Growing Aloes From Seed

Back in 2014, this was a seed.  It is growing in mostly shade with some irrigation, so it's fairly green. 

Growing Aloes from seed.  I tried for the first time back in 2014, using seed from Aloe capitata pods.  Planting a few dozen seeds produced a few dozen seedlings and from those seedlings eventually six plants prevailed,  two of which I gave away.  I never watered the seedlings enough, apparently, because they grew very slowly.  Three of the four plants are still only about 6" wide;  the first photo of this post shows the largest plant which is about 16" wide.  One thing you learn growing anything from seed is that seedlings can vary more than cutting-grown plants.  

The original Aloe capitata has been in decline since 2014.  It has not bloomed since 2016.  It looks stressed.  Drought, probably, or  root competition from the 'Blue Glow' Agave or the Mangave next to it.  I've been giving the Aloe extra water almost every day and it is somewhat greener. 
 Three of the seedlings looks very much like their parent.  The largest looks a little different.  

I used open-pollinated seeds, which means they may be hybrids.  When (if) they ever bloom,  the flower will give an indication of whether or not they are pure capitata, or a hybrid.  

  As I remember, in 2014 I used the Aloe capitata seeds because they happen to have bloomed when no other Aloes in the garden were in flower.  That is no guarantee of purity, though, because there are lots of Aloes in the neighborhood.  Also, some plants are self-sterile while others are not.  I have no knowledge as to Aloe capitata is self-sterile or self-fertile.

This capitata seedling gets more sun and has pinkish highlights.   
 Same conditions for this one:
 Much hotter and drier conditions for the last one. 
 Some recent internet browsing revealed Aloe capitata is native to some high (52"!) rainfall areas.  Since doing that browsing I've been watering the seedlings much more, and they have responded by looking healthier.  

I am trying some seeds again this year,  this time seeds of Aloe pseudorubroviolacea and Aloe striata var karasbergensis.   
Aloe pseudorubroviolacea seed pods.  Note that they are starting to split open, indicating that the seeds are ripe.  
 For germinating them,  a plastic tub that originally contained salad greens.  The growing medium is about 2" of a sterile pumice/sand/peat mix, moistened but not soaked.  The tub has a lid that holds in moisture, so it doesn't need to be overly wet.  
I pressed the seeds into the growing medium so they would have good contact, and covered them very thinly with more potting mix.  Placement in bright indirect light--direct sun would cook them in a sealed plastic tub.  
Aloe seeds:
 July has been hot, with daytime temperatures in the mid 80sF/~28C and overnight lows around 70F/21C.  The first tiny plants appeared eight days after sowing.  

The next challenge will be to grow them large enough to be able to survive in the garden. A protected location with only very early morning sun until Autumn 2019 is the plan. 

Comments

  1. I'm very impressed by your success at growing Aloes from seed. I currently have 6 Aloe polyphylla seedlings growing in four-inch pots. They are tiny and haven't gotten much beyond tiny since they sprouted a year ago. I got the seeds from Chiltern's in the U.K. (they ship to the U.S.). They're still selling them, just in case you want to give them a try. The seeds need to be pre-sprouted in water.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aloe polyphylla, being an Alpine plant (no heat!), is difficult here. I've killed it several times. It is going to be far easier in your climate than in mine, and is worth the wait IMO. A truly wondrous plant. Enjoy it for me, please!

      Delete
  2. What a fun thing to do! Good.luck with your new batch of seeds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Growing from seed is, to this gardener, tricky. Some people derive great joy and satisfaction from it and have vast skill; I'm not in that group, unfortunately. But its good to experiment!

      Delete
  3. Sounds like aloes vary in habitat like agaves, some like it much more moist than people think. Most aren't desert plants, either. That's great you're growing some from seed; if only mine would bloom!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes indeedy, Agaves especially--some are quite happy in nearly full shade here. No flowers on yours???? Which are you growing?

      Delete
  4. I'm impressed! I've only just started trying to propagate plants from seeds. I discovered I have 2 tiny seedlings from the Ferraria crispa seeds I sowed about a month ago, which I'm pretty excited about - now if I can only keep them from dying. I've been collecting seed from my Pacific Coast Iris too and hope to plant up some of those seeds this weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's important to have a dedicated space and set up to make growing from seed as easy as possible, for those seeds that can't be easily grown right in the ground. Which I don't have, which is probably why I avoid growing plants from seed.

      Without a good set up, it is more annoying than fun. With one...success!

      Delete
  5. It is always fun to experiment in the garden. Those tiny aloes are cute popping up in the mix.
    I always think of Aloes not needing much water. What a shock reading that some could use 52". Good luck with your experiment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lisa! I'm trying to learn new things--gardening is good that way.

      Some Aloes are fine with 5" inches of water a year, some (apparently) want 50". Amazing plants.

      Delete
  6. The last seeds I grew were the aloe polyphylla. For me germinating them is fine (49 out of 50 germinated) but keeping seedlins alive is the problem as confirmed by me killing 47 out of the 49. I admire anyone who can turn seeds into actual plants. So well done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wish I could grow A. polyphylla here! Two polyphyllas are pretty awesome!

      I think here it would take a chilled greenhouse. They thrive on the California's Central Coast where the summer highs are usually around 20C/68F.

      Delete
  7. Best wishes for your aloe seedlings! I think you have done very well. I have rarely ventured into the propagation via seed method. While nature does a good job of it, my own efforts have not been encouraging!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not at all good at it. I decided it really helps to have a dedicated space and set up, like a greenhouse; otherwise it is not fun and more difficult. Since we don't get frosts here, a greenhouse can be too warm most of the time.

      Delete
  8. I pretty much stick with Zinnias and the occasional Sweet Peas, but feel admiration for those who excel at growing from seed. You are so right about the set-up, thus my best results are always with seeds that can be direct sown into the ground-provided the snails can be kept at bay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, Sweet Peas and Zinnias: exactly.

      My greatest success is still ground-sowing five Leucospermum seeds and getting three plants. One is big enough to bloom this coming winter. That will be an event. I may be one of the cool kids at that moment. For a moment.

      Snails! Between the rats and the drought, haven't seen a snail in the garden in years. Used to see herds of them down at the local park, too, but this spring only a very few. One positive from that terrible drought, but a high price to pay.

      Delete
  9. Super interesting. I collected seeds from several aloes this spring but haven't done anything with them yet. Your post was the nudge I needed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The garden has a couple from seed that sprouted in the garden on their own--the hardyi x cameronii was one.

      Just buy a tub of salad and use the tub...instant mini-greenhouse! :)

      Delete

Post a Comment

Always interested in your thoughts.

Any comments containing a link to a commercial site with the intent to promote that site will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding on this matter.

Popular Posts