Tree Aloes- Aloe plicatilis

yorkiemikiMarch 1, 2014

I think I need to add some height to my succulent collections.

I was eyeing the Aloe Plicatilis at Armstrong today-- only problem, for a 3 gallon pot (and a dinky little 12 inch plant) it cost a whopping $50.

Anyone know of another aloe or succulent that becomes more tree like and is more common or cheaper?

Only tree like succulents I have are one 12 inch desert rose (adenium obesum) and a small pony tail palm I got at home depot.

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Buy them from the Institute for Aloe Studies and you'll get the satisfaction of promoting Aloes through buying them and watching them grow.

But off the top of my head, any of the tree aloe hybrids, like 'Medusa', 'Goliath' or 'Hercules', Aloe dichotoma (perfect for SouCal) and Aloe thraskii.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Aloe Store

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 1:31AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I got 'Hercules' from Home Depot for $8.99. It is about the easiest one to try and super fast but it will top 30'. Either ferox or marlothii are widely available, nearly as easy, and stay smaller at 10-15'. They have spectacular flowers. Plicatilis is slower and therefore more pricey. Dichotoma can rot in a rainy winter even planted in sharp-draining grit, at least mine did.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:29AM
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Oh man! I saw the Goliath also at Armstrong and it was small, I didn't realize it becomes a tree!

Thanks a lot for the alternatives to Plicatillis.

I really like the symmetry and eccentricity of the Plicatillis. It's like it's straight out of Dr Suess!

I'll have to keep an eye out for those- Medusa, Goliath, Hercules, Marlothii, Dichotoma,

It's tricky because they don't look like trees when they're small

I just googled Dichotoma "Quiver Tree" I think it's nice and looks lkinda like the Plicatilis.

I'll keep my eye out for some of those ones you guys suggested. Thank u!!

Are these trees similar to Aeonium, where if you cut the head off often it makes more than one stalk/leg? (Often if I cut off the head of a single aeonium floret then 2-3 will pop up ) This is similar to when you core the agave head to make more pups. I like when the Aloe trees have more than one head

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 8:24PM
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You want a tree in a hurry? the aloe plicatilis is the LAST Aloe tree you want to get .. probably close to the slowest to get tall of all the tree aloes (and there are a good 30-40 species). Aloe barbarae (aka bainsii) are REALLY fast.. as are the Aloe Hercules hybrids... these become monsters, though... have to have a lot of room. But my Aloe Hercules went from 2' tall to 15' tall in 5 years. Aloe plicatilis went from 2' tall to 2.5' tall in 7 years. Aloe vaombe from 3" tall to 6' tall in 8 years (that's pretty fast, too... great flowers on this one!). Aloe dichotoma 2' to 6' in 8 years... relatively slow, but still WAY faster than Aloe plicatilis (which by the way, rarely get over 5' tall EVER). Aloe's marlothii, ferox, 'Principes, munchii, excelsa, tongaensis, rupestris, thraskii, alooides and africana all good and relatively fast choices for some nice tree aloes and GREAT flowers.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 1:57AM
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I left out one of the best, Aloe speciosa, too... probably the best flowers of all the tree aloes.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 1:59AM
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I read some about Aloe Hercules getting so big that they topple over or the top branch breaks off. Is this mainly in pots?

I can plant an Aloe Hercules at my mom's house since she likes all plants. She lives in a canyon so she has plenty of space. Ill keep my eye out for that. If I plant a couple I can always use them for cuttings right?

PROPAGATION: Do you ever take large limbs (or if they break off due to size etc) will they take to propagation to create a bunch of trees fairly easily from these Aloe Trees?

Aloe dichotoma I think kinda looks like Aloe plicatilis so maybe I'll look for that also. I just think the Plicatilis (fan aloe) just looks so cool.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 3:44AM
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Don't confuse Aloe Goliath with Aloe Hercules. They are both hybrids with Aloe barberae, but the former does rapidly get top heavy while that latter does not usually have problems with limbs falling off. However, if they do, they do seem rather easy to start over as cuttings and root fairly reliably.... can end up with a forest of large aloe trees that way.

