Ask a Question forum: Aloe Plant Stem Reproducing

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Name: Mr Bretty
New York NY
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mr_bretty
Dec 29, 2017 4:30 PM CST
So this is my first post on a gardening blog, as I am fairly new to the world of plants. I live in a small apartment in NYC, so succulents are especially appealing to this lifestyle. A few years ago, I planted a couple different types of succulents in a window trough, and they have all exceeded my expectations, growing substantially every year.

One of the plants, which appears to be an Aloe Aristata (or possibly a hybrid Gasteraloe) started producing flowering stems last year. Out of one stem formed 3 branches, and to my surprise a small mini plant began to grow in the middle of this branched stem. The flowers eventually died along with their branches, but after several weeks turned into several months, the main stem remained and the mini plant continues to grow!

It has now been almost a year since it formed, and I am completely dumbfounded as I have tried unsuccessfully to find any such instance occurring elsewhere. The small plant has grown to about 6 inches in diameter, but it has not formed its own root system as it is still attached to the stem from the mother plant.

I am attaching photos from when the plant first began forming, and of how the plant looks today. I wonder if anyone has ever seen something like this happening, because I have asked several florists and botanists in the city and they are all baffled! Maybe I purchased a mutant plant because this whole scenario seems very rare, and I would love to hear feedback from you all!
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Dec 29, 2017 7:10 PM CST
Welcome!

I think its totally cool. But I don't know the answer. Sighing!

But I do know how to call in the cavalry. Smiling

@Baja_Costero come in please...
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Dec 29, 2017 9:21 PM CST
The baby plantlet is called a bulbil and it will continue to grow on the flower stalk until you cut it off to pot up separately (should you desire to do so).

In some cases it is even possible for a bulbil to flower and form a second bulbil in a chain, strange as that may sound. Some plants are more prone to bulbils than others (probably a Gasteraloe more than Aloe aristata) but through experience you will learn which members of the family make them.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Dec 29, 2017 9:38 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Dec 29, 2017 10:17 PM CST
Thank You!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Mr Bretty
New York NY
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mr_bretty
Dec 29, 2017 10:35 PM CST
That's pretty cool! Thank you for the info, I had no idea 😁 so I'm going to leave it on the stem and let it keep growing, because it's a great conversation starter when I have friends over. Thank You!
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Dec 30, 2017 11:46 AM CST
Sounds good. Normally the flower stalks dry up and let go when they are done doing their business, so you can easily remove them after a few weeks. But as you have noticed the presence of a bulbil causes the flower stalk to stay attached and alive indefinitely. Like magic! Smiling
Name: Tia Doskocil
Texas
tiadoskocil
Dec 30, 2017 1:13 PM CST
So pretty! That looks great
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Dec 31, 2017 9:20 PM CST
Here by way of illustration a couple of bulbils on aloe family members... it's not so obvious but the tiny new one at the upper right in the first picture is actually a second generation bulbil attached to an older, bigger one that's now growing sideways.

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Agaves make bulbils some times and the scene looks like this when they are pretty far along. There were tiny baby agaves growing all around this inflorescence, having fallen there and rooted.

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Agave bulbils tend to be way easier to release than the aloe family ones. Usually you can just shake the tree to speak, when they're ready. With the aloes you usually have to use a scissor to set them free. Smiling
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Dec 31, 2017 9:21 PM (+)]
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Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Dec 31, 2017 9:59 PM CST
Happy New Year! Now you have a great conversation piece...and you can back it up!
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jan 1, 2018 8:29 AM CST
Baja Howdy
That's very interesting. Do all century plants do that. I've seen many century plants blooming around town hear, butt I've never noticed them making Bulbils.
I probably, never looked close enough, just the overall beauty of the bloom ! 😀
Is that pronounced. Bul-bils. Or .
Bulb-ills. ??? 🤔

😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Jan 1, 2018 10:48 AM CST
Some but not all of the agaves make bulbils. It very much depends on the species. There is a genus close to Agave called Furcraea which looks very similar and nearly always makes bulbils. One of my earliest happy experiences with those plants was standing below a giant inflorescence in a nursery and witnessing the results of the owner shaking the tree and apple-sized bulbils falling everywhere, including on my head. Smiling

Buhl - bill would be my best guess at the pronunciation.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jan 1, 2018 6:02 PM CST
Baja ! Bulb-let is all I can figure out from dictionary . Shrug!
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
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plantmanager
Jan 1, 2018 6:36 PM CST
I have a Noid aloe that does this. It blooms orange, and then later in the year I get the bulbils and they turn out to be tiny new plants. It's very cool!

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