Care Diary: Aloe Hybrid Collection Update

aloe lavender star 1

Written byJen Greene

Animal lover, plant enthusiast, and addicted to the sunshine and warmth in San Diego.

April 16, 2021

With spring in full swing in San Diego, many plants are starting to wake up. I’ll do a quick tour of my aloe hybrids in this post, which are beginning to really expand their growth or produce regular bloom stalks. I’ve been doing some intentional pollination of various hybrids, which has seemed necessary despite a regular rotation of enthusiastic hummingbirds. 

That being said, some aloes were readily pollinated by the resident hummingbirds. My book aloe as well as Aloe striatas have both produced a ton of open pollinated seed with little to no help from me. I have the seeds from the book aloe germinating currently, and hope to have a bumper crop of funky hybrids in another year or two. Meanwhile, my largest Aloe aculeata bloomed and had regular hummingbird visitors, but produced absolutely no seed. That may change as its neighboring aculeatas reach a size large enough to bloom as well. 

Aloe swordfish

This is my Aloe “Swordfish”, April 2021. 

It’s in-ground (obviously) and is easily twice the size of any of the potted swordfish I have had for sale in my Etsy shop. It’s an easy grower, and with the stress of full sun, it’s got a gorgeous deep gray/blue blush that is a strong contrast with the teeth on the outer edge. This one is funny to me – any new succulent collectors who see it get obsessed; the veterans just kind of glance over it and move on. It’s not yet blooming, so I suspect it has some more growing and size to develop yet. 

This Aloe “AJR” took a bit to get established, but it has settled in and is even beginning to produce pups. With warmer weather, new growth is definitely emerging, and I’m looking forward to the pups also growing. I’ll likely need to move the rocks I used to frame the plant, and definitely need to weed that bottle-brush grass out to let the aloe roots get their foothold.

The “AJR” does tend to bloom at about this size, but later in the spring, even into summer, and I believe this particular plant did bloom for me last year.

As with the “Swordfish”, this one is also in ground, and has done well for just over a year – so through all seasons, which is promising as we start gearing up for hot weather again. 

Aloe AJR
Aloe lavender star 2

This is a newer plant to my collection, picked up in early winter of 2020. Aloe “Lavender Star II” is a beautiful hybrid that stresses to the slate gray background with bright red texture. 

What I’ve heard/read about this particular hybrid is that it was the second effort from Kelly Griffin to create a striking plant worthy of the name “lavender star” – the first hybrid can be seen below. 

So far, this has been relatively slow growing, and is not blooming for me yet. I have it in full sun, watered sparingly, and the stress coloration is definitely very striking. It looks related to the Delta hybrid family, bearing a very strong resemblance to Delta Rose in my eyes. The lavender/slate background is the main difference between the Delta Rose and Lavender Star – which is a fantastic testament to the skill of the hybridizer. Being able to effectively paint in plant growth is impressive, and easily explains the fascination with hybrids produced by Kelly Griffin among others. 

And this is Aloe “Lavender Star I”, the first of the two hybrids. I actually like the leaf texture better on this one, even though it’s not particularly lavender in color.

You can get a glimpse of the non-stressed colors right at the center of the rosette; without the full sun exposure, the colors are pale and not nearly as exciting.

I picked up both plants at the same time and didn’t realize until I’d gotten home that they were two different hybrids. When they’re less stressed, the differences aren’t quite as apparent, although if you look at them for more than 10 seconds it becomes clearer. 

With stress coloration, they are quite different, and I just like the orange blushing better! 


Aloe lavender star I
aloe purple people eater

A little update on my Purple People Eater – you can see some marks from hail damage, as we had a hail storm in February (early March?) that really did a number on a lot of plants. 

I picked up this plant in early summer of 2020, and it’s one of my favorites. A steady grower that’s not particularly fast or slow, it’s produced a couple pups and has that beautiful purple color. The bigger and older this gets, the more it resembles my large Aloe castilloniae “blue”. 

This bloomed for me last year, so I’m expecting blooms again sometime by summer. 

Aloe “Purple Haze” getting ready to bloom. Easy to grow and care for, and as with the rest in this post, is grown in full sun with a haphazard watering schedule at best. 

This was nearly the same size as the Purple People Eater when I got it, but has been significantly slower to grow in the months since. It’s much more purple than the PPE (ironically), but the slow growth is a detriment in my eyes. I like my star aloe hybrids to be big boys that fill up and overflow their pots, and that is not this plant. 

Aloe purple haze
Aloe sidewinder

My beloved Aloe “Sidewinder” got absolutely pummelled in the hail storm, causing a lot of leaf tip damage and even some holes. Luckily, it’s amazing, and already producing new growth as well as numerous pups. 

You can even see a bloom stalk beginning to emerge, which I’m excited about – I’m hoping to cross it with one of the purple hybrids for some purple sidewinders. 

There’s some yellow / tan spots on the leaves if you look closely. Those aren’t from disease, that’s hummingbird poop. Without much rain to wash it off, it tends to linger…

This Mauna Loa probably should have just gone into a larger pot. After the hail, it’s got some leaf damage, but in general it has retained that beautiful sun stress coloration and is just an amazing range of yellow-y oranges. Compared to the non-stressed colors of primarily green and white, the sun stressed version of this hybrid barely even looks like the same plant.

This is definitely large enough to bloom, and has already thrown a couple bloom stalks, but they were spindly, pathetic things. Maybe with some fertilizer or a bigger pot, it would bloom more robustly. 

mauna loa
Aloe delta rose

Rounding out the hybrids for this particular post is the Delta Rose, which bears a very strong resemblance to the Lavender Stars from earlier. It’s like the color of Lavender Star I went and sat on the leaves of Lavender Star II. 

Definitely one of my favorite hybrids, very hardy, easy to care for and grow, and when it’s in full sun against white top dressing, it’s absolutely stunning. With the hail damage growing out, I’m looking forward to what summer will bring for this one. Probably more water than last year so the leaf tips stay looking a little less crispy…

As ever, if you want to see daily posts of plant progress, follow me on Instagram @TrexPlants. If you’re reading this today, April 16th, 2021 – I just kicked off a giveaway featuring an Aloe castilloniae! To enter, head on over to Instagram and check out the post details. 

Good luck! 

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