Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Large Aloe ID that I thought should be easy. #Not for me

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Name: Leslieray Hurlburt
Sacramento California (Zone 9b)
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HamiltonSquare
Nov 30, 2017 9:34 PM CST
This is a recently renovate city lot in Zone 9b that separates the large and small dogs parks So all these were planted at the size you see here. What is the large Aloe? Im curious to know if it will survive our low temps that on a rare occasion dip to eighteen but hard freezes are more frequent. I have learned not to assume the city knows what they are doing. I hope they did in this case because it's very novel for our cities usually mundane landscaping. I love this idea. The one I thought it might be Aloe pillansii. Just a best guess. I tip my hat to you.
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Hamilton Square Garden, Historic City Cemetery, Sacramento California.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Nov 30, 2017 10:45 PM CST

Moderator

Hercules?



https://www.smgrowers.com/prod...
Name: Karen
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plantmanager
Nov 30, 2017 10:59 PM CST
It definitely looks like Hercules. If so, it may succumb to your weather there eventually. In Phoenix I've had plants do very well for years, but then comes the killer year and they die.
I do like that they are getting away from the same old plants used everywhere.
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Name: Leslieray Hurlburt
Sacramento California (Zone 9b)
The WITWIT Badge Region: California Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Xeriscape Native Plants and Wildflowers Salvias
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HamiltonSquare
Dec 1, 2017 7:07 PM CST
Yes! Thank you. Good to 23F. We have those killer years. Wipes out lots of great specimen plants and trees that have been zone pushed. I'm always trying zone 10 plants. Thanks for the ID. I I tip my hat to you.
Hamilton Square Garden, Historic City Cemetery, Sacramento California.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 1, 2017 7:33 PM CST

Moderator

You were real close with your guess. One of the parents of Hercules is the closely related A. dichotoma. Aloe pillansii is quite rare in cultivation and nearly extinct in nature, so you would be extremely unlikely to stumble across one in public landscaping. "Hercules" on the other hand is relatively common (mass produced by TC) and quite fast. I removed the one here after it got the aloe mite for a second time.

"Hercules" flowers here...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/...

And pillansii in habitat here...

http://raresucculents.com/wint...
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Dec 1, 2017 7:36 PM (+)]
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Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
Dec 1, 2017 8:51 PM CST
I agree with Baja and Karen, Hercules for sure.

My Hercules has survived 22F, for a few hours with pretty severe leaf tip damage, but since it is so fast it grows out of it quite rapidly. May not take much lower than that especially if wet. Its other parent Aloe barbarae is very tender, but the fast grower.

Fingers crossed.

I just put an Aloe barbarae in the ground. in the deepest shade I have in my front yard. More worried about summer sun and heat than winter cold at this point. Survived in my back yard in a pot for 3 years, but not really taking off, hoping that that changes with it in the ground and that it will deal with the summer heat and sun better (though it will not see much sun, where it is). My pillansii, is about to croak I never got it to reroot solidly so it languished for few years, and it looks like leaf die back is about to overtake new growth... :(

[Last edited by mcvansoest - Dec 1, 2017 9:34 PM (+)]
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Name: Leslieray Hurlburt
Sacramento California (Zone 9b)
The WITWIT Badge Region: California Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Xeriscape Native Plants and Wildflowers Salvias
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HamiltonSquare
Dec 1, 2017 10:35 PM CST
Thanks for all the great info/links. These have been planted on a berm they built but I can't quite remember what it was made of. Can get very soggy and foggy here in some winters. I'll see this instillation on a regular basis and post an update one ever blooms. Thank You!
Hamilton Square Garden, Historic City Cemetery, Sacramento California.
Name: 'CareBear'

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Stush2019
Dec 12, 2017 1:26 PM CST
Thanks for the info. My #29 of unknown seed might be. It is mostly all green until the sun and heat of summer. Thinking it was some sort of tree aloe. One thing about unknown seed, it is exciting to think what you might have. Any thoughts?
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Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
Dec 12, 2017 3:46 PM CST
I do not think your #29 is A. 'Hercules'. The plant is way too shiny and has the wrong kind of teeth. It does remind me of Aloe cameronii, which does grow a little bit of a stem.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 12, 2017 3:56 PM CST

Moderator

Yes, it looks more like cameronii than Hercules. If it is a tree aloe, it might be in the neighborhood of A. vaombe, which is usually more brown than red in strong light.

http://aridlandswholesale.com/...
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Dec 12, 2017 9:32 PM (+)]
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Name: 'CareBear'

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Stush2019
Dec 13, 2017 10:08 AM CST
Thank you Mcvansoest & Baja. What did I miss on the teeth? It does look a lot like A. vaombe than A. cameronii but I guess I need some more years growing and possibly a flower. Keeping in my notes.
HamiltonSquare, thank you for the thread on this.
Baja, thanks for the Aridlandswholesale. Do you have to buy wholesale to order or do they sell to us as well?
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 13, 2017 10:16 AM CST

Moderator

They do both retail and wholesale. I was looking for a picture of a plant about the size of yours, since most of the pics I saw out there were full grown trees. No endorsement implied Smiling but by all means dig in.

If your plant is one of the two mentioned, it will enjoy a bigger pot in the near future, maybe in spring when space is less tight. The bigger aloes (esp. the trees) tend to get a bit frustrated when they spend a long time in very small pots. I realize space is always an issue. Your plant looks quite healthy as it is. Just something to think about down the road.


