Friday, 11 November 2011

Attempting an aloe hybrid

While we're on the subject of seeds, nothing shows the depth of my obsession more; I just can't help myself.  Every year I try a few seeds I have purchased and also try to create a few hybrids of my own.  Normally the hybrids are echeveria as they grow so quickly. This year I thought I would also try an aloe or two.

I wanted to try something I could not find else where; maybe more cold tolerance, or a darker colour.  This time I thought I would go with colour.  I've had this group of aloe midnight child for a while, it is a cute little plant with very dark, at times almost black leaves. The colour is amazing, but the leaves lack a little bite; they are slim and smooth with limited teeth.

This year I managed to pick up this little aloe donnie. The plant has a much nicer shape and good texture to the leaves, a trade mark of KG hybrids.  Both would enhance the aloe midnight child. 

In the US KG plants are protected by plant patents so can not be used for commercial propagation unless under license. The patent is not binding in the UK although the importers have to have a licence and my plant came from a licensed supplier. As this experiment is purely for my personal collection there wouldn't be a problem even is I was in the US.

With the parents selected, I had a couple of other aloes in flower at the same time and I cut those stems off to ensure there was no random pollination. Then using a tiny paintbrush transferred pollen from the a. donnie to the a. midnight child. 

After a week there are 4 seed pods forming and it shouldn't be too long until they open and I get to see if they contain any seed. Even if there is, there is no guarantee it is viable. So it will be a waiting game for germination and finally keeping my fingers crossed that I don't kill all the seedlings. All of this in the hope that one of the resulting plants will be something different.


  1. Love it...what an exciting proposition! So reminds me of my dad, who, when I was a kid, would walk around hand-pollinating Iris in our never knew what you'd get, but that was what made it so fun :-)

  2. Scott: thank you. I love the idea of all the hidden gems of hybrids that gardeners have produced for fun.