Friday, December 11, 2015

UC Davis early December aloe check

The other day I showed you how the winter-blooming aloes in my front yard are doing. Some should be in flower at or shortly after Christmas, depending on how many warm days we get between now and then.

I also took a quick trip to the UC Davis campus on Sunday to check on the progress of their aloes. They have some very nice plantings (see here).

Read on to see what I found. 

Yellow-flowering Aloe arborescens outside the Botanical Conservatory greenhouses on Kleiber Hall Drive

I was surprised to see it this far along since the red-flowering specimens on campus are weeks from blooming

Does anybody know if the yellow form blooms earlier? Or maybe it's just a fluke.

I really like this color of yellow

It's a nice change since most aloe flowers are red, pink or somewhere in between

Aloe littoralis

Aloe littoralis inflorescence emerging from the center of the rosette

Aloe microstigma

Aloe microstigma

Aloe microstigma

Aloe africana outside of Storer Hall

Red-flowering form of Aloe arborescens

Aloe bed between the Sciences Lab Building and Haring Hall

Only one aloe species is in bloom here at this time, but what a glorious sight it is: Aloe suprafoliata

A clump of Aloe suprafoliata that's a bit behind the others

Aloe suprafoliata

Aloe suprafoliata

Aloe suprafoliata. In contrast, the large Aloe marlothii behind it
doesn't have any flowers yet, just old remains.

Aloe suprafoliata

Aloe suprafoliata

Aloe suprafoliata


Not much is happening yet in the bed in front of the Sciences Lab Building on Hutchison Drive

However, this Aloe marlothii is pushing out a flower stalk

Aloe suprafoliata and yellow-flowering Aloe arborescens aside, it'll be a while yet before the UC Davis aloes are at their peak. This gives you enough time to plan a weekend trip in January. Parking is free on the weekends--a big benefit in my book (normally $9 for visitors).

16 comments:

  1. Looking good. They all seem to have enjoyed the summer heat in Davis. My yellow version of arborescens always bloomed at exactly the same time as the neighbor's orange/red version.

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    1. Yes, aloes definitely love the heat. Some species are bullet-proof in Davis: Aloe maculata, striata, arborescens, ferox, marlothii.

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  2. It's about time for a trek up to Berkeley for some Aloe action too..

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  3. Nice shots! Makes me want an A. lottoralis. My A. suprafoliata is way behind these. But my red arborescens is in full swing.

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    1. A. littoralis is great. Seems to grow well in Davis. I wish I had room for one.

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  4. Beautiful! I'm so envious that aloes can grow outside year round in Davis. I read that a big cold snap is headed for the whole west coast for the 3rd week of December: will that affect future blooming?
    My (indoor) Aloe cameronii has put up a bloom this past week! I can't wait until it turns color. Thanks for sharing, Gerhard.

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    1. The flowers are the most frost-sensitive parts so yes, a cold snap could damage or kill them. I'm keeping my fingers cross that temps won't drop below freezing...

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  5. Yes, the yellow arborescence I grow is always well ahead of most red forms here, but some reds seem to bloom earlier than most too. The suprafoliata's are blooming now up at UC Berkeley, with enough others that its already prime aloe season up there.

    It never ceases to amaze me what's grown up in Davis. Many winter blooming Aloes just melt the flowers if we get more than a degree or two of frost. I've seen more than a few years up at UCBBG where suprafoliata blooms were toasted.

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    1. I really have to make a trip to UC Berkeley. Their aloes are amazing!

      While Davis is definitely colder than Berkeley, our winter lows rarely drop below 25°F (and even then just for a few hours) so we are able to grow a wide range of plants.

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    2. Yes, understood, but it would seem typical winter lows would regularly damage flower spikes on these winter blooming Aloes. Do they make an effort to cover these at UC Davis when frost threatens? Your new budded Aloe 'Moonglow' are particularly sensitive from what I hear.

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    3. David, I can't imagine that they cover any of the outside plantings at UC Davis, but I will ask Ernesto Sandoval, the director of the Botanical Conservatory, the next time I see him.

      I'm keeping my fingers crossed we won't have a cold snap before the buds on my 'Moonglow' open up. Losing the flowers would be too depressing.

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  6. I think I need to invest in more of the large aloes - most of mine are the smaller varieties that just don't make the same kind of impact.

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    1. Yes! I think the larger aloes would do really well in your garden.

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  7. I thought about covering our Aloes a few years ago and then, out of minimizing expenses for frost cloth in combination with testing plants out for their hardiness, I decided not to cover plants and let scientific/ horticultural frontiers expand!

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    1. Excellent decision! I'm grateful for your scientific sacrifice--not that I think you've lost a lot of aloes in recent years.

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