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A theory on aloe polyphylla ID--comments? spiral

Posted by rredbbeard SE CT USA/zone 6 (rredbbeard@yahoo.com) on
Wed, Feb 12, 14 at 10:45

Having found that the seeds I planted last year weren't a.p. as advertised, I started examining the features of young (<2year) plants, to see what features would qualify (or more importantly, exclude) seedlings as the real thing. Pics of my faux a.p. seedlings are in a previous post here. Besides the fact that a.p. doesn't make offsets, my theory is that spiral aloe leaves from a very early age are very "off center" if you look at the leaf from the tip, straight down to the center of the leaf base. If this is true, then it should also indicate whether the seedling is a "leftie or a righty". All of my observations are based on photographs, not first hand.

Comments?

--Rick in CT


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: A theory on aloe polyphylla ID--comments? spiral

Rick,

I'd think you're on to something there. If you search the archives, you'll be able to see both side-by-side in flower. Brad (paracelsus)'s missed here.

And it's true technically that it doesn't offset, but really, if you core/heal any Aloe, IME, or if the meristem / growing point is damaged then healed, you'll often get pups.


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RE: A theory on aloe polyphylla ID--comments? spiral

I read somewhere online recently that a.p. doesn't have the same arrangement of meristem as other aloes, which apparently is why a genuine plant will never offset. If this is true, then an a.p. with a lost/damaged growing point is a goner, I would think?

--Rr

(McH--did we do a swap a very long time ago? :-/ )


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RE: A theory on aloe polyphylla ID--comments? spiral

I read somewhere online recently that a.p. doesn't have the same arrangement of meristem as other aloes, which apparently is why a genuine plant will never offset. If this is true, then an a.p. with a lost/damaged growing point is a goner, I would think?

--Rr

(McH--did we do a swap a very long time ago? :-/ )


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RE: A theory on aloe polyphylla ID--comments? spiral

No, not true IME.


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RE: A theory on aloe polyphylla ID--comments? spiral

in my estimation?

international mountain equipment?

I wish I could grow one long enough to find out. I finally killed it. After 4 years of repotting and repositioning, my A.p. finally gave up, never more than 6" across. From what I understand, it's almost impossible to grow them properly in S. Cal. Apparently, they do very well outdoors in N.Cal because of the cold. I know you all know they live high in the mountains and near streams. I guess this is one situation where all you cold-weather folks have the advantage.


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RE: A theory on aloe polyphylla ID--comments? spiral

An update:
Having spoken to a couple of professional growers with extensive experience in aloe culture, I showed them pictures of my plants and was told that mine are indeed a.p., in spite of one plant showing an offset. Phew! In addition I believe it is possible to tell whether a young plant is a lefty or righty, as follows. (I'm told that if you hold your left hand over the center of the plant with thumb pointing straight down, cup your fingers a little, and if the spiral pattern matches the arc formed by your fingers, the plant is a leftie. A right hand spiral is defined by the same technique with the right hand and fingers.)

Having defined that, if you look closely at the structure of a leaf on a mature plant, you should see that one edge of the leaf is a simple, sharp "V" shape, while the other edge of the leaf is a sort of flattened/"blunt" angle. A cross section of the leaf would show that the leaf has an outline defined by 4 angles, resembling a single-edged blade. If you are looking at a leaf on the nearest side of the plant, a "sharp" angle on the left edge of the leaf would indicate a right handed plant, as defined above, and vice versa. I think this differential can be observed on plants as small as 4" (~10cm) diameter.

Anyway, this is a minor detail, but I enjoyed figuring it out, assuming I got it right. If my observations are wrong, let me know!

I attached an article on a.p. culture that was very interesting--great pictures too!

Thanks,

--Rick in CT

Here is a link that might be useful: aloe polyphylla culture and pictures.


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RE: A theory on aloe polyphylla ID--comments? spiral

rredbbeard,
Thank you for clearing this up for me also. I started from seed in Dec. 13 and have about 5 out of 20. A letter that came with it said it takes 8 months to germinate. Well mine took about a week and didn't see any more after that. It is in the 3 leaf stage. Leaves growing opposite.
Stush


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RE: A theory on aloe polyphylla ID--comments? spiral

Did the article attached to my post yesterday help? The author had 83% germination within 61 days by floating the seeds on water. I just got some more seeds, which I floated on 2/20/2014, so now I wait!

My plants that were started in Dec. 2012 now range from 4-8" wide, which probably says more about inconsistent care than anything else. These spent their first 14 months in 4" plastic pots with MG african violet mix, and nothing else, and one professional found it amazing that one of the plants could grow to 8" in that length of time.

Attached is a picture from 2 days ago, just before repotting into terra cotta pots with properly draining mix (65:35 MG cactus mix:scoria).

Good luck!

--Rick


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RE: A theory on aloe polyphylla ID--comments? spiral

Rick,
Do you water them a lot. By which I mean, keeping the soil wet. Not laying in water but wet?


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RE: A theory on aloe polyphylla ID--comments? spiral

hanzboro- IME= in my experience

thanks for the pics rick, I'd love one of those, but I don't think they grow well in dry southern california


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RE: A theory on aloe polyphylla ID--comments? spiral

It must be ok for the younger plants to be wetter, since mine survived it for 14 months. I'm pretty sure there must have been some very dry periods too.

Now the plants are in 4" terra cotta pots with better-draining potting material, and the largest seedling is in a 6" pot. The critical factor is temperature, especially the temperature and air circulation within the pot, which should never go above 85*F. If it's not too hot out, I've read that the pots can be placed in the ground to stabilize the pot environment. If I were growing these in SoCal, during the summer heat I might keep them in the basement under lights, and I wonder if placing an ice cube or two in the pot every day as a part of regular watering would be a good idea?

Here's one of the first articles that I came across, which has some practical cultural guidelines. Click on the link at the bottom of the article for more information.

Let us all know how you do!

--Rick in CT

Here is a link that might be useful: Aloe polyphylla cultural notes


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RE: A theory on aloe polyphylla ID--comments? spiral

Rick,
That was helpful. Too bad I'm over with planting the seeds. As stated, 5 out of 20 seeds and waiting. I used soaking the seeds 24 hours befor planting them with Root-Tone mixed with the water.


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RE: A theory on aloe polyphylla ID--comments? spiral

Those seedlings certainly look happy! That looks like decent growth for 10 weeks, and hopefully you'll get a few more coming through.

My own seeds have been soaking ~12 days, and I'll probably wash them in diluted H2O2, and plant most of them in MG seedling medium. They seem to be fattening up, but I'm a little concerned that fungus may get a foot hold if they soak too long. This is the right time to be start these in the northern hemisphere.

I find that I'm buying more from south african sellers, and much less from domestic seed catalogs. Not to be snobbish, but the regular selections don't seem nearly as interesting.

--Rr


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