Aloe Hybrid Update: New Additions and Growth

Aloe hybrid "intense"

Written ByJen Greene

Posted: January 31, 2024

I haven’t posted an update on my beloved aloes in some time, and the collection has morphed making an update overdue! I have divided several and offered the divisions for sale at the local cactus club; some have rebounded quite well, while others are slower to recover. I keep bringing home new plants, and several that I’ll share are overdue to be potted up in to the round terra cotta pots that I prefer for my aloes.

Aloe “Intense”

One of my favorites, it’s a plant I picked up from Kelly Griffin himself either at the 2022 SDCSS Christmas Party, or when he brought a handful to sell that fall. This is also the featured image for this post! 

Beautiful, highly textured leaves with a blue base color and brilliant red ridges. With summer sun stress, it gets an even more intense red. 

Aloe Intense
Aloe hybrid "intense"

In these two photos, you can probably tell which side faces the sun and which is more shaded! It’s been well-watered with winter rainfall, so the leaves are thick and fleshy. It’s also a reasonably fast grower, and I think I’ll need to divide it and repot this spring. 

I recently brought this plant with me to the January SDCSS meeting, and Kelly commented that it was a hybrid not in production or circulation, so it’s reasonably rare to encounter! It’s beautiful, so I don’t expect that to be the case for long. 

Aloe intense

This is the aloe a couple months after I first got it and repotted it, showcasing the coloration that really makes it clear why it’s called “intense”! Achieving this color requires significant underwatering, light exposure, and heat. After moving the aloe outdoors, it’s never quite achieved the same level of intense red, likely due to better roots, more frequent water, and partial shade from nearby trees.

aloe castilloniae blue

Aloe castilloniae “Blue”

This isn’t a ‘pure’ Aloe castilloniae, but rather a hybrid that makes it heavily lean towards a blue hue. Compared to my other Aloe castilloniae plants, it’s larger, but shares the same stemmed growth habit.

Aloe castilloniae blue

The shaded side looks much more green, but still gets a blue hue to it once the leaves have grown out from the center rosette a bit. 

I acquired this plant as a large specimen from a nearby Altman’s outlet when they seemed to be just turning over a large quantity of larger and less common hybrids. Once established, this has been a hardy plant, growing well and pupping in small quantities. I did find it a bit more finicky than some of my others, and it seemed to need longer to root well and really start growing when I repotted it from the nursery pot into the terra cotta. 

aloe castilloniae blue

The side facing the sun is more strongly blue colored, but the real intensity comes from the textured ridges on the leaves. With more sun, they turn a very intense, bright red, and stand out. 

With even more sun, the plant starts to turn a bit burnt orange, especially on the tips and undersides of the leaves. I prefer the slightly shaded look, where the blue is strong and even and the red is bright. 

Aloe “Christmas Carol”

An acquisition from the summer show and sale, this little plant took ages to establish here at the house. Similar to “Christmas Sleigh” (for me), it’s less forgiving of our high temperatures.

aloe Christmas Carol

This aloe originally sunburnt and died back a bit, then recovered. It’s pupping and I can see roots at the bottom, so it’s on deck to get promoted to a terra cotta pot for longer term growth. 

Aloe "crimson dragon"

Aloe “Crimson Dragon”

A beautiful, highly textured hybrid that’s also a summer pickup. One of the larger growing hybrids, it has highly textured leaves that make the plant almost entirely orange, peach, and pink. It does get redder with more sun and more stress. It’s another that’s overdue to be potted up into a terra cotta pot, where I’m confident it’ll pup and spread even more than it has already! 

Aloe “Delta Rose”

This is one of my absolute favorites, despite being relatively common, this is just a gorgeous plant. It always makes me smile to see the brilliant, intense colors and it’s incredibly robust. It doesn’t mind heat, cold, underwatering, overwatering – if there was a perfect aloe, it’d be this one.

Aloe Delta Rose
Aloe Delta Rose

“Delta Rose” has quite a range of colors it can display, and above you can see the shaded side of my plant. It’s much more pastel in tones, with jewel greens and lavender hues. 

It doesn’t produce absurd numbers of pups, but instead seems to make a few at a time that get quite big. When I saw this hybrid available at the distributor, it grew in a flatter habit, splaying the leaves out with a bit of curve. The longer I grow it myself, though, the more it seems to point up. This might be from the minor neglect I give it – sun stress and underwatering, combined with a desperate need to be divided, probably is stressing it into a less flat growth habit. 

aloe delta rose

With nearly full sun exposure, the entire plant turns a deep purple-pink, with bright pink and red texture on the leaves. The rosettes are on the larger side of my aloe hybrid collection, with this plant being one of the biggest. My other “delta” family aloes also trend larger, although I didn’t get a photo of my “delta dawn” this time. 

Aloe “NOID”

I picked this up at a local nursery thinking it looked a lot like what I’ve seen labeled as “Aloe Dracula”, but without provenance of where it came from, I can’t know for sure. It’s a beautiful hybrid though, getting almost black with sun stress and heat. In winter, it’s leaning more blue even with sun exposure. 

Aloe dracula

I think I’ve posted this as “Dracula’s Blood” before, but it didn’t come with a label. It’s distinctly overgrown at this point, and ready to be divided. I was finding some leaves growing into other leaves, which were curved from being underwatered! 

aloe dracula

As with the other aloes, on the shaded side, it’s much more green and floppy. The rosettes do eventually begin to develop into a stem-like growth habit, and the leaves pretty consistently prefer to grow upright rather than flat. 

aloe la jour pequeno

Aloe “La Jour Pequeño” 

The difference in growth and appearance of this plant now compared to when I first bought it would make you think they’re not even the same aloes. Dense, compact growth with thick, fat leaves that are heavily textured, and profuse pups and many heads. 

aloe la jour pequeno
aloe la jour pequeno

At left is this exact plant, the day I brought it home, in 2021. Note the thin leaves and how long they are! Hard to see from the angle, but it’s also quite tall, with a distinct stem. 

It was probably grown with less water, but also less sun, than the way I keep it. I’m not even sure what happened to that center stem – it may be what fell over and made the cluster that’s leaning over the edge of the pot?

aloe la jour pequeno

I currently have it in a more shaded spot, so the entire plant is more muted in coloration. Lots of pale pinks, and the way it looks today with the thick leaves and compact rosettes I find to be a very pretty and attractive growth pattern. 

It’s very hardy (as are all of these aloes), and has done well even in full sun, low water. I left it for several months on a hill next to my Aloe aculeata to try and see if the profuse flowers it was producing would end up used by bees and humingbirds to pollinate the aculeata! It did not, but I was hopeful. 

About halfway through the update – I’ll post more of the aloes next week, including more of my new pickups that are finally established. 

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