grown indoors, this mangave grows fairly slowly. It will grow faster if you leave it outside in a sunny spot in the garden or on the balcony during the summer.
Mangave “Pineapple Express” needs very poor, well-draining soil, with at least 50 percent of coarse material such as pine bark, sand, or perlite. Cactus or succulents commercial soil mix will work fine. Make sure that your soil does not retain too much water or your mangave roots will not be able to aerate and will rot.
The pot for your mangave should have a large draining hole to allow excess water to drain away. Check the soil occasionally to see when it is sufficiently dry and ready to be watered.
Wait for the soil of your Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’ to completely dry out before watering it. Once the soil is dry, water it thoroughly and let the excess water drain out through the drainage hole. In the summer, depending on the temperature, it means watering it every two to three weeks or even less frequently. In the winter, water only if the soil is dry, regardless of how long the period between watering is.
While mangaves tolerate more water than agave, it is better to err on too little water than too much.
Water your mangave directly in the soil and try not to wet the leaves. If you allow water to accumulate in the plant rosette, the leaves might rot.
If your Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’ does not get enough water, it will be the sign for your plant to enter dormancy like it would in its native desert environment (the desert is native to both agave and manfreda).
One way to control the size of your mangave is to give it less water. When your plant reaches the desired size, or the size that can fit in your home, water it less often than usual.
Mangave “Pineapple Express” needs at least six hours of bright light and sun to thrive. The more sun it gets, the more prominent and bright its lovely burgundy spots become. Partial shade or insufficient light will not kill the plant, but it will start looking a bit colorless, greyish green.
Mangave grows best in the sunny spot in the garden, but it can happily grow in your home if you provide it with adequate light and dry air.
If you do not have enough light and the leaves start losing their distinct purple spots, place it under a grow light or fluorescent light.
Mangave “Pineapple Express” needs full sun and bright light, but when the temperature exceeds than 85 °F (30°C.), move your plant away from the window or place it behind some larger plant that can provide light shade.
Very high temperature can burn the leaves, especially if the soil is dry at the same time.
If you are keeping your mangave outdoors in the summer, make sure to bring it indoors before the first frost. It is considered tolerant to freezing temperature, but it is too beautiful to risk it.
Mangave “Pineapple Express” is a hybrid of two desert plants and enjoys dry air and high temperature. Humidity is not its friend. Do not place it in the bathroom or humid conservatory. Normal room humidity that is fine for us is fine for your mangave.
If you forget to feed your Mangave “Pineapple Express,” do not feel guilty. It does not require more than a small dose of liquid fertilizer diluted in half. Feed your mangave once in spring and that is all it needs.
Commercial growers who want their mangave to grow faster, feed them every time they water them. If you want your mangave to stay small, skip fertilizing completely.
Mangave “Pineapple Express” grows fairly slowly when grown as a house plant, which means that it will not need frequent repotting. Repot it in spring, every two to three years, into a pot one size larger than the old one. Choose a pot with a large drainage hole and replace the old soil with the fresh soil mix the same kind as you used before.
Your mangave does need pruning but remove any damaged leaf from its base. The leaves most commonly get damaged when burnt from too much sun or when water accumulates in the plant rosette, causing the leaves to rot.
Mangave “Pineapple Express” produces offsets or suckers that grow from the plant base. If you spot them, it means your plant is growing well and you are doing a good job. Let the offsets grow to an inch or two and cut them off the mother plant during the next repotting.
Make sure that each new plant has a well-developed root system. Plant each in its own pot and treat them just the mother plant.
You can also successfully propagate your Mangave “Pineapple Express” from bulbils, tiny bulb-like baby plants that grow on the flowers. Once your mangave blooms, you will notice a whole bunch of bulbils growing on its long flower stalk. Look for those that have roots already growing. Just twist them off and plant them directly to the soil.
Mangave “Pineapple Express” blooms every summer when grown in the sunny spot in the garden, but it might not bloom in the house. If you are lucky and you provide your plant with perfect growing conditions indoors, you will be rewarded with a greenish cluster of flowers.
Flowers grow on a tall skinny stalk that at times reaches six feet. The stalk grows straight from the plant rosette and is quite a sight. Flowers have a nice, fresh fragrance and attract hummingbirds.
Mangave “Pineapple Express” is polycarpic, which means it blooms every year and does not die after blooming, like its mother plant agave.
Mangave “Pineapple Express” is a human creation, a hybrid of agave x manfreda , two succulents. In difference to its agave parent, mangave is polycarpic and If growing in the right conditions, it blooms every summer.
