Inventory of potted aloes in the backyard plant ghetto

I have a lot of aloes. Many are in the ground, especially larger varieties.  But a fair number are in pots. 

A few, surprisingly few actually, are in decorative containers, like this Aloe peglerae—not that you can see the Mark Muradian pot it's in:

Aloe peglerae

The vast majority are in simple plastic pots, like this Aloe castilloniae:

Aloe castilloniae

And they're crammed together in nursery trays to the point where they become a jumble:

This tray is a bit better:

As you can see, most plants are in 3- and 4-inch plastic pots. 

Yesterday, I did some repotting, moving larger rot-bound plants up one pot size. After all, this is the prime growing season for many aloe species.

A little more breathing room after repotting

You may be wondering why I have so many aloes seemingly stuck in plastic nursery pots. Sometimes I wonder myself, and I'm only partially joking when I say that. I'm a collector at heart—or a hoarder, depending on your viewpoint. I buy seedlings of interesting species when I come across them, and I gladly accept plant gifts from friends, especially hybrids they created themselves. With space in the ground at a premium, most smaller plants are confined to the plant ghetto in the backyard while they're putting on size. Typically, I wait until plants are in #1 cans before I put them in the ground.

Over time, my focus sometimes changes, and some species I once found attractive for one reason or another begin to fall out of favor. For a while, I was collecting aloes with yellow or white flowers regardless of whether the plant itself has something going for it. Ditto for aloes with tall spicate flowers as exemplified by this Aloe castanea at the UC Botanical Garden. 

If I had unlimited space in the garden, I'd be able to plant them all, even if they're only visually appealing for a few weeks out of the year. Reality is different, though. I need to be selective about what I put in the ground. That's why I try to pick plants that offer something in addition to striking flowers: attractive leaves, interesting stress colors, etc. As a result, many potted aloes remain potted and stuck in trays.

Yesterday, as I was inspecting my potted aloes and deciding which ones to move up to a larger pot size, I realized that I didn't have a consolidated list of what I actually have. It didn't take long to create an inventory, but the sheer number of plants surprised me. 

I'm sharing the list below, mostly as a reference for myself, but some of you might find it interesting. It's also a reminder of why I found certain species compelling in the first place.