Thumb of 2017-12-13/Baja_Costero/d42116
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Dec 13, 2017 10:24 AM (+)]
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Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
Dec 13, 2017 10:52 AM CST
Two reasons why I went with cameronii over vaombe, which I also thought of:

1. shininess of leaves and teeth - while A. vaombe also gets shiny leaves it is nothing like that on the plant in the picture and the teeth on vaombe are just carried slightly differently.

2. leaf thickness and overall shape. The leaves on the plant in the picture are pretty thick and much less wide than typical vaombe leaves. Aloe vaombe leaves at that size would be way more guttered and wider towards the base than these leaves are. On top of that leaves are carried in a more open fashion on this plant and A. cameronii than Vaombe which carries its leaves closer together.

It is a seedling so it could still change in appearance and become more of a vaombe look a like as it grows.

Anyway, both plants are very nice and have great stress colors, my vaombe has made it through several summers in pretty much full sun (but with a shade cloth cover during the three hottest months) in the ground and has flowered once, it has developed a short but significant trunk. My cameronii succumbed a few summers ago, probably too much water during the monsoon when it stays hot at night. I have been on the lookout for another one but the one I did acquire turned out to be Aloe dorothea, which has similar stresss colors and overall form, but is spotted, which cameronii is decidedly not.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 13, 2017 11:45 AM CST

Moderator

Yes, the leaf shape tells you a lot. On the mature plants it's more evident. A. vaombe leaves are channeled and somewhat recurved (see picture above). A. cameronii leaves are only this way during drought stress, otherwise they tend to be pretty pumped up and lateral. Three examples here showing the changes. First photo taken during the winter rainy season, second photo in early spring as things were drying out, third photo taken in late summer after months of drought (and decapitation of the main stem).

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That plant does not turn brown here (many aloes do), the color ranges from green to copper red... maybe it would behave different in the desert.

For leaf shape comparison here is vaombe (in a pot) which Thijs has noted does make less substantial leaves, broader at the base.

Thumb of 2017-12-13/Baja_Costero/ad253c

And for what it's worth, random sample aloe seedlings not produced using controlled pollination are more likely to be hybrids than pure species. These pictures of the actual species are only going to get you halfway to an ID most of the time. There are 500 or so aloe species out there, most of which I honestly cannot recognize.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Dec 13, 2017 7:18 PM (+)]
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Name: 'CareBear'

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Stush2019
Dec 14, 2017 10:21 AM CST
If true and I do believe so, that means I would have to find a home for it in a few years or sooner. Just can't keep a large aloe up north here. Love it more now that I saw it's true size. Reason why I parted with my blue agaves. Those I used to bring to work and place in the main office's large windows during the winter months. My church has nice large windows and said I could bring my plants but they want them there all the time. May be a good place for the aloe. My 3 foot euphorbias are going next year when they reach 4 foot. I will have to take pictures of the church and plants and make a new posting. It should make a low maintance and attractive display.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 14, 2017 9:47 PM CST

Moderator

That sounds great. I like the idea of plants graduating to new and bigger places as they grow up. I hope it's an ultra sunny window. Smiling

I was looking back through my notes about Aloe vaombe, thinking it did seem pretty fast. Not like Hercules (the champ) but quick to maturity. It was 3-4 years old when it filled a 3 gallon pot and went in the ground. It flowered a year later.

For some reason I failed to grab the seed pods last winter but I do not plan to repeat that mistake this winter. Who knows what sort of hybrid goodness may come of sexual relations between that plant and the other 15 tree aloes planted in its immediate vicinity.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Dec 14, 2017 10:22 PM (+)]
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Name: Leslieray Hurlburt
Sacramento California (Zone 9b)
The WITWIT Badge Region: California Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Xeriscape Native Plants and Wildflowers Salvias
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HamiltonSquare
Dec 18, 2017 10:11 PM CST
One casualty out of three for the Aloe 'Hercules'. A multi-day high wind event blew this one over. Didn't look like the roots were in very good shape. Rotten I think. It's been a very dry and warm late fall for us so far.The soil in the hole didn't look like anything that would drain quickly enough for these during our normal winter. Two more to watch.
Thumb of 2017-12-19/HamiltonSquare/22640c

Hamilton Square Garden, Historic City Cemetery, Sacramento California.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Critters Allowed Region: Arizona Xeriscape Greenhouse Annuals
Cactus and Succulents Bromeliad Adeniums Orchids Tropicals Plumerias
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plantmanager
Dec 18, 2017 10:25 PM CST
Oh gosh. Wish I could save it. Will anyone try?
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Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bee Lover Bookworm Adeniums Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Hummingbirder Xeriscape Region: Arizona Region: Southwest Gardening
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mcvansoest
Dec 19, 2017 8:26 AM CST
Yes, it would interesting to see, if you cut that back to unrotted trunk, how easily that would root. Aloe dichotoma, one of its parents is notoriously difficult (if not impossible - I am 0 - for) to root from any kind of cuttings, but the other parent Aloe barbarae roots readily from cuttings.

Sad about the plant because as Aloes go this one actually takes a pretty good amount of water, so they must really have it planted in bad soil and/or be over watering it by a lot.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Critters Allowed Region: Arizona Xeriscape Greenhouse Annuals
Cactus and Succulents Bromeliad Adeniums Orchids Tropicals Plumerias
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plantmanager
Dec 19, 2017 9:45 AM CST
I wish someone would give it a chance to root again.
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