Growing Aloe Pluridens

 A few years back I bought some small Aloe pluridens (aka French Aloe) via mail order from Mountain Crest Gardens. For a time they lived in a corner of the backyard in smallish containers. As work on the hillside garden started I migrated a few from pots to their new in-ground homes. Aloe pluridens is supposed to grow into a small tree form but I suspect that is still several years away.

a young Aloe pluridens growing in the ground
Aloe pluridens at Sunrise - September, 2019


I've planted several of these along the hill but I thought it would be interesting to track the growth of the same plant over time.


Young Aloe pluridens in one gallon pots
Young Aloe pluridens before planting c. 2018

I think it took the better part of a year for these plants to grow from their original 2" pot size to what's pictured above. The plant above and on the right with finer teeth is definitely A. pluridens; the one on the left was sold to me as A. pluridens but the teeth seem fewer and the leaves thicker. Since 'pluridens' translates to 'many teeth' I have to wonder if the plant on the left isn't really A. arborescens or a hybrid (?)


a young Aloe pluridens growing in hillside garden
The same Aloe pluridens, February, 2020

In the shot above I'm guessing the plant is roughly 2 - 3 yrs old based on how long I've had it and how big it was when it arrived in the mail.


a young Aloe pluridens in flower for the first time
January, 2021 - blooming for the first time


Despite the dry weather and a minor ant/aphid attack this plant still managed to bloom for the first time. A single bloom seems typical for young Aloes with only one crown. Next year maybe we'll see more.


Aloe pluridens flower



Aloe pluridens flower close up

Aloe pluridens flower closeup
 

I'll post updates every so often showing how much this plant has grown. Fingers crossed it survives. There seems to be a lot of ants in the area that farm aphids. A neighboring Aloe vaombe was just about destroyed this summer.

The aphids seek out the soft, new leaf growth at the center of a rosette as shown below.
 

Aloe pluridens - old damage from aphids
Old damage from aphids that's grown out from center.
 

Although it does have a graceful form, I'm not sure I'd categorize A. pluridens as a specimen plant mainly because there's nothing terribly spectacular about it's form, leaf shape or bloom as compared to other large Aloes. Overall I do like the plant and think it could work well in the background of any Mediterranean garden. Because of it's eventual larger size it can also help define space in the garden which is how I'm using a handful of these plants along the uphill portion of a path. Since they are planted at an elevation 2' - 4' above the path I'm expecting them to create a sense of enclosure once they grow tall enough. When will that happen? I'm guessing after another 3 - 4 yrs of growth.

Happy Gardening!

Comments

  1. Good shot of the open flowers, 2nd from last. It's a graceful tree aloe--and when it is 10' tall you can surprise visitors by telling them you got it in a 2" pot.

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    1. thanks! It was an overcast day so I guess the highlights were not as blown out as the other flower pics.

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  2. You have me wondering whether one Aloe I was given as a small unnamed cutting may be Aloe pluridens. My previous guess was a hybrid of Aloe arborescens.

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    1. I find it oddly disturbing that I might be using the wrong name as I talk about an Aloe to someone - like I'm a fraudster :)

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  3. I've got a young pluridens too, so I really appreciate seeing how yours has developed. Ants and aphis are a big problem for me too that seems to respond to the insecticidal soaps for local infestations -- and we finally broke down and called in someone to spray for the ants, because they overwhelmed us indoors every summer. What a difference it's made outdoors too, because I've lost a lot of aloes to ants/aphis. The treatment target the ants nests and the remaining insect life is flourishing. The technician seems very knowledgeable and we chat about beneficial insects like wasps -- so that's a huge relief.

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    1. Thanks for the tip - I hadn't considered hiring a professional. Somehow it just felt like something we had to live with and occasionally fight a loosing battle for territory. I'm glad you found the photo's useful - sometimes when I buy a plant I wonder how long it will take to grow and how much space it will *really* take... which is why I try to do a "then and now" post every so often. My Aloe pluridens is still a toddler - but now that roots have been established I expect the next 12 months to show significant growth. knock on wood.

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