Thursday, October 14, 2010

Plant of the week: Aloe 'Johnson's Hybrid'

Being a grass-o-phile I am always on the look out for lance linear foliage.  And in recent years I have tried to branch out (pun intended) to non-grass,  non-sedge plants that bloom to give a different effect in the garden.  Bulbine has a lot of the characteristics I like; it's succulent, tough, nearly everblooming with orange or yellow flowers.   But overall I find the texture a little bit messy.  So the search contiuned.

Then I found Aloe 'Grassy Lassie' and Aloe 'Johnson's Hybrid'.  These two Aloes are small and clumping and don't scream succulent.  I had high hopes for A. 'Grassy Lassie' since it had a little coarser and darker foliage and was thinking that A. 'Johnson's Hybrid' would be a cool filler plant. I planted them out in 4" size in the dry portion of "Whiskey Creek" to watch them perform. It's been about five months now since I originally planted them so I've had some time to evaluate them.  In all these months the A.'Grassy Lassie' has not bloomed nor has it bulked up.  Meanwhile A. 'Johnson's Hybrid' has bulked up a lot,  perhaps 3-4 times the size of when it was planted.  This little doer has not stopped blooming, it has had at least one bloom spike the whole time, and now that they have bulked up there are 4-6 spikes per clump. Aloe 'Johnson's Hybrid' has foliage to about 10" tall and with flower spikes to about 18".

I did notice the other day that a couple of the A. 'Grassy Lassie' clumps were forming some spikes. So, it will be interesting to see how they will perform as we head into the cooler months.  But it will also be interesting to see how the A. 'Johnson's Hybrid'  does as well.

Of course as is the case with all the Aloes, the hummingbirds are always around.

I would love to hear from anyone else who has had a different experience.  My soil is silty sandy by the way.

Aloe 'Johnson's Hybrid'


  1. Any update? Is Johnson still outperforming Grassy?

  2. Yes indeed. In full bloom at the mo.

  3. I use both here in the SF Bay Area, but have found Grassy Lassie a bit too sensitive to winter wet and cool temps for really successful in-ground planting. Johnson's Hybrid is a much more prolific blooming plant, but can tend to peter out after 2/3 years without being divided and replanted; they will often tend to just suddenly weaken and decline after several years.
    David in Berkeley