Posted by: David | February 8, 2008

Flowering Aloe Vera

Not sure where this falls in the fetish listing of flower porn, but maybe my more imaginative commentators will have suggestions. You just have to see this sight. It’s a pretty big aloe vera plant that is flowering. According the person who tends most of the plants in the library where I work, this plant seems to flower every several months. Maybe the last time it happened I was not so in the throes of this nasty little photo-addictive habit of mine …

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It’s in a tall 12-inch pot.

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The central blossom cluster.

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The color is exaggerated.

I’ll keep my eye (and my camera) on this little hottie for the next few weeks! Maybe I’ll even give it a little water. Get it drunk, then ask it out on a date. Maybe I should wait and see how the flowers look when they open up.

As a commenter has inquired about this plant, here is a photo (not too good, sorry) of the flowering process on March 3, almost a month later:

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Some of the lower flowers have dried up and fallen off.


Responses

  1. If I tilt my head a little to the left, and squint one eye, this qualifies as flower porn. I can’t explain the positioning exactly, but those flowers are definitely having an orgasm.

  2. The aloe in your header was the money shot. That thing has an erection.

  3. Yeah, I think someone’s been slipping that plant some Enzyte!

  4. I would DEFINITELY wait and see what the flowers look like when they open up, ’cause you know, if they’re some of those wide-mouthed gaping ones, do you really wanna get in on that???? (woah….I’m on too much medication today to have a social filter…oh wait, I never have one.. ;-) )

    PS: “central blossom cluster?”…you need to stop talking so dirty on your blog. Highly inappropriate.

  5. Ahem, Romi.

    One of the little florets has actually opened and I will try to get a photo of it tomorrow. No work today because of big snow and ice storm.

  6. How do you do that? I´m a proud owner of many aloe vera plants, but no one is flowering.

    I’m not the caretaker of this plant. It’s an old plant, in a very sunny location with full southwestern sky exposure. The caretaker says this plant flowers a 2 or 3 times a year! The flowers are dying back now. Time for a photo update. Coming soon. I’ve grown aloe vera for many years to (in whatever zone New Hampshire is now) and never seen flowering. Root division sure, but not flowers.

  7. my aloe plant is flowering like yours. do you have any updated pictures i can compare mine to? i also have some interesting news to tell you about them flowering if you are interested. thanks!!! mellissa

    Thanks for your comment mellissa. The aloe flowers are starting to die back and did take a couple of pictures last week. I will post them soon. Please do share this “interesting news” about the aloe flowers, I am very interested.

  8. Hi I found an aloe vera plant in the trash. A couple of its stems were turning yellow/dried out. I recuperated it, watered it, and the stems perked back up… a couple of days later, the earth was dry as if I had never watered it and another stem turned yellow. Can it recuperate or is it a done deal? If I can, what do I need to do? Grateful for any pointers.
    Thanks.

    If any plant can bounce back from abuse, it’s aloe and all its succulent relatives. Keep watering it, but don’t overdo it. It’s OK if it dries out for a day or two.

    • Get a misting pump-spray bottle (6 oz size) & set the tip to extra fine fog. (almost smoke), and mix good pure bottled water, (I use “Deer Park”), & a tablespoon of Sprite or 7Up. shake it good, and then spray the leaves, all the way to the tips, but don’t give it any water for a day or two. This way, the plant will pull the sugar into itself. compare the lusture of the leaf’s before & after looks. When you have misted for a couple of days, just once per day, then give it a good shot of “top water”. Take your finger and gently push it into the soil, all the way down, if you can, but don’t hurt the roots. You’re mixing the dirt with the water. Without “working the soil” just watering it, isn’t enough! Only “top-water” it once, to condition the soil. then, put a tray, that’s 1/3 as deep as the main pot that the aloe is planted in. This main pot needs a large hole, in the bottom of it. Put some 1/4″ pea-gravel in the lower chanber, but only enough to scantily cover the bottom. You’re using it as a spacer, to hold the main pot off the bottom of the lower pan. You want some fairly large rocks, right on the bottom of the main pot, just big enough to keep the dirt from to going thru the hole, or holes, in the main pot, but don’t block the holes! Put your mixture of sand, (like coarse play sand, and a good potting soil, like mirical gro) mixed up real well. It has vermiculite in it. so it will be puffy. Put your plant in the middle of the pot and push 5 or 6 plastic stobs ( 3′ long ) into the dirt, around the edge of the pot, all the way to the bottom. As the plant grows taller, green nylon tape can be wrapped around these stobs, all the way around the perimeter, to give support to the plant. Always bottom-water the plant, after the initial top-watering when the soil is worked. This way, the Aloe won’t get lazy and not put down roots. You’ll want to use a clear BOTTOM pot, so you can always SEE the level of water. the plant will “smell” water and will send it’s roots TO THE WATER, which is below it. (something that people don’t realize, is that aloe will “Walk” to water, or die trying! If aloe runs out of water and smells water somewhere close by, it will pull itself out of the pot and inch it’s way to the water & will actually lay it’s root systen close enough to pull the right amount of water it needs. It can’t stand STANDING WATER! it’ll drown! At night, a couple of times per week, go by and MIST THE LEAVES, with your sprayer. This has been the way I have raised Aloe Vera, since I was taught at a young age of about 10! I’m going on 59 now! I’m thinking of, one day, doing a video and sticking it on the tube. (youtube) Too much going on now! “General” Lee 6.17.2011~~~

