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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. 

Information about Furcraea selloana var. marginata displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.