Twenty Nine Aloes Update

 Back in 2011 I did a post called "Twenty Nine Aloes".  I want to update that post with new pictures and comments about how the Aloes fared.  Aloes are listed in the same order as the original post.  I placed a soil scoop tool in most 2014 photos, to show scale. 

1. The 2011 Aloe striata had gall mite so I removed it, replacing it with another that is now nearly as large as the first.  I wondered if the first plant was hybrid.  I think this one is pretty pure striata.  If your plant has marginal teeth, it is probably not pure striata.
 photo striata1506_zpsfa3bfa80.jpg
2. Aloe 'Buena Creek', a completely undistinguished hybrid, also removed due to gall mite.  Not missed.
3. 'Blue Elf', now split into two pieces.  Nothing remarkable, but very reliable--it feeds the hummingbirds for several weeks each spring.
2011:  After a rainy winter it looked very blue:
 photo BloomMarch7185.jpg
2014:  After several dry winters, it looks--dry. 
4. A. hardyi.  Much grown, blooms every year.  Sunburns a bit--I wonder if I could move it to some afternoon shade.
 photo AloeHardyi6474.jpg
 photo aloe1590_zps2dac2bae.jpg
5. A. arborescens 'Yellow Torch'.  Gall mite:  gone.  It had beautiful yellow flowers every September, announcing the start of the main Aloe blooming season, but I found the plant itself ordinary and won't replace it.  A Yucca  queretaroensis took its spot on the slope.  
6. A. dichotoma.  Root rot.  Gone.  I miss that one.  Replaced with 'Hercules', which is much more tolerant of a rainy winter.  
April 2011:  Ohhhhh...
 photo DichotomaFallen8451.jpg 
7. A. plicatilis.  Much grown, gall mite.  I treated hammered the gall mite with systemic.  (Flowers removed, so they wouldn't poison bees.) This is one Aloe I don't want to lose. 
 photo aaloe1591_zps6d1c7a3c.jpg 
8.  A. vanbalenii.  Much grown, quite beautiful.  Elegant meaty swoops of tangerine-tinged olive.  Bold drama.  Can you tell I love it?
2011: right after a move in 2011.  It looked terrible.
A. vanbalenii photo ManyAloe7180.jpg
2014.  Better!
 photo vanbalenii1518_zps3411ff4f.jpg 
9. A. humulis(?)  Four clumps now, not one.  Needs irrigation, but too much and it rots. It's a handy filler for small blank areas.
A. iforgotii photo ManyAloe7179.jpg
2014.  Looks about the same as the above.
10. A. ellenbeckii.  Four clumps now, not one.  See #9
A. ellenbeckii photo ManyAloe7177.jpg 
2014:  this clump gets zero water.
 photo ellenbeckii1516_zps5109cb14.jpg 
this clump gets water:
 photo ellenbeckii1502_zpsd2b0618c.jpg 
11.  A tauri.  Gall mite; removed.  Should have tried surgery and systemic.  Now I know.
2011:  missed.
A. tauri photo ManyAloe7176.jpg
12.  A. camperi.  Healthy, rather boring.  It's grown a lot.
Aloe camperi, about 2010?
Aloe grenadensis? photo AloeGrenadensis5473.jpg
Aloe camperi, 2014.
 photo camperi1545_zps9c94cfa1.jpg
13. A. greatheadii.  Offsets aplenty.  Tough.  It's getting put in a lot of spots--I can always edit later.  For now, a good low empty space filler, filling more than ellenbeckii or humulis?
2011: it was a lone rosette back then.
A. greatheadii photo ManyAloe7174.jpg 
 photo greatheadii1499_zpsab4c5bd3.jpg
14 A. marlothii.  A favorite.  Grand.  That glorious candelabra of flowers!  The trunk is starting to form.
In January of 2011:
 photo Jan30x6642.jpg 
15. A. ferox.  Another grand tree aloe with a trunk beginning to show.  I've added at least two small ones recently as well.
2011:  ferox had already grown considerably by then.  I must have got that one in '10 or even in '09.
A. ferox photo ManyAloe7172.jpg 

2014: ferox on the left, marlothii on the right, baby ferox lower right.
 photo ferox1512_zps8793353f.jpg
16. A. megalacantha.  Blooms in gold about 9 months a year.  Two rosettes have become two 3' wide clumps.   Foliage nothing special.  Hummingbird brunch.

