Can't seem to keep up with this Aloe polyphylla's growth

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Re: Can't seem to keep up with this Aloe polyphylla's growth

Post Number:#26  Postby Spination » Thu May 18, 2017 12:31 pm

If I recall correctly some reading in my own personal days of yore, A. polyphylla is one of the youngest Aloe of that evolutionary tree, the logical result of geographic isolation and adaptation to specific and unique conditions (hydration, altitude, temperatures, and UV rays). It's cultural requirements are so narrow and refined, I would imagine anything resulting from being hybridized with it could only be easier to grow, and hopefully the result pick up some of those fantastic and unique characteristics at the same time. Apparently, there are at least a couple out there that have been done already. Mine should be getting close to flowering age, but maybe a couple more years to wait. I had an eye to the future in deciding to grow from seed others from different genetic stock, which apparently is important with this species, in the hopes of eventually producing my own and viable polyphylla seeds, but it is clear that my 2 other different genetic strains are going to be several years behind. While I'm waiting for them to catch up, that would give me a few years to make use of the one to try creating different hybrids, which should be fun and interesting. Making use of various flowers and marking them, multiple crosses could be tried in one season. Anyway, all this stuff is very slow and requires patience and thinking years off into the future. Hopefully, I can keep doing what I'm doing for another couple of decades, and come up with some interesting and different stuff of my own. :))

And yeah, it is fun to imagine various crosses, like your idea of polyphylla and plicatillis. Wild! That particular cross would take some extra effort, since plicatilis blooms early through spring, and polyphylla in the summer, necessitating pollen storage of plicatilis for a few months. And...the question whether they would be compatible genetic partners resulting in viable seed.

Aside from that, A. polyphylla is such a unique and beautiful species by it's own rights, it's definitely worthwhile to keep trying to grow it as a pure species. I think hybridizing is an interesting side line as a curiosity, but growing that one pure would be my primary goal.
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Re: Can't seem to keep up with this Aloe polyphylla's growth

Post Number:#27  Postby Stan » Thu May 18, 2017 1:07 pm

Imagine a A.polyphylla x with a kelley grifith type Aloe..colors and bumps on a spiral. But,I notice that A.polyphylla is still hard to find? I saw very small ones for $50- and you could only buy 2 at a time. Me? I bought mine for much less and I think it was just a pure fluke and luck years ago. Actually I got mine for the price seeds are selling for. High five me!
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Re: Can't seem to keep up with this Aloe polyphylla's growth

Post Number:#28  Postby Spination » Thu May 18, 2017 1:54 pm

High Five Stan. D))

I agree that they seem quite pricey, and my experience is that it all depends on how many people want one and when, and how many are available. I almost fell out of my chair when a small one (3-4") I recently listed on Ebay went for almost $70. Wow. The week before the first one I listed which was a little larger even went for 1/2 that and sent to Hawaii. What I said... how many want the same plant at the same time = outbidding each other = high price. I still have several more than I don't need - perhaps I should let a couple more go... :lol: Anyway, I definitely need to make room for all the stuff I have going on, so probably not a bad idea. As it is, I almost fell on my butt this AM trying to tip-toe through floor space jammed with plants that just shouldn't even be there to begin with, just so I could get my paintbrush tickling a couple of particular Aloe flowers.... it was like a tight rope walk, and it would not have been too fun if I hadn't caught myself just in the nick of time. :oops:
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Re: Can't seem to keep up with this Aloe polyphylla's growth

Post Number:#29  Postby Agavemonger » Thu May 18, 2017 6:52 pm

Time for your new 22' X 100' greenhouse with Fan jets, heater, cooling pads, & exhaust fans, me thinks. D))

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Re: Can't seem to keep up with this Aloe polyphylla's growth

Post Number:#30  Postby Spination » Thu May 18, 2017 8:06 pm

Right. ::wink:: Time to win the lottery. Oh wait, I forgot. You can't win if you don't play... :lol:
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Re: Can't seem to keep up with this Aloe polyphylla's growth

Post Number:#31  Postby Stan » Fri May 19, 2017 8:48 am

Spination wrote:Right. ::wink:: Time to win the lottery. Oh wait, I forgot. You can't win if you don't play... :lol:

Same here. All "gambling" should be called "give away your money for nothing". The lotto is like giving the grocery store an extra dollar for the receipt.
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Re: Can't seem to keep up with this Aloe polyphylla's growth

Post Number:#32  Postby Steph115 » Wed May 24, 2017 7:45 am

Greetings from Dallas, TX! Happy to report that we made the drive with only minor plant casualties.

Spination - wow, that thing is definitely growing like crazy, and just 11 days later. Love the scientific method you used to determine this! Also, good to know about the bleaching of the leaves being the sign of sunburn, rather than turning a brown or something like that. It sounds like you've found a good solution for the right amount of light, too.

