Off-topic: Aloe - Jim Shields

Shawn Pollard
Tue, 04 Aug 2009 07:16:11 PDT

While our cool and frost-free winters are perfect for aloes because the far majority of them are cool-season growers, our Yuma summers are actually too hot for most of them to survive in the open garden.  This is actually true of many xeric and Mediterranean-type plants; it's the 24-hour ambient heat that slays plants here, even in the shade.  (The eighth month of the year, which most calendars quaintly call "August," is known in Yuma as "Month-of-Death.")  The aloes so far from my experience that will withstand the full fury of a Yuma summer are A. vera, A. chinensis, and an unidentified third one that looks like a cross between A. striata and A. sponaria.  All the other aloes that have survived the summer, some barely, have had 60% to 90% shade during the day.  I have not tried A. dichotoma or any of the grass aloes yet.  A. dichotoma will survive the humidity of a Tucson summer if planted in a frostless thermal belt.

So, you seem to have your aloes' seasons reversed.  If it's working for you in your Indiana greenhouses, then you may be on to something.  I don't think your summer heat by itself will be a killer, but if the temperatures do not cool off at night and are combined with humidity, then any aloes outside (except for probably A. vera and A. chinensis) are possibly doomed.

Shawn Pollard
Yuma, AZ


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