1Aloe'AJR'Open pollinated seedling
2Aloe'Brown-Powys 21'"This plant has been around in cultivation for a long time and superficially resembles Aloe kilifiensis. After some mostly profitless research, we determined that these plants must have come from Ann Powys and her ex-husband, but no other information is available. We have no idea whether this is a species, a form of an existing species (such as A. kilifiensis), or a hybrid."
3Aloe'Erik the Red'Cutting
4Aloe'Jacob's Ladder'Cutting. "This plant was an International Succulent Introduction in 2003 (ISI 2003-170) of a plant that had for many years been growing at the Huntington Botanic Garden (HBG 29892) as a yellow form of the eastern and central African (Uganda, Congo, Rwanda) Aloe dawei, but was later determined to likely be a hybrid of that species."
5Aloe'KG-14'Old unnamed Kelly Griffin hybrid with red teeth
6Aloe'TM012216'Tim Harvey hybrid, looks like it has A. humilis in it
7Aloe× spinosissimaOffset from our own plant
8Aloeaculeata'Blue Form'Seedling from JT grown from seed by ND
9Aloeafricana × polyphyllaJT hybrid
10AloealbifloraFrom TR
11Aloearenicola"This species is mostly found in coastal areas of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It is a dimorphic species, with the young stems snaking along the ground with short leaves, the adult leaves being densely white-spotted and upright. The flowers are orange-red. This is a difficult species to grow and it is restricted to sand sheets in winter-rainfall areas."
12AloeaustroarabicaSummer grower/bloomer. I bought it for its yellow flowers; plant itself unremarkable.
13AloebakeriFrom JT
14AloebellatulaFrom TR
15AloeAloe bulbilliferavar. bulbillifera"This species from Madagascar is known primarily for its bulbil production on the racemes. The leaves are green with relatively small and inconspicuous teeth on the margins. The flowers are red and quite pretty. Our plants grown outside have taken minimal damage at 20F and major damage at 18F. "
16AloeburgersfortensisOne of the nicer spotted aloes
17AloecanarinaRare yellow-flowering sp from Sudan and Uganda
18Aloecastilloniae × conifera
19AloecastilloniaeBought at Oasis in Vista. CA
20AloechabaudiiVariable clumper. Uncertain what flower colors this seedling will have.
21Aloedecurva3 from Arid Lands, 1 from seed. From Mozambique. Decurved stems with unique flowers.
22Aloedhufarensis2x from different source. Pale leaves. Beautiful plant but needs to be dry in winter so cannot plant out.
23AloeerinaceaGift from CRY
24Aloeesculenta"From a wide area of Southwest Africa, including Angola, Namibia, and Botswana, Aloe esculenta looks like a dwarf version of Aloe littoralis, perhaps the iconic tree Aloe of Namibia. Aloe esculenta has very tall inflorescences, on occasion towering 6 feet over the plant, that bear pink flowers with yellow lobes. "
25Aloefalcata"From the Northern and Western Cape Provinces of South Africa, this small, blue-gray Aloe can offset prolifically. It appears to bridge a gap in form between A. krapohliana and A. claviflora, although the flowers, which are red, are quite different and borne in relatively tall, upright inflorescences. "
26Aloeferox × capitataJT hybrid
27Aloefleurentiniorum"(Yemeni Brown Aloe) - A stemless plant to 2 feet tall with rosettes to 2 to 3 feet wide thick recurving very dark olive green leaves that are moderately rough textured with nearly no marginal spines and often tinged reddish brown when grown in full sun."
28Aloeframesii"This plant has grown at the Huntington since 1965 and has offset to form a 2 m wide colony of about 15 heads, each about 30 cm (1 ft) in diameter. The leaves are a gun-metal gray and bear a prominent, zipper-like bud imprint across each leaf. The precise origin of our plant is uncertain, but the species is restricted to the west coast of South Africa, in the N. Cape north of Port Nolloth, as well as in the adjacent W. Cape, in coastal sand flats on sandstone. This distribution puts the species squarely in the Mediterranean climate zone with predominantly winter rainfall and hot, dry summers. This is very much like the climate we experience in the Desert Garden, explaining the plant’s persistence and suitability for southern California gardens."
29Aloegariepensis"(Gariep River Aloe) - A small to moderate-sized mostly solitary and stemless or short-stemmed rosette-forming succulent to 2 to 3 feet wide by 3 feet tall with narrow pale green upcurved leaves with reddish teeth along the margins and elongated white spots running longitudinally on the leaves. In mid-winter to early spring appear the unbranched inflorescences of short orange-red flowers that open to yellow. When stressed by either lack of water or cold temperatures the entire plant turns reddish. Plant in a full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate very little if at all. Hardy to 23 F."
30Aloeglobuligemma"An aloe that is stemless or has creeping horizontal stems with 2-3 foot tall rosettes of erect blue-green leaves that arch outward near the tips and have white soft spines along the leaf margins. In late to mid winter appears the wide branched inflorescence with nearly horizontal stems of roundish red buds angled upward from the stem that open to a rosy pink and white. It comes from the warm low bush-veld in Mpumalanga in northern South Africa through Limpopo into Zimbabwe. Plant in full sun and irrigate regularly to occasionally in warm weather. Listed as suffering from leaf damage when temperatures drop into the mid 20'sF."
31Aloeglobuligemma × mawiiSame parentage as Brent Wiegand hybrid I have in the ground, originally rec'd from Solana Succulents.
32Aloehoffmannii × ericetorumOffsets from our own plant. Beautiful Nick Deinhart hybrid.
33Aloehumilis × glaucaGift from Nick Deinhart. "A small clustering aloe that grows less than a foot tall with 6 inch wide rosettes of upright lanceolate gray leaves that are covered in white teeth (tubercles) on all surfaces. In summer appear 1 foot tall unbranched spikes of pale orange flowers. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil. Both parents are fairly drought tolerant but need good drainage so best to avoid over watering particularly in winter. Both parents also come from moderately high elevations and winter hardiness should prove to be at least down to the low 20s° F."
34AloeikiorumOP seedling from John Becker; seed from John Miller's garden. Possibly hybrid.
35Aloeimatolensis"From Madagascar, this small species slowly offsets to form small clumps. The leaves are blue-green and unspotted with faint lines and a vaguely pink margin. The flowers are held in a dense, nearly capitate panicle and are red. "
