Impossible to categorize them all
The thing about aloes is that they are extremely prolific, and extremely easy to hybridize. As a result, there are tons of hybrids out there – both designer hybrids, such as those created by Kelly Griffin or Karen Zimmerman, to name just two of the many folks who have created fantastic plants.
On this page, I’ll document only the named hybrids I have in my collection, or those I’ve created. As of now, leading into winter 2020, I only have a handful of seedlings of my own making, so it’ll be several years before I have anything fun to show for my crossing efforts!
Below is the list of current ‘designer’ hybrids in my collection, with photos and descriptions further down the page.
Lavender Star II
Pink Blush / Pink Thing
Purple People Eater
Thanks to how prolific aloes are, it is extremely easy to hybridize them. Also fun is the fact that by doing so, you can mold the plant to a shape, color, or bloom you enjoy most. Many of the smaller “designer” aloe hybrids also have fantastic colors and a compact growth habit, making them ideal for containers and perfect for collectors like me. Many of the larger species can be hybridized for specific growth habits or appearance, occasionally producing plants that have a particular look to them but are hardier than one of the parents.
How do you create a hybrid aloe?
Hybridizing aloes happens in two main ways: open pollination, or hand pollination.
Open pollination of your aloe flowers will result in impossible to track down hybrids, which is not all that different from how some hybrids can happen in the wild. Birds, bugs, and other critters seek out nectar and are not particularly picky about where they eat, resulting in hybridization. For species that occur near each other in the wild, they can and often do create natural hybrids which are typically not named. In your garden, these hybrids may not be quite a similar as the ones out in the wild, but your local hummingbirds and bumblebees have no problem crossing your garden plants for you!
Hand pollination, combined with protecting flowers from the enthusiastic open pollinators, ensures that the plants you cross are exactly what you mean to cross. These manmade hybrids are often named, and many are even patented, protecting their creators and ensuring that the creators of the hybrids are paid for their efforts.
Aloes take quite a while to grow to a marketable size, typically 1 – 2 years for very small plants, and more commonly 3 – 4 years (or more!) for larger specimens that are ready to flower. Most commercially available hybrids you see are produced through pupping, which produces clones of the original parent plant, rather than through seed cultivation, which is much faster.
This hybrid will eventually get larger than some of the other designer types. I’ve seen some specimens that overflowed 1 gallon pots, and were easily 16 to 18″ tall.
In shade, these aloes have a green leaf base covered in red spikes, and edged in similarly colored red teeth.
When exposed to sunlight, they become a deep purple-gray color and look almost alien. To the left is a shade/nursery grown young plant, and below is my specimen plant growing in-ground in full sun, and somewhat water-stressed.
Gorgeous, high-white hybrid with smooth, sword-like leaves. This one grows tall and pups readily. With sun stress, they blush a bit pink/purple, making for a very attractive container plant. Generally hardy and easy to grow, and rather fast growing when they’re happy. Clumps readily and will fill their container quickly if left unchecked.
Due to all the white, I suggest keeping them in partial shade for best growth. Morning sun with protection from afternoon heat is likely to produce the best appearance and robust growth, although my specimens in nearly full sun have managed to survive.
While some sites may suggest pairing these with other succulents or cacti for an attractive container garden, these grow far too fast and enthusiastically to share a pot for my taste. They are likely to quickly choke out any other species grown with them.
Aloe castilloniae “Blue”
I know very little about this hybrid, only that it’s beautiful and I love it.
It has deep purple-blue leaf coloration, especially with sun stress, and the distinct red teeth that Aloe castilloniae is known for. As with many Kelly Griffin hybrids, the exact parentage is undisclosed, but regardless it’s a beautiful plant.
I have mine staged in a tall Gimbel pot, and I’m hopeful it’ll eventually curl around in the same growth habit that Aloe castilloniae does with time.
Very new to my collection, only added in late fall of 2020.
Aloe “Christmas Sleigh”
These are one of the most popular hybrids I sell in my shop, and it’s easy to see why: they’re super striking, hardy, and very easy to grow. They’re also super readily available, at least for me, and are relatively slow to grow and crowd out their pot-mates.
