Thursday, February 13, 2020

Aloes aloes

As you know from this post published in mid-January, I've been wishing for more sun and warmer temperatures so the flowers on our aloes would finally open up. This winter hasn't been particular cold—only one night where the temperature briefly dropped below freezing—but we've had a surprising number of gray days in the 40s. No sun and hence no warmth from the fireball in the sky threw everything, not just the aloes, into a seemingly interminable holding pattern.

Finally, this past week has been sunny and warm—nicely warm. And to everyone's delight, our aloes are responding. Take a look!

Aloe 'Tangerine', planted just two years ago, has turned into a real beauty. It's thought to be a cross between Aloe arborescens and Aloe ferox.



As always, the first one to flower (and the one to flower most extravagantly) is Aloe 'Moonglow'. This is clump #1 of 3. It all started with one 5-gallon pot from Home Depot, which a friend and I split in 2015. There were five individual plants in the can; she got two and I got three. Less than five years later I have three large clumps!

Aloe ferox

Aloe ferox

Aloe petricola in the front, with clump #2 of Aloe 'Moonglow' behind it. The shadow on the fence in the left photo is cast by Aloidendron 'Hercules'.

Aloe petricola

Aloe wickensii, always a delight

Aloe wickensii

Aloe capitata var. quartziticola. I had to move it because of the 'Sonoran Emerald' palo verde which took a tumble last May but it looks like it's recovered nicely.

Aloe capitata var. quartziticola

There's still more to come. The aloes below aren't quite there yet:

Aloe 'Erik the Red'

Aloe excelsa, two multi-branched inflorescences this year

Aloe cameronii (the blue-turquoise flower is from Salvia bullulata)

Aloe 'Nick Deinhart' (Aloe speciosa × Aloidendron barberae)

Aloe marlothii

I'm really hoping this warm spell isn't a fluke, to be replaced by a cold snap that will nip this aloe spectacle in the bud. Fortunately, the 10-day forecast is looking benign.

On Saturday, I will be at the Ruth Bancroft Garden for their annual Valentine's Day Aloe Walk where curator Brian Kemble, a world-renowned aloe expert, gives a guided tour of the flowering aloes at the RBG. Look for a post next week!


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18 comments:

  1. It's a beautiful display, Gerhard. I love 'Moonglow'.

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    1. It's beauty and complete bullet-proof, just like 'Erik the Red'.

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  2. With the Aloes all lined up and in bloom it reminds me of counter in an old fashioned "Candy Shoppe". Your neighbors must be happy. I really like the dropping form of the A. speciosa cross. I'm guessing that one will grow vary large based on it's parentage?

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    1. Candy shoppe! That's a good comparison!!!

      My Aloe speciosa x barberae has been a slow grower, but I agree: It'll be substantial over time. It should be OK where it is now.

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  3. Oh, that moonglow is gorgeous! I might need to replace some plants on the hillside... perhaps I should look for some of those! Glad they are all off and blooming, and enjoy the RBG!

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  4. So gorgeous! While paging through beauty I realized I've always imagined aloe flowers to be very long lived, but I have nothing to base that assumption on. What do you say?

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    1. I honestly don't know how long each individual flower lasts, but since there are so many per inflorescence and they open up in succession, the display can go on for many weeks.

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  5. Hi,
    I love reading your blog. I live in the Phoenix area and it always makes me happy when someone else appreciates our plants and climate. I was wondering if you had any experience with the black gem aloe. I just picked up a plant at Mesquite Valley growers in Tucson--awesome nursery! (I don't know why Phoenix doesn't have anything close to that size--at least that i am aware of--very envious). Anyway, i have been planting more aloes and agaves in my yard and i am never sure which ones can actually withstand the phoenix summer sun. Any advice? Again, love your pictures and blog.

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    1. 'Black Gem' is an Alworthia, a hybrid between Aloe and Haworthia. With its Haworthia parentage, it likes more shade than your typical aloe. I'd definitely protect it from the afternoon sun.

      Thanks for your kind words!

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  6. They are all gorgeous but my favourite is A. wickensii. The bicolour buds/flower are stunning.

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  7. Aloes give so much for so little effort.

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  8. The color of Aloe ferox blooms is jaw-dropping gorgeous.

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    1. It seems like the flower color is a darker red this year. Doesn't seem possible, but I like what I'm seeing!

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  9. Geez Louise, Gerhard! How about we do coffee in your garden at the end of February next year? Your border along the street is hardworking and multi-talented. Looks good without the Aloes looks other-worldly with them.

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