Manihot esculenta ‘Variegata,’ more often known as Variegated Tapioca, is a unique tropical annual to southern Texas perennial and classified as a Texas Superstar by the Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension office. You can expect this plant to reach 4’-6’ tall and wide and have a naturally sprawling look that should not be forced or shaped with maintenance. Although Variegated Tapioca can be used as a summer annual accent in cooler climates, it prefers zones 10a to 11 to be classified as a tender perennial. When night temperatures are above 60 degrees Fahrenheit you can expect this accent plant to do very well; however below 50 degrees Fahrenheit the plant will suffer. The palmate leaves with variegation from yellow to bright green make it an interesting addition to any landscape.
I recommend planting Variegated Tapioca in landscape beds from zones 9a to 11, and placing these accents behind evergreen low shrubs that remain below 3’ in height so that they spill over them at maturity. I would replace with a winter perennial or expect those areas behind the evergreen shrubs to remain bare when Variegated Tapioca dies back after night temperatures drop well below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. From zones 7a-8b, Variegated Tapioca can be used in large landscape pottery or containers during the hot summer months as a large accent paired with plants having burgundy and maroon foliage or bright pink trailing annuals.
For those of you with animals or small children who enjoy tasting your landscape selections, this plant should be kept out of reach or not planted at all. The parts of this plant are poisonous.