      Thanks for leaving this detailed comment Gen Lee. Sounds like you have a lot of experience with the aloe. The plant pictured in this post has not flowered this year and needs a re-potting. I wonder if you have any recommendations on that process. It’s a large plant, with a very long stalk growing horizontally for over a foot before the living leaves. You can almost see this from the pictures at the top of this post, which were taken 3 years ago.

  9. hey does anyone know if the aloe plant that blooms is a male or female plant. I have several plants , but only 3 of them have bloomed. Do they bloom all year long or just certain times of the year.

    Hi Geri, thanks for your comment. I would like to know that too. Another commenter had said that the aloe cannot self-pollinate. This plant at work that I follow has bloomed 3 times in the past year, and one time I gathered some seeds from pods that were hacked off the plant before fully ripened. However, I think they may have germinated, but I forgot about them and they rotted. I have more seeds to try out though.

  10. I have a BIG plant (about 10 times the size of this one) and it, too, has bloomed but not more than once a year. I’ve been told that it has to be an OLD plant to bloom. Any thoughts on this?

    I know that this plant is old but I’m not sure how old. I will have to consult with the plant’s primary caregiver again to see if she has any idea how old it might be. I’ll be keeping my eye on this aloe for sure.

  11. my aloe is just flowering. someone said that whilst flowering do not water. Is this true?

    I wish I knew the answer. It seems that most aloes can tolerate dry spells anyway. Maybe you should email one of the other commenters on this post who actually know something about aloe plants. I just like to photograph this one lovely specimen when it flowers.

  12. ive got one in flower at the mo, when i get a chance i will send you a photo.

    Please do! I would love to see that. Thanks for your comment.

  13. My two year old and I are gardening novices. We live in Florida and had heard that it needs very little water so we hardly ever watered it. It looked terrible. I put it on the side of the house to die. Then the summer rains came and for a month solid, it rained every day. Now the plant is flowering beautiful and its flower stalk is taller than my child.

    Thank you for commenting Laura. Your aloe story is not uncommon. They’re really hard to kill with neglect. We have lots of small ones in our cellar windows and they need very little attention. The large plant pictured in this post has not flowered for a couple of years now. It really needs to be re-potted. One year it flowered and made seed pods. I saved some seeds, but they did not germinate. Another commenter here told me that they need to cross-pollinate with other plants in order to have viable seeds.

  14. I have this aloe but I do not know the variety…do you by chance have the scientific name?

    Hi Michelle. I’m sorry but I don’t. However, we have a new professor at the college who is a botanist. I’ll ask him if there is a way to know this. The aloe hasn’t flowered since late last summer.

    • I am in zone 8b…have this guy outside. Had him for 3 years and he has shot of at least 10-15 babies. It has bloomed twice a year ever year that I have had him! It gives such a spectacular show! Wish I could post a photo of mine on here! I am pretty sure this is the same type I have?

      Thanks so much for sending these photos Michelle. I goosed up their color saturation, cause that’s what I do. This surely must be the same species of aloe. Does yours produce viable seeds? The one in our library has just started to bloom again. I’ll put a photo in my next blog post.

      • They do produce small seeds as the flowers turn down and open. I have never collected and tried to germinate though.

        Our plant’s flowers produce a sticky sap that drips down onto the aloe leaves and the table on which it lives. See this post from 2008 with some photos of the seed pods. Twice in the past five years I’ve collected seeds, but they don’t germinate. No pollination with another plant?

        • No pollination as far as I know. I received this plant as a gift, so I don’t know much about it’s heritage. Mine may produce sap that I have never noticed. It gets the sprinkler almost everyday when it is blooming, so it most likely gets washed away. I’ll have to pay more attention on the next bloom!

          The plant in our library was a gift too, as I may have already mentioned. A gift from someone returning from a trip to the southwestern USA.

  15. I have an aloe that i just discovered has a big stem in the middle and a bud. I don’t know what the flower will look like yet, but I am excited.

    Cool! If you send me a photo or two I will post them here. Enjoy the flowers in any case!

  16. I haven’t read anywhere what to do with the tall aloe stem. Is it supposed to just stay there or does it get trimmed off? My blooms are on the way out, so would like to know what to do now.

    The flowering stalk will probably die off on its own, but cutting it off is not likely to hurt the aloe. Over the years this plant has had its flower stalk removed many times and the plant still thrives. Thank you for your comment JoAnne!


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