Grass Aloes are "sort of" bulbs
Fri, 26 Nov 2004 16:17:17 PST

Some aloes are deciduous in the wild, growing in summer rainfall areas and 
dying back in winter.  They are typically hardy (as aloes go) for 2 reasons:  1) 
the top dies back and the root behaves like a bulb, and 2) they typically 
come from higher elevations.

I am growing several species of these "grass" aloes and have found the, so 
far, to be easy and durable.  They are not "bulbs," but because they die back to 
a perennial rootstock; because they leaf out in warm weather and have such 
wonderful flowers, I think of them as bulb-type garden plants.    

I purchased seed from Silverhill seed about 2 years ago of A. cooperi, A. 
ecklonis, and A. myriacantha (apparently these are the more easily found 
species).  All of them should be hardy down to 15 F, and some are reported hardy in to 
zone 7.  

I'm not sure what is a grass aloe and what is a bulb aloe, but they are 
similar; it is my understanding that both are deciduous-but I'm not sure.  I think 
that bulb aloes actually make a more pronounced storage organ.  The leaves of 
grass aloes are succulent.  Here, near Houston, TX, the 3 species from 
Silverhill germinated easily indoors under lights (room temperature), and grew 
easily.  They really enjoyed our hot Texas summer, and the rain-never seeming to get 
too much water or sun.  They responded well to fertilizer and really seemed 
to enjoy it when I moved them from seedling pots/media into a 90% mineral mix 
(30% lava rock, 30% perlite, 30% coarse sand, 10% humus).  They are about 20-24 
months old now and I've potted them up several times.  I plan to keep to or 3 
of each type and find homes for the extras.  

Last year I protected them from rain during winter; they never got bone dry 
due to splash and spray but the leaves mostly died down.  This year I will let 
them stay out in the garden, in 1- or 2-gallon containers over the winter.  
Perhaps if we have mild frosts again they will remain evergreen or perhaps they 
will die down.  

They are such strong growers that I'm hopeful some will bloom next summer.  
If nothing else I want to try their pollen on the other aloes that tolerate 
Houston (e.g., maculata, arborescens, striatula).  

LINK:  Aloe cooperi page at  

LINK:  Aloe striatula page at Plant Delights Nursery…  

Oh yeah, I sure would like to find seed of more species of grass (or bulb) 
aloes; if you have some to sell or trade please contact me.  


Conroe Joe
71 F high today in Conroe, TX:  55 F predicted for overnight low
humidity:  85% at 6:00 p.m.  

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