Aloes and agaves

Departments - Culture

A how-to production guide

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March 1, 2010

 

Aloes and agaves

Rancho Tissue Technologies has introduced two new aloe hybrids, ‘Christmas Carol’ and ‘Sunset’ and two agaves, Agave hybrid ‘Blue Emperor’ and Agave parrasana ‘Globe’. Each was carefully selected for its unique characteristics and striking colors. Like all Rancho Tissue varieties, these four are produced from tissue culture for consistency and uniformity. All four are water-wise plants.
 
The small ‘Christmas Carol’ is one of the most spectacular aloes for color. Its deep green leaves with dark red center spots are trimmed in bright red edges. It reaches 6 inches tall and 5 inches wide and and is best for 4- to 6-inch pots for indoor and outdoor use. It is hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11.
 
‘Sunset’ aloe has bright red leaf margins offset by deep green foliage. Plants grow to about 1 foot tall and 10 inches wide. It does best in 4- to 8-inch pots and can be used both indoors and out. It is hardy to Zones 8-10.
 
‘Blue Emperor’ agave features spectacular blue foliage with black tips. It grows to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. This heat loving plant thrives in full sun. It is hardy to Zones 8-11.
 
The clumping rosette Agave parrasana ‘Globe’ displays strikingly shaped blue foliage. It grows to about 2 feet tall and 1½ feet wide. It can be used as either a container (1- to 5-gallon) plant or transplanted into the landscape. It is hardy to Zones 8-10.
 
These tissue-cultured aloes and agaves are available in 72-cell trays. Plant one liner per pot filled with a well-drained growing medium with a pH of 5.5-6.0 and an electrical conductivity of 0.4-0.6. Do not over water the plants. Allow the growing medium to completely dry out between irrigations.
 
Plants should be produced under high light levels from 2,000 footcandles when starting production to 8,000 footcandles or full sun at finish. Maintain a day temperature of 65°F-80°F days and 62°F-65°F nights.
 
Both the aloes and agaves require very little fertilization. Maintain moderate fertility levels. Use less than 50 percent of regular dosage or application. Regular soil samples are recommended to avoid high soluble salts. No pinching or growth regulators are needed.
 
Insect pests and diseases won’t be a problem if standard sanitation practices are followed. Drench with a broad- spectrum fungicide at liner planting as a preventive treatment.
 
Planting one 72-cell liner into a 4-inch pot finishes in five months. Moving a 4-inch pot up into a 1-gallon container takes five months to finish. 
 
For more: Rancho Tissue Technologies, (858) 756-6785;
www.ranchotissue.com