For me, one of the most challenging things about this hybrid is that the highly curved leaf edges are very prone to breakage, but otherwise, they are a very rewarding little hybrid. The neon red leaf edges against the deep purple/green of the leaf body makes it easy to see where the “Christmas” part of the name comes from!
Aloe “Coral Fire”
This was the very first Aloe hybrid I ever picked up – originally from a succulent cafe out by the coast, it was a small little plant in a 4″ pot that I promptly divided and planted all over my yard.
That was a mistake, as it actually tends to take a little while for these to recover and begin expanding. Either way, I’ve had multiple plants of this hybrid for years, and it’s a showy, pretty little hybrid with coral-orange edged leaves and an interesting texture through the leaves. With sun stress, the green base color of the leaves flushes into bright orange (probably where the “fire” part the name comes from), with increased sun stress turning it into a deep burnt orange/brown color.
Below is a small pup with no sun stress, while to the left is my larger clump showcasing the deep burnt orange color this hybrid develops.
Aloe “Delta Dawn”
I’ve come to love the “Delta” family of hybrids as a gorgeously textured set that have beautiful ranges of colors. Delta Dawn has a palette of colors like the dawn, as you might guess from the name.
They start out with the expected green leaf base color, and have a highly textured leaf with the raised portions being white. With increased exposure to sunlight, and a decreased watering schedule, they develop hues of pink, tan, orange, and deep green/brown colors.
The leaves will dramatically, very similar to a Christmas Sleigh, and they develop deep furrows when the aloe is water-deprived. Very pretty plant and quite hardy.
Aloe “Delta Lights”
This is a super pretty hybrid that I am frankly amazed people aren’t clambering over themselves to pick up. Compared to its cousin, Delta Rose, or the other cousin, Delta Dawn, this one is pretty distinct due to the upright leaf growth habit.
With the right sun exposure, the outer leaves will blush a deep purple/pink, with the green areas turning lavender shades and the white blushing an orange/coral/pink color. The center leaves remain pale green and white, making for a kaleidoscope in a single plant. The upright habit of the leaf growth is similar to Coral Fire and AJR, but the leaf texture is much much different.
Very pretty and quite hardy.
Aloe “Delta Rose”
A sprawling, wide-leafed hybrid that’s pretty even in nursery conditions and blushes a deep purple-red color with sun stress. The larger this hybrid grows, the more striking it becomes, and it is easily one of the favorites in my collection.
When shade grown, the raised texture on the leaves is a pale, white to orange coloration, but with sun stress and reduced watering, the textured portions turn a rich pink that is strongly highlighted against the deep lavender gray of the leaf body.
This is also a fairly low-profile aloe, although not as compact or flat as Christmas Sleigh or Snow Storm tend to be.
These looked super pretty even as nursery grown specimens, and it was easy to see why they flew out of my Etsy shop faster than I could keep them in stock.
However, apply a bit of sun stress and reduce the watering, and these look like those spray painted aloes you see at big box stores – but that’s their natural color! They can blush a deep red to deep orange, but the entire plant just flushes a neon shade with exposure to sunlight.
I like these enough I’ve kept several, especially because they are so hardy and easy to grow. Below is the nursery grown, shaded growth version, and to the left is the sun stressed glory that they turn into!
Compared to the other strikingly colored hybrids in my collection, this one is much more subdued. The leaves grow in dense, curling clumps, with pale green flesh and white speckling throughout. These don’t really blush into a prettier shade with sun stress; they will darken and brown, but in my opinion they look best with their bright green leaves.
What these are best grown for are their gorgeous little flowers, which are explosions of bright orange clusters that hummingbirds absolutely love. These do not handle full sun very well, and should be protected from extremes of heat or cold – making them ideal candidates for windowsill plants or apartment container gardening.
I, meanwhile, will try not to melt my main specimen any more than I did this summer in its full-sun exposure planting.