2011:  megalacantha is a bit spotted in adolescence, like humans.
A. megalacantha photo ManyAloe7170.jpg2014:  See what I mean?  Big and plain where foliage is concerned.  'Cynthia Gitty' is the spotted rosette with orange flowers on the right in this photo:
 photo aaloe1589_zpsc009e481.jpg 
17. A. 'Cynthia Gitty'. Blooms about 10 months a year.  One rosette has become a 3' wide clump.  Hummingbird obsession.
2011:  It was vigorous from the start:
A. 'Cynthia Gitty' photo ManyAloe7169.jpg
 photo gitty1509_zps3c000335.jpg 
18. A. gariepensis is doing fine despite a reputation for touchiness.  It's currently engulfed by a few other plants, must rescue.
2011:  This one really lives up to the low-water-needs reputation.  
A. gariepensis dabnoris photo ManyAloe7168.jpg 
2014:  rescue!  This is all I can see of it right now:
 photo gariepensis_zpsd4459287.jpg 
19. A. cameronii.  4' wide clump.  Dark burgundy red color in winter. 
2011:  Is that all it was back then?  Quick grower!
A. cameronii (supposedly) photo ManyAloe7167.jpg 
2014:  it greens up some in summer:
 photo carmeronii1508_zps4a6455dd.jpg
20. A. x 'Noblis' variegated.  Several clumps of it now, some non-variegated, others more variegated than originally.  Slow, but completely undemanding, though it needs a little summer irrigation.
A. nobilis (variegated) photo ManyAloe7166.jpg
 photo noblis1526_zps68ad3c95.jpg
21.  A. brevifolia.  I really didn't have a spot for it--it belongs in a pot, really but I am so cruel to plants in pots.  I stuck it under a rose, where it's thrived, though slowly.  Good plant. Tough. It gets zero irrigation where it is.
A. brevifolia photo ManyAloe7165.jpg 
 photo brevifolia1556_zps3fbdd91d.jpg 
22.  A. suprafoliata.  Speaking of cruelty to plants in pots, this beautiful beautiful plant belongs in the ground.  Get to it!  The true purpose of this post may be to shame myself into putting this lovely into the ground where it belongs. 
A. suprafoliata photo ManyAloe7161.jpg 
 photo suprafoliata1563_zpsa4058432.jpg
23.  'Hercules' #1, in 2011 potted, in 2014, in the ground.  OMG!  I adore how this plant is described by experienced growers:  "For God's sake, don't water it."  This is one of those plants that has such a strong physical presence--like a mature oak--it seems unintimidated by the human species. 
A. 'Hercules' photo ManyAloe7159.jpg
2014:  Opposible thumbs?  Who needs them?
 photo Hercules1552_zpsc4c60a4a.jpg
23.2 'Hercules' in a pot, just potted up gave it a JUMP in growth.  Get it into the ground before it's too heavy to move.  Or be prepared to rent a crane. 
 photo HerculesInACup1582_zps778ca063.jpg
24.  A. variegata.  Said to rot the instant you overwater it, so I never water it, and it's been sad.  Started watering it, and it's looking vastly better.  As I have often said, my idea of drought-tolerant is something considerably drier than the Mojave. 
 photo variegata1505_zps5812ba4e.jpg 
25. A. microstigma.  See A. variegata.
2014:  Center plant.  humilis? to the left.
 photo microstigma1501_zps0b5b189f.jpg 
26. A. pseudorubroviolacaea.  My favorite species name.  It rotted soon after purchase.  Miraculously I was able to reroot it.  Languished in a pot.  In the ground it's now big, strong, gorgeous, and bloomed for the first time this past winter.
Worrisome black areas on stem 
2014:  p-r-v on the right.  That's thraskii on the left, subject for another post. Their silvery buddy is Maireana sedifolia.
 photo aloeThrask1494_zps078f5acb.jpg 
27. A. deltoidondonta var cadicans is apparently the wrong name for this beautiful Aloe, but that's how its sold.  A solitary rosette at first,  the rosette grows to maybe 10" (25 cm) and blooms, then it offsets.  The original rosette shrinks to about 3" (8 cm) and you end up with a clump of small rosettes that don't bloom.  Well, okay then. I had it in blazing full sun on the front slope where it came close to dying.  Now in shade most of the day with a few hours of blazing afternoon sun, it's completely recovered.  I need to split off a single rosette and see if it does what the first one did. 
Aloe deltoideodonta var. candicans photo ManyAloe7157.jpg 
2014: restored to health
 photo deltoidontea1472_zps57c3eeb2.jpg
28. A. 'Fire Ranch'.  Another hybrid for which I have developed little affection.  It's--okay.  Aloe is a genus that ,for me, the species are far more interesting than the hybrids.
2011:  The Limonium and ice plant added so much spring color.  'Fire Ranch' is on the left:
 photo AloeFireRanch7336.jpg 
2014:  It barely gets any water at all.
 photo fireranch1542_zps1a3333b6.jpg  
29.  A. polyphylla.  Is it an achievement that it is still alive?  I have it on a steep slope in mostly shade to keep it as cool as possible where I don't water it enough.  I saw it looking glorious in Oakland next to a frigging sidewalk, the definition of lethal reflected heat.  I'm going to move it.  If nothing else, I'm learning from it. 
2011:  I discovered when I took this out of the pot that it had no roots.
 photo Polyphylla7342.jpg 
2014.  Don't cringe, it has a root system.  If ever you imply I have a green thumb, I'll refer you to this photo:
 photo polyphylla1566_zps0a68db38.jpg 

