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14 Plants for Manly Men

Looking for plants that go with grilling, suds and Nascar? Give your garden a blast of testosterone with plants just right for Father's Day giving.

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Photo: Courtesy of Quinta Mazatlan

Horse Crippler Cactus

A man who grows the horse crippler eats danger for breakfast after a morning run with scissors. In the wild, this cactus deflates during drought, making spines stand straight up, easily crippling unsuspecting horses. Sharp spines slip through an army boot like a hot knife through butter. Also known as devil’s claw, devil’s footstool and devil’s head, this rugged plant grows in conditions as hot as Hades, withstanding soil temps in excess of 160°F. It adapts well to life in a pot, just keep leather gloves at the ready.

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Photo: Photo courtesy of Perennial Resource

‘King Cobra’ Mangave

This plant is so manly it has man in the name! With snakey coloration and spiney leaves, this plant delivers the adventure men crave. It has the potential to draw blood or poke your eye out, but if you handle it right, it may not. What man can resist that siren call of danger? Mangave (pronounced man-GAH-vay—even the name has a macho ring) is a cross between manfreda and agave. Agave lends the spines; manfreda brings the color. This butch beauty doesn’t need pampering to look its best. Just give it a little water and a lot of sun.

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Photo: Image courtesy of Costa Farms

ZZ Plant

Move aside 007, Double Z has arrived! This docile-looking houseplant is a superhero in disguise, complete with bulletproof personality. It oozes manliness with its maintenance-free demeanor. Those shiny leaves aren’t waxed and buffed—that’s just how they grow. Give this plant low light, warm air and precious little water (we’re talking water maybe 6 times in 15 months). That’s all it takes. Double Z stands for Zamioculcas zamiifolia. You can call it zamia for short.

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Any plant with a name that sounds like gun earns a spot on the manly plants list. Gunnera, known in garden circles as giant rhubarb, conjures dreams of dinosaurs and journeys to the center of the earth. It’s so testosterone charged it should require a man card to grow it. Stems have thick spines that continue along leaf undersides. Leaves reach up to 6 feet across—easily earning the “bigger is better” award. One tip for success: Constant moisture, boggy soil and light shade are a must.

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