Aloe “Mauna Loa”
Beautiful star aloe hybrid created by Kelly Griffin – star shaped rosettes that are a green base with white striping and pink/orange toothed edges in shade, and blushes in shades of purple, orange, and red with stress. Winter cold stress is among the prettiest!
I have a large pot of these in the greenhouse, and heat stress with full sun exposure turned the cluster almost a bronze-brown shade rather than the prettier purple hues.
Pot in well-draining soil in a pot just an inch or two larger than the current pot size. I prefer to pot with about 30% additional pumice added to the soil mix; in more humid climates you may want to increase that ratio to 50%.
Aloe “Pink Thing”
Gets up to 12″ tall, and 5″ wide (for a single head), but clumps readily and enthusiastically. Will fill a 12″+ pot happily given time.
Beautiful, textured aloe with nearly fully white striped leaves that display the characteristic pink edges and blushing that gives the hybrid its name.
Keep in partial shade, as the strong white on the leaves makes it susceptible to sunburn. As with other succulents and aloes, pot in well-draining soil and let it dry thoroughly between waterings.
Very similar to “Pink Blush”, this hybrid does not get as dark or as intensely colored. “Pink Thing” is a more subtle, paler hybrid – still beautiful, just less vibrant.
This sea-monster looking hybrid wasn’t one I was particularly excited about at first, but has grown on me as it experiences various types of cultivation stress.
It has an upright leaf shape, with thin, finger-like leaves having edges of connected ‘teeth’ that run along the outer edge. When grown in shade, their leaf base is a pale green with white stripes, which blushes to an orange-tan with increased sun and decreased water.
Pups readily, so you’ll have plenty of babies to share with friends and family, and blooms through late winter and into early spring.
Follow along with the Aloe Krakatoa care diary to see the changes in coloration and growth over time!
Aloe “Purple People Eater”
Who DOESN’T need a Purple People Eater in their life?
The longer I’ve had this hybrid, the more it looks like it’s a close relative of Aloe castilloniae, blue, particularly as I’ve been able to acquire young ones for sale.
It’s different than Blue, but it’s different the way siblings are different, which is likely due to shared parentage with Aloe castilloniae somewhere in there. It may even be the same cross, but a different seed batch, and subsequent plants available are tissue cultured or derived from pups to preserve the type.
Textures on the leaf are reminiscent of Aloe “AJR”, although not nearly as meaty, so I’d suspect AJR is more like a first or second cousin than a sibling.
In any case, this has been relatively slow growing compared to other aloe hybrids. Growth habit is to produce stems, which I expect will eventually trail or develop a bushy character depending on how much light they’re exposed to. I keep mine in full sun, full exposure morning to evening, even during the hottest part of summer, but it is on an eastern side of the house and gets distinct sun stress in one direction.
Follow along with the growth in my Purple People Eater care diary!
This is one of my top 5 favorite succulents ever, hands down. I am still hunting for an adequately impressive pot to stage this thing in, because it is gorgeous.
Sidewinder has intense neon colors, particularly after a decent amount of sun stress and decreased watering, combined with chilly winter temperatures. Grown in shadier conditions, they tend to be more green and white, but with that sunshine and lack of water they just light up like a neon sign.
It’s a flatter growing hybrid, likely related to Firecracker, but closer to Delta Rose. I’d bet money that Delta Rose, Firecracker, and Sidewinder share a grandparent, with different methods of selection and incrossing/outcrossing to produce different looking hybrids.
Regardless of the lineage, this is a very striking hybrid, and worth adding to your own collection. You can see the development of color and stress in the Sidewinder care diary, which I’ll be updating as we enter a full year and it goes full circle in terms of growing conditions.
Aloe “Snow Storm”
You’ve probably seen this at your local big box store, as it’s a fairly common hybrid.
They’re green with white texture, and white leaf edges, and are extremely hardy and easy to care for. As with similar star aloe hybrids, they don’t get very big, and form clusters over time.
They blush a darker maroon/brown color when exposed to lots of sun, but I think they look best grown with a few hours of morning sun and shade the rest of the day. This gets the nice, compact growth with plenty of white, so you see nice contrasting colors.