Slooooowest growing Aloe?

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Slooooowest growing Aloe?

Post Number:#1  Postby Spination » Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:08 am

What's your slowest growing Aloe?

This one takes the cake for me. I see it nearly every day, and never really have the sense that it's growing much. It's a pretty plant (disclaimer - beauty is in the eye of the beholder), but remains in the same pot as in the beginning, and clearly still not ready for an upgrade. I've always had the sense that it is delicate, and needing special care and protection.
Nearly 3 years ago...
2013 09 23 Aloe pachygaster a crop X750.jpg
2013 09 23 Aloe pachygaster a crop X750.jpg (198.27 KiB) Viewed 474 times


A year later...
2014 07 23 Aloe pachygaster X750.jpg
2014 07 23 Aloe pachygaster X750.jpg (176.22 KiB) Viewed 474 times


Another year...
2015 07 03 Aloe pachygaster.JPG
2015 07 03 Aloe pachygaster.JPG (369.4 KiB) Viewed 474 times


Today...
2016 04 28 Aloe pachygaster a X750.jpg
2016 04 28 Aloe pachygaster a X750.jpg (194.19 KiB) Viewed 474 times

another view, another perspective
2016 04 28 Aloe pachygaster b.JPG
2016 04 28 Aloe pachygaster b.JPG (153.69 KiB) Viewed 474 times


Clearly, it's larger than when I got it, with more leaves and they're not as short and stubby anymore. I'm wondering if it will surprise me one of these days and really take off. So far though, nothing else I can think of among my aloes is growing that slow.
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Re: Slooooowest growing Aloe?

Post Number:#2  Postby Stan » Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:52 am

Some Aloe's dont like pots. I had Aloe rupestris looking frail,red,and thin in a large tub planter for a few years. It took off fast when it left the potting soils and I put in ground. Grew so fast it got top heavy (big new growth on tiny old stem) it snapped off. I took THAT and planted it in the front yard and it's shaping up to be a proper trunking Aloe.

So,A.pachygaster might always poke along...but if it pups and you try those in ground,it might even turn out to be a fast grower.

One day some company will make a TRUE cactus and soil mix without peat or rotting wood. You would think there's plenty of desert soils in this drying up world that could be lightened up and amended and sold to us.
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Re: Slooooowest growing Aloe?

Post Number:#3  Postby Spination » Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:26 am

There's definitely an element of truth to your observation. In most cases, plants will languish compared to open ground for unrestricted root growth, or even just a larger pot. I have Aloe Ferox seedlings growing, all germinated at the same time, with 3 distinct size groups rather quite disparate in size achieved strictly by pot size, although the small ones were definitely restricted in ridiculously undersized 1" pots. Ones growing bigger, are in bigger pots, and the largest are in the largest pots (1 gal). However, having some time back cracked the 100 mark in different Aloe species, not including hybrids, I feel like I'm developing a sense of growth rates comparatively, and of when a plant is ready to be upgraded to a larger pot. In most cases, a plant will fill out a pot, start to "bonzai", and will in that way let you know it's overdue for a new "house". Personally, I rather prefer transplanting to a larger pot when the root ball is substantial, rather than flimsy and relatively inconsequential. I find those plants with well developed roots that can even hold the earth together when they're removed, are easier to care for and generally healthier, and I can water them even more frequently and almost never worry about them staying too wet and rotting.
My feeling is the pachygaster really is (or at least mine is) very slow growing, and it's still not ready for a larger pot. I'd bet money that if I pulled it out, the roots would be quite far from filling out that pot, even after 3 years so far. Also, it's been so seemingly fragile to date, I wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize it's progress until I'm certain it's ready. I'm thinking one more year before a new and larger pot unless I suddenly see a burst of growth.

Mostly, I'm wondering here if anyone else has experience with other slow growing species. I have another species name to add which I think may also be a slow grower, Aloe pearsonii, but I only have one year under my belt on that one, so I may yet find out differently in time (probably not though).
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Re: Slooooowest growing Aloe?

Post Number:#4  Postby Stan » Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:52 am

This isn't probably what you meant BUT,Aloe maculata is a slow grower- but very fast to pup.
I do have a Aloe mitriformis that I've posted about never pupping in the 15 year that I've had it. The other day,I was weeding...I saw a pup. I have both ends of the spectrum pupping.

As far as just plain speed of-or lack of- what I have? Aloe cameronii and A. arborescens variegated are slowest. Excepting the mentioned gold tooth Aloe mitriformis. 15 years to be 16" tall.
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Re: Slooooowest growing Aloe?

Post Number:#5  Postby Geoff » Thu May 05, 2016 11:38 pm

Aloe pachygasters are pretty rarely seen flowering, and perhaps that is why. Never grown this species personally but also have rarely seen it in person, either. Looks similar to Aloe claviflora, but that species grows from a seedling to flowering size in just 5 years, so is obviously much faster (but that was in the ground, too). I have grown many species of aloe which I found infuriatingly slow, though most were dinky species to begin with. One of the slowest I have tried is Aloe chlorantha (another species rarely seen in cultivation for some reason)... put out maybe a leaf a year if I was lucky. Had the plant 6 years and hardly noticeably any bigger than when I got it. Aloe prinslooi and dewetii are two more slow pokes, at least compared to most other spotted aloe species. I have never seen a mature example of either species, despite seeing plenty of seedlings in collections. But it may just be we don't know the best conditions to keep these species in, and in the wild, they may be much faster (Aloe pachygaster lives normally in a very hot environment that maybe we cannot easily replicate in captivity).
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Re: Slooooowest growing Aloe?

