Other people's aloes

Last Saturday, I was busy visiting two nurseries, hanging out with friends, and looking at cool plants. That’s the best kind of busy. Far more enjoyable than trying to stay on top of the exploding weed situation – the biggest “boon” of the recent rains.

Late January through early March is aloe bloom season in Northern California. While I saw other plants as well during Saturday’s outing, I want to focus on aloes in this post. If you’re not that into aloes, no worries: My next post will be about agaves.

The first stop my partner-in-crime Kyle and I made was at Troy McGregor’s nursery Waltzing Matilija in Pittsburg, CA. We weren’t able to stay long, but there was enough time to snap a few photos of the aloes in the display beds:

Aloe marlothii, bought at Annie’s Annuals a few years ago as a “mystery aloe”

Two more of these mystery aloes that turned out to be A. marlothii – and a beautiful clone, too.

Aloe broomii, with its stiff leaves and sharp teeth possibly the most agave-like aloe

The second stop was Justin’s garden in Pinole. As always, there was plenty to see, including several large aloes in bloom:

Aloe arborescens (back), Aloe spectabilis (front)

Aloe arborescens, the flower color matches the abutilon against the fence

Aloe arborescens

Aloe spectabilis

Justin, Kyle, and Aloe ferox with 10 racemes

Aloe betsileensis

Aloe peckii with its distinctive striped flowers

Aloe humilis with 30+ emerging inflorescences. This will be quite a show in a couple of weeks.

A few special aloes that aren’t in flower at the moment:

Aloe peglerae

NOID Aloe hybrid and NOID Sempervivum

Variegated Aloe striata × maculata

Aloe distans (left), variegated Aloe striata × maculata

Justin accompanied us to stop 3, John’s garden in Richmond. I’ve blogged about John’s garden before (here and here). Richmond has a fabulously mild climate, and it showed: John’s aloes were definitely further along than mine in Davis and Kyle’s in Sacramento:

Aloe mawii

Aloe vaotsanda (back), Aloe glauca × polyphylla (front)

Aloe rubroviolacea

Aloe rubroviolacea

Aloe betsileensis

Aloe thraskii (back)

Aloe petricola (photo by Kyle Johnson)

Aloe petricola flower detail

Aloe labworana

Aloe vanbalenii (left), Aloe africana hybrid by Nick Deinhart (right)

Aloe africana hybrid by Nick Deinhart

Aloe (mawii × globuligemma) × betsileensis, a hybrid made by John

Aloe (mawii × globuligemma) × betsileensis, a hybrid made by John and soon to be planted in my garden. I love the rich red flowers.

All four of us (Kyle, Justin, John, and me) went to our final stop of the day: Annie’s Annuals in Richmond. Many of you know Annie’s Annuals and may have visited or bought plants from their website. At Annie’s, I spotted two flowering aloes in their display beds:

Aloe striata

Aloe alooides

In my own garden, things are finally happening on the aloe front, albeit not as quickly as I’d like. I’ll have a dedicated post once more aloe flowers have opened up.

Aloe ‘Moonglow’ in our garden, always the first to flower

Maybe the atmospheric river on Sunday and Monday will help things along. We got a good 2 inches of rain. The near-term forecast shows at least partially sunny days, but the temperatures are stuck in the high 50s. Both me and my plants would much prefer the high 60s. Just saying.

© Gerhard Bock, 2024. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.


  1. I'm afraid Aloes could become as addictive as Agaves for me if the local garden centers and nurseries actually carried a variety of them. Most of those I have came from my local botanic garden, which seems to have given up onsite propagation and plant sales, and friends like you, HB and Denise. I may start making more use of mail order. With your post, I'm now fixated on the variegated form of Aloe striata × maculata (even though I already have a few of the non-variegated ones).

    1. I need to load up the car and visit you. I have stuff to share :-)

  2. When aloes start blooming I feel a little zone envy. That aside, all the colorful inflorescence are excellent eye candy for rainy Seattle days.
    Aloe peglerae is lovely, even sans bloom. It reminds me of 'praying hands' mangave.

    1. Aloes that have beautiful blooms *AND* look great even without are the best of both worlds. I'm hoping hybridization will eventually produce aloes with greater cold tolerance.

  3. I PREFER high 60's as well haha. Gorgeous blooms! I nabbed a few of Troy's AnniesAnnuals mystery aloes at his "end of" sale. I assumed they were feroxy hybrids, but now you've hit me over the head that they are marlothii. I've had a few aloe blooms kinda get mushed out by the rain, bummer. Most are holding on nicely. Your new hybrid is spectacular, what a great addition.

    1. Great to know you got some of these mystery aloes. They're spectacular in flower but look good all year.

      I've had flower damage, too. First I thought it's got to be from the cold, although we only had a couple of nights near freezing in December. You're right, it most likely is from the rain.

  4. "If you’re not that into aloes, no worries: My next post will be about agaves."... you talkin to me? These are lovely to look at though...


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