Nothing wrong with the way A plicatilis look, but it is easily the trickiest and most difficult to grow of the more common tree aloes, as well as the slowest. These often suddenly rot for no apparent reasons, and keeping them looking good can be a challenge. But that is why relatively small plants are pricey... took a lot of work to get them that far, sometimes.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 10:51AM
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Rupestris is really beautiful

You can root a branch, but it can take many months to develop roots. My neighbor got a barbarae branch to root and it took a year.

Overwatering and too-rich soil can cause the branches to snap. Slower growth is stronger growth. I think it is 'Goliath' that tends to be the one that snaps off easily.

Plicatilis isn't agonizingly slow, just slower. Here's mine in July 2010 behind A. dichotoma:

And a quick snapshot this morning

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 11:40AM
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Your succulent garden is amazing.

Aloe blooms are gorgeous!! They're super large and full.

What's the succulent, in the background, photo 2? Thanks, Toni

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 11:54AM
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Izzrd,m I'll keep my eye out for hercules. As you said though, I suppose for now if I want the quick trees I should just go with Goliath and any head that falls I can use for another tree.

I'm going to be doing the landscaping at a lot of friends and family houses so the more cuttings and fast growing plants the better. I like my little Aeonium" factories". They just keep popping out heads and the more I just keep propagating into new plants ;-)

Amazing garden Hoobv. Wow I'd love one like that some day. I had read that the plicatilis has lots of issues with growth, like they get a lot of black lower leaves and prone to rot. Has this been the case with yours? What area of SoCal are you in?

Cactuscharris- for some reason I'm not able to purchase the plicatilis on that site, not sure if it's a gliche or if they're just out of that particular plant!!!

Cool I was searching google and there are some variagated forms of the aloe trees!! Very cool.. many succulents, so little time (and money!)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 7:53PM
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What's the succulent, in the background, photo 2? Thanks, Toni

Cistanthe (formerly Calandrinia) grandiflora.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cistanthe grandiflora

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 7:57PM
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rredbbeard(SE CT USA/zone 6)

I was oogling (is that really a word?) aloes on line, and stumbled upon a.thraskii, which I was ready to order until reading that it grows to 12'. The flowers are spectacular, but I'll just have to admire it from afar. The nursery where I found it is I haven't ordered here yet, but they seem to have a good rep.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 8:24AM
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Wow red... yeah I'm a little wary about some of thes aloes becoming THAT big. Like for instance, the Dichotoma "quiver tree" which I like has places online saying between 15-30 feet tall.

If you were to keep cutting of limbs from the top I suppose you could control it?

Also I was worried about planting Tree Aloes near foundations or curbs.

Are they invasive with roots? Can they push up sidewalks or get into sewer lines?

My guess would be not as much since theyre succulents, but I've heard some like the pony tail palm can have a large tap root which could damage things???

If you were to trim off branches or chop the top off the trunk would this curb the amount of roots/ invasiveness?


    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 2:43PM
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rredbbeard(SE CT USA/zone 6)

I don't know. I've been gardening almost my entire life, but succulents are still relatively new to me. How about bonsaiing this species? It might make this manageable. Let us know whether this works or not.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 3:06PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

A. plicatilis bargain alert--I picked up four 5 gal. fan aloes at Lowes (South Orange County, CA) this week, for $17 each. Other seekers in SoCal may want to check to see if they are available in their area; the plants were found at two of our Lowes, but I don't know how widespread the stock got scattered. The photo was taken after dark and isn't great, but I wanted to show that they are nicely branched.

I love how these look even when they are not in bloom, and bought my first one from Lowes three years ago for roughly the same price. It has taken several years to find them offered again for such a bargain amount, but I kept checking and my patience was finally rewarded.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 12:57AM
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hey thanks for the update! Unfortunately I'm out of town, but will try to hit up th store when I return! Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 12:38AM
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There used to be on the internet a photo of an Aloe plicatilis that was a tree..huge trunk and I guess at least 15' tall. The owner could walk under it. It was in South Africa and was not a wild plant. Grew in the part of a nursery that was the owners garden as I recall. Now,I don't know if it was collected originally in the wild. I would think it was home grown.
And I should add it wasn't grown in a "dry" garden. It was in a green,fairly lush setting. Even a lawn. They like water.

This post was edited by stanofh on Sat, Jun 28, 14 at 19:16

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 7:13PM
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