Post Number:#6  Postby mcvansoest » Fri May 06, 2016 7:06 am

I just recently acquired a small A. pachygaster - it looks like the real deal - and I had been wondering about what the best growing conditions might be. It came from California by way of Boyce Thompson Arboretum - someone's extensive cactus and succulent collection they were able to acquire and to get enough funding to be able to provide new housing for all the frost/sun tender plants they sold off specimens from the collection they had multiples of.

If it likes hot it will get that here this summer, I will keep it out of direct summer sun for now, but it will be interesting to see how it does as temperatures go up.

Also have A. claviflora and I see the resemblance.
It is what it is!
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Re: Slooooowest growing Aloe?

Post Number:#7  Postby Spination » Fri May 06, 2016 7:19 am

Very informative, and great insight, thanks very much Geoff.

Although very similar when small, you're absolutely correct about the big difference in growth rates between pachygaster and claviflora, and I guess that would be one additional way to differentiate the two as well.
Here's my claviflora in the same time period, late 2013 to present. They did look quite similar at first, but one is now barely bigger, and the other significantly larger.
2013 10 09  Aloe claviflora X750.jpg
2013 10 09 Aloe claviflora X750.jpg (153.37 KiB) Viewed 411 times

2016 05 01 Aloe claviflora c X750.jpg
2016 05 01 Aloe claviflora c X750.jpg (224.29 KiB) Viewed 411 times


Also, it hadn't occurred to me about the native hot climate, and that possible influence on the growth rate. That's something to consider, and attempt to replicate as far as feasible. When it's warm out, the plant already benefits from it's current location as when it's 70 outside, it's about 100 in the greenhouse kit it's situated in. During winter, there's not much I can do other than the small thermostatic heater already in use, but it only prevents temps from dropping too low, which is better than nothing.

Thijs, great score! It definitely will be interesting if the hotter Arizona climate will influence the growth rate positively.
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Re: Slooooowest growing Aloe?

Post Number:#8  Postby Spination » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:07 am

Update - went to check this plant out again - it's so small and unobtrusive - it's so easy just to water every so often and forget about it. Anyway, here is an updated photo - now nearing 4 1/2 years since acquired and still
living in it's same pot. I'm hoping this is something that starts out slow, builds itself up to a certain point, and then takes off.... :lol:

I don't see anything wrong with it - it's just sloooooow! I do see it's very first retired leaf at the bottom, but that's about it.
2018 01 12 Aloe pachygaster a.jpg
2018 01 12 Aloe pachygaster a.jpg (55.42 KiB) Viewed 152 times

2018 01 12 Aloe pachygaster b.jpg
2018 01 12 Aloe pachygaster b.jpg (57.85 KiB) Viewed 152 times
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Re: Slooooowest growing Aloe?

Post Number:#9  Postby Stan » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:05 pm

2 years ago I got a cutting of "Always Red". I put it in a pot..the usual way. Hardly grew for like 18 months. THEN, it took off,looks good. Now,to plant it out. Has a nice tan color foliage in summer.
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Re: Slooooowest growing Aloe?

Post Number:#10  Postby Spination » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:35 pm

A cutting I can understand, since roots have to grow first. This was an offset, so it doesn't have that excuse.
Here's what's funny. This is a photo of what came in that package. Both erinacea are fairly large now, although one bigger than the other. Both betsillensis also fairly large...and again one larger than the other, and the bigger one in the process of blooming as well. Anyway, 5 plants received together, and very roughly the same size to start...but only the pachygaster failed to impress in the growth department.
2013 09 23 Aloe besileensis c.jpg
2013 09 23 Aloe besileensis c.jpg (193.25 KiB) Viewed 136 times
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Re: Slooooowest growing Aloe?

Post Number:#11  Postby mickthecactus » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:59 am

I don’t find my cameronii that slow.
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Re: Slooooowest growing Aloe?

Post Number:#12  Postby Stan » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:39 pm

Speaking of cameronii- it had rotted. So i cut off the rot ( after the photos) and potted it roots deep. My clay is too heavy and wet where I have it. Move it again in spring.
So thanks Tom- your eye saved me a valuable and hard to find plant.
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Re: Slooooowest growing Aloe?

Post Number:#13  Postby Spination » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:14 pm

Is that the one that was all red next to the one that wasn't?
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Re: Slooooowest growing Aloe?

Post Number:#14  Postby Stan » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:38 pm

Yep..now getting brown. It was caught in time.
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Re: Slooooowest growing Aloe?

Post Number:#15  Postby Spination » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:51 pm

Good deal...
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