Manganese (Mn) is an essential micronutrient in all organisms, but may become toxic when present in excess. Four maize (Zea mays L.) varieties, Kneja 605, Kneja 434, Kneja 509 and Kneja 537, were studied with respect to their responses to excess Mn in hydroponic solution. In the varieties Kneja 605, Kneja 509 and Kneja 537, increasing Mn concentrations in the nutrient solution negatively affected biomass accumulation, photosynthetic rate, transpiration, stomatal conductance and chlorophyll content. In addition, these varieties showed increased electrolyte leakage and lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde [MDA] content). Increased Mn leaf concentrations, higher contents of chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b, higher photosynthetic rate and transpiration, lower concentrations of MDA and insignificant changes in the electrolyte leakage in the leaves were found in var. Kneja 434 compared with the other maize varieties studied. This variety appeared to possess a stronger ability to cope with Mn phytotoxicity, suggesting high potential for Mn detoxification and var. Kneja 434 could be a good candidate for improving maize productivity on acid soils under non-tropical conditions.