The collection is now larger in number as well as size.  Grist for another post.
 photo MulchAfter.jpg


  1. Wow, I'm floored. I had no idea you had that many different aloes. I now know who to ask when I have an aloe-related question.

    A few specific comments:

    A. greatheadii - people should grow this one instead of the ubiquitous A. maculata. So much more attractive!

    A. cameronii - mine is green, too, right now. I thought the red color is brought out by the heat, but it seems to be only the cold that does it.

    A. suprafoliata - I must have one, LOL!

    And unrelated: How fast is your Yucca queretaroensis growing? Mine seems very slow, but it's in a pot.

  2. Well I have lots more than 29 now. I need to post on those also.

    I will say maculata has better flowers. greatheadii is not much of a bloomer. I think for a spotted smallish maculate Aloe, sinkatana is another to consider. or Rooikappe, however that is spelled. yes, cold (dry cold) for the best color on cameronii

    yes, you need suprafoliata!

    I will post pix of the Yucca as soon as I can. It has not been as slow as I expected. Linearfolia is near shoulder-high and has a trunk already after purchase in a 4" pot about...2008. YQ seems as fast---is that slow?

    1. My A. sinkatana is blooming right now--well, finishing up. Yes, I agree 100%. A beautiful spotted aloe and hardy, at least here in zone 9b.

      I got my Yucca queretaroensis from Greg Starr last December. I fried about half of its leaves this spring by moving it into the full sun from a covered location, which accounts for some of the setback. It's been pushing new leaves since then, but slowly. OTOH, none of these trunk-forming yuccas are speed demons. Your linearifolia has done well in the last six years! One of my absolute favorites.

  3. Bravo for keeping track of aloe names!

    1. Mommy never forgets her babies names!

  4. In the process of shaming yourself (did it work?) you managed to stir up the green eyed monster. I'm trying hard to beat down resentment of your aloeificance.

    1. It's almost worked. I started looking around for a larger pot for suprafoliata, until I can get the right spot on the slope.

  5. Wonderful collection many are not hardy here, I experiment and sometimes fail. I am going to transform one of my Hateful Areas into a hardy succulent bed, and will seek out Aloes that can put up with cold and rain. The photo of your spring color is truly lovely.

    1. I think on the whole, the Agaves have more cold-hardy possibilitie. Polyphylla planted in grit at a tilt under the eaves?