36Aloeinermis"(Toothless Aloe) A suckering small shrubby aloe that forms clumps to 2 feet tall of open rosettes of long narrow decurved pale olive green leaves on short stems that are smooth to the touch with a deep central channel and toothless margins. In fall into winter appear the 2 to 3 foot tall branching inflorescence with salmon red flower buds that are purple green at the tip and open with green stripped cream petal lobes. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate occasionally to very little - quite drought tolerant and hardy to around 25 °F. This is an attractive and unusual aloe as a garden or pot specimen with no teeth or other sharp pointed appendages. This plant, one of the non-African species, is native to western Yemen where it has a wide distribution between Taizz and Dhala growing on rocky slopes at around 2,500 feet in elevation. "
37AloekarasbergensisSeedling from Annie's Annuals. Looks to be pure, based on pronounced stripes and absence of spots.
38Aloekouebokkeveldensis"rare, medium-sized, cliff-squatting aloe with a decumbent to ascending rosette of faintly spotted, striate, pale-green leaves and a branched panicle of tubular orange-red flowers in early summer." Related to A. striata.
39Aloelittoralis × plicatilisHybrid from UC Davis Botanical Conservatory
40Aloelolwensis"Stemless rosette-forming plant to about 2 feet tall and suckering to form clumps, has erect to slightly spreading glossy mid-green broad-based 20 inch long lanceolate leaves with prominent brownish teeth well spaced along the leaf margin - leaves flush a unique reddish-brown color in winter. The inflorescence, which appears in mid summer, rises to 4 feet tall with several pale gray upright branches bearing upright gray-pink buds that reflex as they open with a coral-red tube, pale yellow petal lobes and yellow exerted stamens."
41AloelukeanaOP seedling from John Becker; seed from John Miller's garden. Looks pure.
42AloemakayanaRare Madagascar aloe, TC seedling from Institute for Aloe Studies.
43AloemawiiOffsets from our own plant, originally from JB
44AloemubendiensisFrom Institute for Aloe Studies. "This species has affinity to Aloe labworana, related to the larger A. schweinfurthii complex that spans sub-Saharan Africa. The leaves of this offsetting species have occasional spots and lineations, and the flowers are dense and orange-red. "
45Aloeparvula"This is a smaller Madagascar Aloe that produces long, thin blue-gray to greenish-gray leaves with many raised bumps. It clumps heavily in time."
46Aloepeckii"This small species is from Somalia. Typically solitary, but sometimes clustering, it is part of the complex that includes A. somaliensis and A. harlana, and like those species, A. peckii has a low rosette bearing glossy, multipatterned leaves. The flowers are greenish-yellow."
47Aloepetrophila"Aloe petrophila is winter-flowering, coming into bloom in May or June in its native South Africa, and in November to December here in California. Its flower stalks are not tall, usually about a foot and a half or a little more (50 cm), and they have multiple branches which each end in a cluster of striped pink flowers."
48AloeplicatilisFan aloe, aka Kumara plicatilis
49Aloepratensis2x " (Rocky Meadow Aloe) - A small clustering aloe with 8 inch wide rosettes of upright gray leaves that have sharp pale reddish-brown spines along the leaf margins and white tubercles on the lower leaf surface. Each rosette can produce up to 4 unbranched flower spikes with white papery bracts and pale peach to yellow flowers, usually between early winter and mid spring. This aloe comes from the Eastern Cape Province and KwaZulu Natal in South Africa where it grows from sea level up to high elevations in the Drakensberg Mountians... This aloe is likely not for everyone as it is considered a more difficult aloe to grow. It should not be watered as temperatures cool in winter so for most mediterranean climate gardens this means protecting from natural rainfall and irrigating in summer. The Ruth Bancroft Garden has this plant growing out in the open on a well-drained mound. It is hardy to 19 F. "
50Aloerebmanii2x. Unusual leaf color, almost black in some photos, very uncommon in cultivation. From IAS.
51AloerupestrisSeedling from DB
52Aloesabaea"(Yemen Tree Aloe) - A small tree aloe that has a curving unbranched trunk to 12 feet tall topped with a side-facing rosette of long pale to pale green leaves that drape down and bend gracefully. In mid-winter appear the orange flowers on a tall upright inflorescence in an open conical raceme. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil. Protect from temperatures below 27° F. "
53Aloesomaliensisvar. marmorata
54Aloesomaliensis" forms a small rosette and gradually offsets. When kept in shade, the leaves are almost black-green with light elongated spots and red teeth on the margins. The coloration tends to fade when the species is placed in more sun. Aloe somaliensis is a very pretty and distinctive species"
55Aloesuzannae2x. "(Malagasy Tree Aloe) A slow growing tree aloe to 8 to 12 feet that stays solitary or has few branches near the base with age. The rosettes have numerous narrow 2 to 3 foot long upright gray leaves, sometimes flushed pinkish, that have rounded tips and yellowish teeth turned inwards towards the plant, making this a very friendly plant with no sharp parts to be avoided. The campanulate shaped cream flowers, unusual in the genus, have yellow stamens and are open at night, completely covering in length a stout tight spike to 5 feet tall rising above the foliage. Flowering is rare with only a few recorded events in southern California in later winter to early spring on older plants and even on these only every few years at best. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and water very little in summer months. Long thought tender but many have commented on its ability to take frost and was proven hardy to 25° F at our nursery in the January 2007 freeze that reached this temperature 3 nights in a row."
56Aloethraskii × excelsaDB hybrid
57AloetomentosaTwo TC seedlings from TMcG. "Hairy Green Aloe) - This Aloe forms a single rosette to 2 feet tall by 4 feet wide with pale green leaves. In the late summer appears the tall branched inflorescence bearing unique chartreuse flowers covered in thick wool. Plant in full sun to light shade and irrigate infrequently - this is a winter dormant aloe but seems to tolerate winter rainfall if planted in a well-drained soil. Although from the warmer and more tropical Arabian Peninsula, this plant has proven hardy in California gardens to temperatures in the mid 20s ° F - we have not seen any winter damage on our original stock plant that we have had unprotected in our nursery garden since 1997. "
58Aloevanbalenii × mawiiJB hybrid. One in the ground, one extra in a pot.
59Aloeverdoorniae2x offsets from in-ground plant. Now considered a synonym of A. greatheadii v davyana.
60Aloevigueri"From southeastern Madagascar, this species grows in an arid climate. It has gray-green, nearly glaucous leaves that are triangular in shape and with tiny teeth along the edges. The flowers are orange-red."
61Aloevryheidensis" A highly variable species in form, the plants generally are solitary with unspotted, medium green leaves. As with everything else in this species concept, the flower color could be anything from yellow to red."

