The great unplanted

Honestly this weekend I had intended to write about some of the changes I see coming with the Fall weather but as I was working in the yard I found myself mainly up-sizing pots and shuffling plants to sunny locations in the yard. My Sunday turned into a day of maintenance and wondering how I still have so many plants in plastic pots with no permanent home in sight. Maybe it's because I'm still relatively new to this whole plant obsession thing... maybe it's because my yard too small... maybe I'm a victim of my own good intentions or maybe I'm a bad, bad man. I'm not really sure. What I'm pretty sure about is many of you are in a similar situation ;) So I'm going to share my transgressions.

I'll start with what originally caught my attention on Sunday... some neglected looking A. valbalenii. Their sibling that's been living in the ground since the summer 2018 looks so much healthier.

Aloe vanbalenii in ground compared to same plant in a pot
Aloe vanbalenii the difference 15 months in the ground makes

Admittedly they seemed to be getting a little root bound.

A root-bound Aloe vanbalenii
Aloe vanbalenii root growth after 17 months

Aloe vanbalenii in 5 gal pots
Aloe vanbalenii in their new upsized pots

Aloe vanbalenii in 5 gal pots
Aloe vanbalenii in their new winter home
Next up - some plants I was very excited to buy this summer but had nowhere to stick in the ground... luckily they have been sitting in a corner with filtered light getting some occasional water.

Aloe alooides in 4" pot
Aloe alooides


As small as the Aloe speciosa looks below it has actually grown a noticeable amount these last several months.

Aloe speciosa in 4" pot
Aloe speciosa

My guilt finally prevailed and I transplanted them to larger homes - tho I'm still not sure where they'll eventually be planted.

The small Aloe pictured below was grown from seed a few years ago... it's been holding on in this little 2" pot for some time. The soil dries out in these pots very quickly. You might notice it was transplanted to a 4" pot in the shot above. More guilt assuaged!

The truth is I'm surrounded by great masses of the unplanted.

Aloe tangerine in 6" pots
Aloe "Tangerine"

This one goes unnoticed for months - maybe it's the camouflage. I'm not a huge fan. Being a Kalanchoe it absolutely hates the occasional 30 second hail storm we invariably get once or twice a year in the depths of Winter.

Kalanchoe "Copper Spoons" in 5 gal pot
Kalanchoe "Copper Spoons"

Tylecodon in 2 gal pot

This Tylecodon is an odd plant. I'm not at all sure I'm being a good care taker. I bought this guy for the garden club's Spring plant sale a few years ago... it didn't sell. Typically it looses all of it's leaves over the summer and then as the weather cools it rapidly grows them back again.  During the late Spring / Early Summer it puts up a flower stock - the remains of which is pictured below.

Tylecodon new growth close up

Aloe "Grassy Lassie" in a two gallon pot
Aloe "Grassy Lassie"

Below is one of several Institute for Aloe Studies purchases which are waiting for permanent homes.

Aloe mawii in a one gallon pot
Aloe mawii

Oversized, 1 gal Aloe vaombe for $10? I'll take 3! I still have not managed to find a home for the third one.

In the background is Beschorneria yuccoides which I picked up from a UC Berkeley Botanical Garden's plant sale probably three years ago. I do intend to plant him/ her in the front yard this winter.

Aloe vaombe and Beschorneria yuccoides in pots waiting to be planted

At some point I'll put a few of these Agave montana and Agave striata in the front yard on the hillside. First I need to continue building a rock retaining wall in order to create some plant-able space... but before that I need to buy another palette of rock, take time off work, wait for the rain to soften the ground, relocate a few more yds of native soil... ok - these guys will be in their current pots for awhile.

Several Agave montana and Agave striata in 1 gal pots

The Dudleya palmeri shown below was an impulse buy from Annie's Annuals - it's never made into the ground. I'd be happy to donate this plant as well. I need to start or join some kind of a plant swap club.

Dudleya palmeri in 2 gal pot
Dudleya palmeri

The Agave victoriae reginae pictured below are also left over plant sale items. I'll resurface them at a future plant sale once they are bigger and healthier.

Agave victoriae-reginae

The Aloe humilis pictured below was an online sale purchase. They've been largely forgotten for the last year since I moved them to larger pots... doesn't look like they've grown much.

Aloe humilis (Spider Aloe)

For some reason I love Aloe pluridens! I've even located three to the front yard where they look a much more verdant shade of green.

Several aloe pluridens in 1 gal pots
Aloe pluridens

On the other hand I'm not really a fan of the below Agave gypsophila and have neglected it accordingly - but it's a survivor.

Agave gypsophila
Agave gypsophila

I have several unplanted Aloe plicatilis (now Kumara plicatilis) around the yard - a few in 15gal pots. They suffer this time of year from aphids. I think there are ant colonies literally in the pots that tend to the aphids.

Aloe plicatilis in a one gallon pot
Aloe plicatilis

At this point I doubt I'll ever plant this beast. It's been 2+ years. It will probably be donated to a plant sale.
Large, overgrown Agave desmetiana in a 15 gallon pot
Large Agave desmetiana
But not to worry - I have plenty more grown from bulbils.

Agave desmetiana in 1 and 2 gal pots
Agave desmetiana

A young Agave valencia in a 5 gal pot
Agave valencia in foreground

Poor guy. It's been stuck in this pot for too long. All his buddies were planted in the ground long ago. When I look at this I feel like a bad man. I see it every morning when I drink my coffee but I don't do anything to help.

Agave vilmoriniana in 15 gal pot
Agave vilmoriniana

This Agave vilmoriniana "Stained Glass" was doing awesome in the ground out front but unfortunately due to some construction work last month she had to be removed. This has been sitting in my driveway every since.

Agave vilmoriniana Stained Glass in 15 gal pot
Agave vilmoriniana "Stained Glass"

The Aloe cameroni pictured below I bought in 4" pots for this past Spring's plant sale... nobody wanted them. I was really surprised. They've since doubled in size and seem very happy.

Aloe cameroni in 1 gal pots
Aloe cameronii
Aloe ferox in 5 gal pot
Agave ferox

Time to wrap this up. That's not all the plants but I think more than enough for this post. Leave a comment if you have your own story of plant gluttony.


  1. Looks like you should consider opening a nursery.

  2. Where did you get all those 'Tangerine' Aloes?! I'm guessing you grew them from seed too? You are definitely not alone with respect to your collecting obsession. At least you pot most of your plants up - I have a tendency to let mine languish as I try to think of a good place to put (or rather, cram) them. I've taken to leaving a lot of cuttings and divisions at our driveway entrance with signs encouraging neighbors to take whatever they'd like. It works sometimes, and at least alleviates my guilt.

    1. I did the same thing once... put a free sign out front on the street and gave away 30 or 40 plants. I think they were gone in 1/2 day. I'm hoping they found good homes!

  3. You are not alone in this. Far from it.


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