Aloe x ‘Doran Black’
The genus, Aloe L., was named and described as such by Carl Linnaeus in the first edition of the first volume of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 578 species in the genus (as of 1-2-21 when I am writing this page). Aloe is a member of the plant family Asphodelaceae with 40 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.
Aloe x ‘Doran Black’ was hybridized by Dick Wright and named for the late nurseryman Doran Black. One website said it is a complex hybrid involving Aloe albiflora, A. bakeri, A. descoingsii, and A. juvenna but most say the parentage is unknown. That is more likely true…
THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AND GROWING RECOMMENDATIONS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING.
I received this Aloe x ‘Doran Black’ from Succulent Market after Nico Britsch said he would send me plants if I mentioned his site on my blog. Who could resist an offer like that. I selected five plants and they came in great condition and were good-sized plants in 4″ pots. They arrived on 8-27-20 but I didn’t get a post ready until October 6. I normally measure my cactus and succulents when I first bring them home and again when I move them inside for the winter. On October 6, the nice cluster of Aloe x Doran Black’ measured 2 1/2″ tall x 5 1/2″ wide. It reminds me of the unlabeled plant I brought home a few years ago I eventually wound up calling Aloe x ‘Wunderkind’. There are many hybrid miniature aloes available that look very similar.
To read my post about Succulent Market click HERE.
There is barely anything about the Aloe x ‘Doran Black’ on the internet except for online shops selling it. Mature sizes and hardiness zones vary almost from site to site. Some say 12-20” tall but that is ridiculous. This is a miniature hybrid and likely will only reach 4-6” tall. I think 6″ is stretching it a bit but time will tell…
The Aloe x ‘Doran Black’ sent up a flower spike a few weeks before I brought the plants inside for the winter on October 15 (2020).
Zones: USDA zones 10-11 (30 to 40° F/-1.1 to 4.5° C)
Size: 4-6″ or thereabouts. Not sure yet…
*Light: Light to part shade.
***Water: Appreciates normal watering during their active growing period in the spring and early summer then again in autumn. Water sparingly during the winter months. They are summer dormant but still grow somewhat.
**Soil: Needs fast-draining soil. I used to amend my potting soil with additional grit and perlite but started using 50/50 potting soil and pumice
Aloe and their cousins are some of my favorite plants. They are very easy to keep as companions as long as you follow a few basic rules. Even so, there have been a few I have had ups and downs with but eventually, we get it figured out, or at least we agree to disagree. Normally, it has something to do with water. You can’t lump all succulents in the same category when it comes to care because many are very unique in their preferences…
Aloe and their cousins are considered a summer dormant/winter growing species but for me, they seem to grow pretty much year-round. I read where Aloe hybrids don’t go dormant and whether the species are summer or winter dormant depends on where they are native. Personally, I think most Aloe will grow year-round if given the opportunity but I am no expert. For me, I think they do most of their growing while outside from May through mid-October, but most show no sign of being dormant while inside for the winter. Their growth does slow down while inside over the winter and I pretty much withhold their watering to a little once a month if necessary. I am keeping the Aloe x ‘Doran Black’ on the shelf in the cool bedroom over the winter and then it will go on the front porch for the summer.
*Light: Many websites say Aloe “prefer” full sun but I keep mine on a west-facing front porch during the summer. There is a roof and two maple trees in the front yard that provide light shade for part of the day, but they still receive a few hours of direct sun. The reason I keep them on the front porch instead of the back deck where the cactus are is because I don’t like their leaves to burn. Some species need bright light so their leaves won’t stretch, but not so much that their leaves burn. Of course, it all depends on your climate and you will just have to experiment. If you are keeping your Aloe inside for the winter and want them in the sun during the summer, you will have to allow them to get accustomed to brighter light gradually… From mid-October through April, sometimes into May, most of the succulents are sitting on shelves in a cool bedroom in front of a south-facing window, but some are on shelves in my bedroom in front of a west-facing window.
**Soil: As with any cactus and succulent, they need fast-draining soil. Some Aloe grow a massive root system and aren’t that particular bout their potting soil. There are MANY recipes online for cactus and succulent potting soil and some can get pretty elaborate. Since 2018, I have been using 50% Miracle Grow Potting soil and 50% pumice that I ordered from General Pumice online. For many years I used 2 parts Miracle Grow or Schultz Potting Soil with 1 part additional perlite and 1 part chicken grit. If you are going to use sand in your mix, use a very coarse builders sand as the fine stuff fills in the air space between coarser ingredients. The idea is to have a lightweight potting mix that drains quickly and will dry out within a few days. As far as re-potting goes… If your plants are outgrowing their pots, you can re-pot any time. I usually re-pot my cactus in the fall and winter because peat-based mixes get hard when you stop watering. That way, their potting soil is nice and airy over the winter. Depending on their root system, increasing the diameter of the pot by 1/2-1” is enough once you remove the old soil from their roots. But, that depends on your plant… Not adding too much depth is more important because you don’t want damp soil below their roots because that can lead to rotting…
***Water: I water my succulents on a regular basis during the summer but there are many times I get busy and they get neglected. Being on the front porch with a roof, they don’t get that much rain unless it blows on them. I usually give them a good soaking a few days before an “F” is in the forecast and I have to bring them inside for the winter. From mid-October through April I water my cactus and succulents very sparingly if at all. Normally, I “may” give the Aloe a little water once a month, but for most of them, I don’t give water until December or January. Aloe store water in their leaves, so they can go for a long time without additional moisture. Better to be safe than sorry over the winter months… You can tell by their leaves if they need water. If they start to curl inwards along their margins then they are needing a little water.
When you bring your new plants home from the store, you need to check their roots and the soil to see if they are wet. If so, you may want to re-pot it right away. It is advisable to re-pot them in a better potting soil more suitable for cactus and succulents. BE SURE to look your plants over for bugs BEFORE you bring them home from the garden center or at least when you bring them home. Always keep an eye out for the critters, especially when inside over the winter.
I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by.
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