The fate of many of these plants is unclear. While the hoarder in me wants to keep them all, the realist is determined to part ways with at least half of them. 
We shall see who wins in the end. 

If the hoarder prevails, maybe he can be convinced to rig up some benches to display these aloes in a more advantageous way. They really need more spacing between them to allow for better air circulation. I've been lucky so far in that I haven't had any major pest outbreaks, but cramming plants together like this is asking for trouble.

© Gerhard Bock, 2021. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.


  1. Hello Gerhard,

    Lovely aloe collection; I hope the 'hoarder' will prevail for your aloes to reward you with many fascinating flowers in the future.

    I have had a small aloe collection until a devastating forest fire burned my greenhouse and 2/3 of my garden last August.

    Among those burned in the greenhouse, there was one plant that I admired slightly more than the others but did not know what it was though I thought it was an aloe. I spotted it in your third photo from the top, at the centre of the tray leaning out towards left; the one with long grey-blue toothless leaves with white margins. I have never come across it again in nurseries or private collections hence had no chance to get hold of another or find its name to search for it. Could you please tell me which aloe is that one.


  2. CORRECTION: the aloe in the photo is leaning out to the RIGHT, not to the left, sorry...

    1. Ceylân, a greenhouse fire! That's terrible. I'm really sorry you lost so many plants.

      The aloe you're referring to is a fan aloe. It used to be called Aloe plicatilis, now it's Kumara plicatilis. Now that you know what its name is, you should be able to find another one.

    2. Thank you very much Gerhard; your prompt respond and kind words are much appreciated.
      May you never ever experience a forest fire!
      Best wishes.

  3. That list will be a great reference when you start your future aloe nursery, Gerhard! How you'll have time for that when you're on the road taking photographs of succulents for the books you're going to publish I don't know, but I'm sure you'll figure that out ;) I love the pink color of the Aloe peglerae at the top of your post.

    1. So many interesting pursuits, so little time. I really need to retire, ha ha!

  4. You have done a fantastic job of describing these aloes! I wish I could do that with my potted plants. Aloe albiflora description is very interesting to me. I love the white flowered Aloes but I have had trouble keeping this one going here in Phoenix. Thanks for all the information on these plants!

    1. Aloe abiflora, unfortunately, appears to be one the wimpier species although I haven't had issues personally. It's also TINY. The only large white-flowering aloe I know is the white-flowered form of Aloe ferox.

  5. Wow... that's a lot of aloes! I almost feel bad for adding to the list ;)

    Random site note, I was surprised at how many cases of aloe gall I saw during our week in SoCal. Have you ever experienced this?

    1. I've only had one case of it and I tossed the plant. But I see infested aloes at the big box stores sometimes. In Southern California, it's a huge problem.


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