I have a question for you: my little A.p. babies have started to retire leaves at the 5 leaf stage. The first seedling retired its very first leaf awhile ago, but I thought it was because of some physical trauma that leaf had early on. However now it looks like it's starting to retire its second leaf as well. The second seedling is in the process of retiring its very first leaf right now, and this leaf had no trauma at all. They are still growing new leaves at a faster rate, it looks like. But I'm worried. Is this normal? Is there anything I should do?
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Re: Can't seem to keep up with this Aloe polyphylla's growth

Post Number:#33  Postby Spination » Wed May 24, 2017 8:46 am

Thanks. It's crude science really, but it will still give me an accurate enough feeling for how fast new leaves are being generated from the growing point. If I'm vigilant about it as well over time, I should also get a good feel for the timing of the growing season. Does it grow year round, or does it take a break somewhere during the year? I'd like to know or at least get a refined sense of that from first-hand critical observation.

Regarding the bleaching on lower leaves I had a sense was beginning, that has stopped now with the simple adjustment of the minor relocation I made. My one experience very early on regarding sunburn with that same plant, was that it began bleaching first, which had I the experience back then, would have told me that the sunburn situation was happening. That time, I waited too late to move the plant. As I recall, I became aware the growth form was not the compact form that is desirable that comes with adequate lighting, so I moved it into sun too much too fast, and then was not reactive enough while the plant was telling me it was then getting too much sun from what it was used to. From that I learned that the key is paying attention to the plant, the coloring, and not being slow to make adjustments as needed.
Here's a fresh photo from this AM capturing the current growth situation, and showing nothing alarming regarding the overall appearance and color. What I like a lot here is that the leaves emanating from the center have a much more compact appearance than the leaves farther out, which I believe is telling me that the improved sun exposure over last year is having a positive impact regarding improved growth form. In time, those long leaves further out and going down to the bottom will all be replaced with more triangular, shorter, and compact leaves.
2017 05 24 Aloe polyphylla a X800.jpg
2017 05 24 Aloe polyphylla a X800.jpg (211.7 KiB) Viewed 15 times



I reviewed photos of my first seedling batch germinated Mar-Apr 2014. There were 3 of 5 seeds, but the third one which germinated didn't make it. Specifically, I was looking at photos with an eye to your question regarding leaf retirement, and at what point do photos filed show clear evidence of that. I know that's a normal aspect of growing, and A.B. mentions that one needs to allow the leaves to dry on their own, as it is important the "goo" in the leaves get reabsorbed into the plant. So, here's a shot of one of the 2 initial seedlings at 10 months of age, showing clear leaf retirement phenomenon.
2015 06 09 Aloe polyphylla seedlings #2 a.jpg
2015 06 09 Aloe polyphylla seedlings #2 a.jpg (72 KiB) Viewed 15 times

We can see down low under the bottom leaves some completely dried up ones, and also other leaves in various stages of leaf retirement - from just the tip drying, to another already dried to mid-leaf. It does seem to be a normal part of the growth process. I would think that if the new leaves on yours are growing at a faster rate than the leaf retirement, it's moving along fine and seems normal based on my own experience.

As far as what to do, if you're already keeping them well hydrated (I water all of mine, both large and small, daily), just keep doing what you're doing. D))
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Re: Can't seem to keep up with this Aloe polyphylla's growth

Post Number:#34  Postby Steph115 » Wed May 24, 2017 9:05 am

Thanks for the quick reply - I was worried that the 5 leaf stage was a little early to see this phenomenon. Yours appears to be at the ~14-15 leaf stage in that picture, if I'm counting correctly. I will continue to water daily and watch them for hopeful improvement. They're also in a spot with much better sun now, so hopefully that helps too. The one thing I'm a little worried about is that my soil mix has too much lava rock and isn't retaining enough water. Maybe if they don't seem to improve in the next couple weeks, I'll change out the soil for a slightly less well-draining mix.
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Re: Can't seem to keep up with this Aloe polyphylla's growth

Post Number:#35  Postby Spination » Wed May 24, 2017 9:26 am

I don't think the faster draining mix is an issue as long as you keep watering. As I recall, some in habitat cling to rocky substrate, with roots sinking into cracks and such, but the key is they have consistent water flow. My mix is straight cactus mix, with no extra pumice added, and it drains fine. I water each earlier part of the day, and the water drains out the bottom of the pot, and the soil doesn't really have a "soggy" quality to it, but yet apparently the plant gets all it needs from that regimen. There is no other Aloe in my collection that comes to mind that I would dare to water every single day, but with these polyphylla, I've never rotted one, so I guess what I do is perfect for them.
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Re: Can't seem to keep up with this Aloe polyphylla's growth

Post Number:#36  Postby Steph115 » Wed May 24, 2017 9:49 am

Thank you, your guidance is very comforting!!!
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Re: Can't seem to keep up with this Aloe polyphylla's growth

Post Number:#37  Postby Spination » Wed May 24, 2017 9:57 am

Very happy to help. We learn from each other, and it's all good. D))
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