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Products > Furcraea selloana var. marginata
Furcraea selloana var. marginata - Variegated Sword Lily
Image of Furcraea selloana var. marginata
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Agavaceae (now Asparagaceae)
Origin: South America
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Green
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Synonyms: [F. selloa, F. lindeni]
Height: 8-10 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Furcraea selloana var. marginata (Variegated Sword Lily) A thick trunk forming plant to 5 to 9+ feet tall by 6 to 8 feet wide with the trunk topped by a rosette of 3-5-foot-long green leaves that have a yellow variegation along the wavy margins which are lined with hook-like spines. Green flowers bloom on a 20-foot-tall flower stalk in spring once plants reach maturity, which can take many years. It is a monocarpic plant that declines after flowering, with many bulbils forming in the inflorescence.

Plant in a sunny to part sun location, with occasional to infrequent irrigation. Hardy to short duration temperatures down to around 25 F - some damage reported from inland locations with longer cold durations at 28 F. An attractive large succulent plant that lends a somewhat tropical look to the garden.

This species was first described from plants in cultivation in Germany that were thought to have originated from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, though no current specimens have been found growing in the wild in Central America. The most current references note that its natural range is from Colombia to Ecuador and the variegated form, first introduced as Furcraea lindenii, came from Cauca Valley in Columbia. The name Furcraea was given to this genus in 1793 by the French botanist Etienne Pierre Ventenat (17571808) to honor French chemist and politician, Antoine F de Fourcroy (1755-1809), who was the Director of the Jadin des Plantes in Paris. The specific epithet honors the German botanist and naturalist Friedrich Sellow (1789-1831) who worked as a plant collector in Brazil. Anther common name is Variegated Wild Sisal. This plant was long listed in horticulture as Furcraea selloa but in 2016 it was determined that "selloana" is the orthographically correct epithet in an article by Estrela Figueiredo & Gideon F. Smith titled "Furcraea selloana K.Koch is the Correct Orthography of the Species Name that Commemorates Hermann Sello in Furcraea Vent. (Asparagaceae subfam. Agavoideae / Agavaceae)" in the journal Haseltonia (22:31-34, 2016). We have grown this plant at our nursery since 1992. 

This information about Furcraea selloana var. marginata displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.