Mangave “Pineapple Express” grows a dense rosette of dark green, sword-shaped, an inch wide succulent leaves with distinct purple spots. The leaves can reach a length of ten inches. This plant requires full sun to grow and the more sun it gets, the more colorful leaves are.
Mangave grows faster than agave, but only if grown in the garden, in a very sunny spot. It will not grow as fast indoors.
Mangave is drought-tolerant and fairly frost-tolerant, but if grown outdoors it is best to bring it inside before the first frost.
Overwatering is the most serious issue with mangave. It should be watered only when the soil is completely dry. Overwatering causes roots to rot, and the rapid decline of the plant. It is crucial to plant mangave in the well-draining coarse soil that does not retain water.
Mangave benefits from a diluted fertilizer in spring but could do without it. The more you fertilize it and water it, the faster it will grow.
View this post on Instagram
Common Problems with Mangave Pineapple Express
Mangave’s biggest issue is overwatering and the soil that retains too much water. Too much water causes roots or crown to rot. Mangave can also get infested by scale and mealybugs.
Root and crown rot
Mangave’s roots will rot if the plant is overwatered and/or planted in the soil that retains too much water. The best way to avoid overwatering is to plant your mangave in the well-draining coarse soil.
If you let the water to accumulate in your mangave’s crown, it might cause its crown to rot. It is recommended to water your plant directly to the soil.
Mealybugs are tiny insects that can be spotted by the white cotton on the leaves of the mangave. They suck the sap from the plant, causing the leaves to yellow and curl.
You can eliminate mealybugs by spraying your mangave with neem oil, washing the leaves with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol, or hosing it down with water.
To avoid mealybugs, make sure the air in the room where your mangave lives is dry. These insects like a hot and humid environment.
Scales are small insects that live in warm and dry environment. You can see them on the undersides of leaves. Infested leaves turn yellow and may drop.
Get rid of scale by washing your plant with a blast of water from a hose. You can also clean the leaves with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol. Spraying it with the neem oil is also very effective.
If you provide your mangave “Pineapple Express” with the optimal growing conditions, it will be more resilient and will cope better with pests. Your mangave needs plenty of full sun and bright light, poor coarse soil, and infrequent watering. If you can provide such conditions in your home, you will have a happy, healthy, and colorful plant.
Check your mangave frequently for the signs of insect infestation. As soon as you spot even one bug, treat the plant with insecticide.
Tips for growing Mangave “Pineapple Express”
- Provide your mangave with at least six hours of sun. Place it in front of the window with southern exposure. If the natural light is not sufficient, place the plant under a fluorescent lamp.
- Make sure the soil your mangave grows in is low in nutrients and free-draining.
- Let the soil dry before watering your mangave.
- Fertilize your plant with diluted all-purpose liquid fertilizer in spring.
- Check your mangave for pests often and treat it as soon as you spot any signs of them.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Mangave “Pineapple Express” care
Will my Mangave “Pineapple Express” bloom indoors?
Mangaves rarely bloom when grown indoors but if you provide it with ideal conditions with at least six hours of sun and bright light, coarse well-draining soil, and dry air, it might surprise you with a tall skinny stalk in the summer with a bunch of lime green flowers on top.
What is the best spot for my mangave “Pineapple Express” in my home?
Mangave needs plenty of direct light and six hours a day of full sun. If possible, place your mangave near the window with southern exposure. If you do not have a spot with plenty of natural light, place your mangave under the fluorescent lamp.
How can I propagate my Mangave “Pineapple Express”?
Mangave can be easily propagated by offsets, tiny plants that grow from the base of your mangave. It can also be propagated by using bulbils, tiny plants growing from the flower stalk. In both methods, use offsets or bulbils that are well-developed and have a root system in place.
Mangave “Pineapple Express” is a striking succulent that makes a lovely focal point in your home, in the bright, sunny spot. It is considered easy to grow.
It requires infrequent watering, almost no fertilizing, poor, coarse soil, and dry air. If you can find a spot in your home with such conditions, you will enjoy the slow growth of this unusual and rare plant.
Mangave “Pineapple Express” is a fairly new plant and the gardeners are still learning about its needs and requirements.
You can join them by observing your mangave’s growth and development, learning about its likes and dislikes and if you are successful in giving it the care it needs, it will reward you one summer with a tall stalk topped with a cluster of bright green flowers.
Mangave “Pineapple Express” is easy to propagate, so pinch its offsets when they grow big enough and have roots developed. They make a lovely gift to your friends who admired your mangave when they came for a visit.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.