Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cultivating the perfect garden aloe hybrid which would bloom throughout the year is ongoing and some are on the market already. Some aloe species in cultivation bloom three or more times a year, with only a few weeks between the previous inflorescens and the new one. There are also the tropical aloe species that bloom twice a year and the aloe species growing in very arid regions will bloom after good rains whenever that opportunity arrives. Combining these aloes in hybrids is difficult as the seeds are seldom viable when the plants differ so much, but there are people out there who just love a challenge.
We started off with Aloe species plants. It is convenient to know exactly how the plant will look and what it needs to grow when planning where to plant it. Then in time we obtained some hybrids. A few times we thought (or was told) that the hybrid was a species plant and at first we were disappointed, but in the end we were not unhappy with the mistake as the hybrids were always very nice.
These plants were easy to grow and more often than not, they had very attractive flowers.
Then we saw some hybrids not done by the birds and bees but by careful cultivation. They were stunning. However we do not have the years on our side, so we made some uncomplicated hybrids and enjoy the surprises given to us by the birds and bees.

Aloe dorothea hybrid is ideal for a border. The aloe sends out offshoots which will form a solid border. The leaves are a shiny yellow-green which will shade dark olive in full sun. The bright red flowers are also glossy and to top this, this aloe hybrid blooms at least three times a year - that is less than a month from the seeds on the old inflorescens to when the new one starts to grow out.

Some medium size aloe hybrids for the garden.
Photo above. The aloe from my previous blog on buds Aloe petricola x Aloe speciosa, is a convenient size plant for most small gardens and this aloe always shows off well in a green garden - even when not in flower. Flowering time is in winter.

Aloe framesii x Aloe arenicola hybrid is a deep green going over to wine red in full sun.  It is a very attractive aloe but would not show off from a distance in a green garden - it usually has the effect of surprise at finding the pretty plant when it catches the eye of visitors in our garden.

photo above. Against the wall - what better than an assortment of Aloe arborescens hybrids and cultivars.

A focal point

The focal point could be on size. We had no idea that this would be the size that this hybrid below would aim for. It is not planted as a focal point but on the side of the garden behind a tree. Many aloes grow higher than 2 m. but that is mainly due to a long stem not a large rosette like this aloe. This seed decided to go one better on Aloe marlothii. The effect of this hybrid on visitors in the garden is - "What is this?!" A man can stand in front of this aloe with his arms spread out and the aloe will still be higher and wider (and it is still growing).
The pole is 2 m. above ground.
At half the size in bloom.
It is possible to see the parent plants of an Aloe F1 hybrid. Further back than that is for the experts with experience in hybridizing. Some garden hybrids have been going on for generations, we do not even try to think what is in their background as long as they are pretty and easy for the garden, that is what matters.


Ewa said...

I look at your garden and seems beautiful to me. In our climate aloe is just a house plant and I have never seen it flowering :)
Thank you for sharing.
Do you mind if I link your blog on mine?
greetings from Poland,

Riley said...

Among the Aloes I've kept for over 30 years from my parents' garden, the last 2 of one type were lost a few years ago in a wet winter.

They were about 25 cm tall. Leaves about 5 cm wide, greyish with white teeth, upright, stemless, and never spread by suckers or branching. The flowers were orange, on a single spike about 50 cm long.
Does anyone know a name to fit this description?

ericat said...

Sorry for your loss Riley, wet winters can be very bad for an aloe. I will need a photo to even try to ID your aloes.