    2. The ones that survive for me in the UK are striatula, and aristrata which we tend to forget is an aloe, there are also some nice large clones of this doing the rounds. Polphylla is very variable, and seems to come down to individual clone and plants being larger. I have had some luck by covering over winter with brevifolia, striata, greatheadii. There is some suggestion that herculese may have good hardiness but there are so few in the UK no one is risking theirs even with rain covers.

  6. Your aloe collection is impressive! I cruelly grow some of these in pots. (Not so cruel when the cold and rains come and they get to spend the winter in the warm dry house.) A. polyphylla only grows beautifully in that one garden in Oakland and in pictures that the horticulture industry foists on us to convince us to try and grow it one more time and that this time will be different. A great idea to include your spade for scale. Some or your babies are HUGE!

    1. You have climate as an excuse! :^) I don't. It has been a surprise as to how fast the Aloes grow and how big they can get. Some are just getting started.

  7. I enjoy your blog! As a Minnesotan now Montanan, I am awed by aloes (they're all aloes right?) and impressed! I am in the beginning stages of learning to care for Thanksgiving and Easter cacti and just recently acquired an aloe houseplant. And succulents... I love "trying" to propagate succulents - key word here is trying... :) anyway, VERY AWESOME garden you have!!

    1. Thanks! I've been to Montana--lovely place. My first Samoyed was from LIbby.

      There are some good web pages for Thx & Easter cacti care--once you get the basics they are quite easy indoors. Enjoy!

  8. Wow, fantastic collection Gail, I don't even know where to start as so many standouts...

    Aloe vanbalenii is a beauty and so is your clump (?) of Aloe plicatilis (that was well worth the extra effort of saving it from gall mite).

    The Aloe ferox and marlothii are usually difficult to tell apart but side by side like that it seems Marlothii has more 'teeth' to it?

    Amazing collection! I'll have to keep referring to this post for awhile...

    1. Glad you found it of interest.

      The interesting thing about the toothy marlothii--that is largely what you find here in Southern California, but in the wild, some of them are smooth. Whoever brought them originally to the US west coast brought the bumpy type apparently, and that is what has filtered out into all the gardens here. And there are apparently bumpy ferox, but the ones here are generally smooth after they get more than about 25 cm wide. Makes the ID easy here!

      Plicatilis has one sturdy trunk supporting all those fans. It's a squat tree after a few decades.

  9. When I get a greenhouse I'm going to start growing so many of these in pots! I love how some colonize for "fine texture" and others get big and strapping. The bloom photos you post (in spring mainly?) are so wonderful too.

    1. They are pretty easy in a greenhouse, as far as I can tell. Aloes bloom at all times of the year so it is possible to have enough species to never be without flowers. The prime show is in winter, when the big spectacular tree aloes bloom.

  10. What a spectacular post! There are so many things I want to say (and plants I want to steal).

    Aloe vanbalenii - those teeth! Aloe greatheadii growing in that groundcover whose name I've forgotten is just wonderful. And oh my that Aloe x 'Noblis' variegated is hurting my eyes it's so beautiful.

    1. Vanbalenii is really a beauty. The photo doesn't do it justice. No need to steal, just ask. :)

  11. Such amazing plants, I am SO JEALOUS! Too many lovely plants seems a shame to pick a few but, the tree aloes have to be my favourite and what I would give to have Hercules! And you know I love suprafoliata.

    1. Wish I could send you a 'Hercules', Spiky, but unfortunately there is no such thing as a small Hercules. The tree Aloes are my favorites also. They have such presence.

      Who could not love suprafoliata?

  12. I'm impressed! Now I know where to come when I'm looking for an Aloe ID. I also have a list for my next trip to OC Succulents.

  13. So very many gorgeous beauties. I'm in love with that A. x 'Noblis' variegated. I can't get over you can grow all these in the ground... Nice

    1. While I am amazed at lawns that are not dead! And at your lavish potted arrangements that are not--dead! We can't do either of those things here without spending a large fortune on water. Ah, climate...

  14. Do you have any ideas as to where I might find a rather large aloe vanbalenii? I need it as the centerpiece for my octopus garden and have been completely unsuccessful. I did see a rather small one at OC Succulents, but am hoping to find a large one.

    1. Did you try calling Rancho Soledad in Rancho Santa Fe? That's where I would start. They sell specimen-sized plants.


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