Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’
I brought my Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’ home from Lowe’s in 2012. There were three plants in a tiny pot, but it didn’t take long for it to turn into a beautiful plant. Exactly who hybridized the Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’ is unknown. Some information suggests it could be an Ed Hummel hybrid and possibly a cross involving A. humilis (which is a very interesting species for sure!). A. humilis is a native of the Cape Provinces in South Africa and I would love to have one as a companion.
I was attracted to this neat little Aloe hybrid right from the start! Its leaves seemed to be reaching out to me, so I had to bring it home.
The label said: “Excellent color accent for rock gardens or the landscape. Hummingbirds love the tubular orange flowers that appear on tall spikes during the spring and summer. Requires ports soil with excellent drainage. Bright, filtered light with ample airflow. Water thoroughly when the soil is dry to the touch. Protect from frost.”
The Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’ seemed cramped in the small pot so I put it in a bigger one. It wasted no time growing. It was already 6 1/4″ tall x 10″ wide when the above photo was taken 3 months after I brought it home.
I was surprised to see it was already producing flowers at such a young age.
The leaves are long and narrow and have a bluish tint. It is reported to be one of the easiest of the Aloe to grow. They form a nice 18″ tall by 24″ wide clump in time and have been used in mass plantings and as a succulent ground cover. Of course, here it is probably best to keep them in pots. They like full sun OK, but can even be grown in full shade. It will grow more prostate and will not flower in full shade, though. It produces small tubular orange flowers during the summer here, but they can send up a spike just about any time they feel like it.
Zones: USDA zones 9-11
Size: 18” tall x 24” wide
Light: Sun to part shade.
Soil: Well draining potting mixture. 50% quality potting soil with 50% pumice is great. I used 2 parts of Miracle Grow Potting Soil with 1 part additional perlite and 1 part chicken grit for many years. Now I am using Miracle Grow and pumice.
Water: Normal watering during the growing period in the spring and autumn months and sparingly during the winter.
Flowers: They can flower at any time of the year, but mainly January-April.
Although the plant was inside for the winter, one warm sunny day in April I put it on the railing on the back porch for a photoshoot.
Information says the Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’ does well in full sun and even deep shade making it a very versatile plant for sure. The plants grown in full sun will experience burning of the leaf tips so I always grow mine in at least light shade sometimes a bit more. Plants grown in more shade may not flower, grow more prostrate and have greener leaves.
As with all Aloe, they need well-draining soil. When grown in pots, they need a potting soil that absorbs and drains quickly. Even though they are drought tolerant and require little water if grown in the ground, pot-growing is somewhat different. Aloe are summer dormant which means most of their growth occurs from early spring through early summer and again in late summer through fall.
Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’ has blue-green leaves that seem to have a reddish hue during the summer. Leaf tips can also take on a reddish tint in the heat.
Although they are cold hardy down to 20-25 degrees F, they should not be allowed to be frostbit. Frost will scar their leaves.
Information says that Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’ is a vigorous clumping Aloe. Mine only produced one offset and it didn’t grow very fast.
Aloe normally have few problems but occasionally a cricket will have a nibble on their leaves. One time I noticed that some of my succulents had been chewed on quite a bit. I hadn’t noticed grasshoppers being a problem during the day so I went out to where the plants were with a flashlight one night. To my amazement, there were a lot of crickets on my plants. They were indeed the culprit.
Many Aloe collectors grow their plants in full sun but I prefer morning sun and light shade the rest of the day. In Mississippi, they received a good amount of sun until about noon then they were shaded by the huge magnolia tree and the mansion the rest of the day. Here is much different. They get a little morning sun and the rest of the day they have light shade from being under an old Chinese Elm. As summer progresses and the beetles chew on the leaves of the tree, more light shines through. It works out pretty well even though I don’t care for the beetles (or the Elm tree for that matter.
Inside for the winter once again. I put most of my succulents on a table in the front bedroom. It was a west exposure so they received a good amount of afternoon sun and the room would sometimes get quite warm. That is not really a good combination for some succulents as they should be slowing down. It caused many succulents leaves to stretch.
I am almost running out of words to say…
The Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’ is doing very well and getting a bit sprawly. The offset is doing well and slowly growing still.
Unfortunately, I gave up my Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’ as well as most of my plants shortly after the above photo was taken. Someday I will get another Aloe x ‘Blue Elf.’