Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’
(Aloe descoingsii x Aloe calcairophila) x Aloe bellatula
The Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ was my second Aloe and the first one I bought when I was living at the mansion in Leland, Mississippi. It was hybridized by John Bleck using the offspring of Aloe descoingsii x Aloe calcairophila and crossing it with Aloe bellatula.
Aloe descoingsii Reynolds is an accepted scientific name for one species that was used in this cross. It was named and described by Gilbert Westacott Reynolds in Journal of South African Botany in 1958. This species is native to Madagascar.
Aloe calcairophila Reynolds is an accepted scientific name for one of the species used in this cross. It was also named and described by Gilbert Westacott Reynolds in Journal of South African Botany in 1960. This species is also a native to Madagascar.
Aloe bellatula Reynolds is an accepted scientific name for one of the parents of this cross. It was also named my Mr. Reynolds and described in the same publication as the other two but in 1956. It is also a native of Madagascar.
Gilbert Westacott Reynolds
Mr. Reynolds was a South African optometrist (so was his father). He moved to Johannesburg with his parents in 1902. Later he attended St. Johns College under the name of Victor Ludorum. He enlisted in the military in WW1 and after the war, in 1921, joined his father’s practice. He had a great interest in bulbs and succulents of South Africa and after he started his own practice in 1930 was able to travel. He eventually narrowed his interests to Aloe and gained an extensive knowledge about the genus. He wrote the first comprehensive book about the Aloe genus, The Aloes of South Africa, published in 1960. He went on to publish two more books about Aloe and wrote many articles. He named several species of Aloe during his research and became one of the great legends of all time. He also spent time at Kew doing research.
After his death in 1967 at the age of 66, his collection of Aloe was transplanted in the Milwane Game Sanctuary and the National Botanical Institute in Pretoria.
Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ is an AWESOME miniature Aloe with green leaves and lots of white markings. The leaf edges are lined with tiny white teeth and the whole leaf is kind of rough feeling.
Zones: USDA Zones 10a-11 (30-40° F)
Size: Up to 6” tall x 6-9” wide…
Light: Sun to part shade
Soil: Well-draining potting soil amended with 50% pumice or perlite and (chicken) grit in a 2-1-1 ratio.
Water: Moderate water during the growing periods and barely in the winter.
Flowers: Produces small orange tubular flowers any time of the year.
Propagation: Propagate by offsets but it seems to prefer growing in a cluster.
As with all Aloe, they need well-draining soil. When grown in pots, they need 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 in early spring through early summer and again in late summer through fall.
During their growing period, they should be watered on a regular basis if there was no rain. Aloe species are dormant during the hotter months of the summer, but I still go over them each time I watered my potted plants. I watered my Aloe very sparingly during the winter while inside (depending on where I had them).
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 trees, more light shines through. It works out pretty well even though I don’t care for the beetles.
We made it through another winter and Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ was glad to be back outside.
I removed this offset earlier so I could pass it along to a good friend and fellow plant collector.
By the end of the summer, Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ was looking very good.
Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ doesn’t like cooler temps and didn’t like in the house in the winter. Every winter it barely made it through.
I could never figure out why the other Aloe and succulents did very well in the sunrooms over the winter but not Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’.
I was facing a very hard decision when the above photo was taken. I had sold the mansion to a group that bought it to turn it into a bed and breakfast (the Thompson House Bed and Breakfast). My dad asked me to move back to the family farm in mid-Missouri so I agreed. I told him I had a lot of plants and he said, “OK”. Well, he is very hard of hearing and I am not sure if he heard what I said. SO, I repeated myself only louder. He again said, “OK.” I had to give up several hundred potted plants but I did take most of my succulents, a few perennials, Alocasia, Colocasia esculenta, and several other plants.
Well, despite the fact that the trip to Missouri in late February took 8-9 hours in 30-degree temperatures, the Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ came through fine.
The bigger plant that was in the center had previously died, but the remaining rosettes did fine over the winter.
It always amazed me how well this plant did so poorly over the winter but would perk back up during the summer.
Finally producing more offsets!
The Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ looking very good toward the end of summer and still flowering.
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.
Darn near completely lost it by the time winter was over in 2014. The plant in the above photo was all that was left.
I gave up most of my plants in the late summer of 2014 including this Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips.
I was very glad to see another Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ at Wagler’s Greenhouse. I had given her one of the offsets before, which may actually be this plant.
As usual, it didn’t like being in the house for the winter and very glad to be back outside.
Well, we went through the winter and as usual, Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ didn’t approve. But, as usual, it perked back up. Well, at least it was looking better.
Then much better…
Then AWESOME AGAIN!
The Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ did very well over the summer but cooler temperatures were approaching. It is about time to bring the plants inside for the winter.
I took the plants into the basement on October 17 (2017) to get them ready to move upstairs. Some plants do better in the basement while others don’t. I measured the cactus and succulents before moving them and the clump of Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ was 4 1/2″ tall x 10″ wide.
Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ did very well in my bedroom over the winter, much better than in previous winters. It was in bright light in a south-facing window.
I moved all the plants outside on April 29 and they were all very happy to be in the fresh air. I put the Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ in a larger pot to give it more room.
The Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ must be happy. It is growing 5 new flower stems.
I moved the potted plants to the front and back porch on July 4 after a Japanese Beetle invasion. The Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ is just as happy as ever on the front porch
As cooler temps were heading our way, I moved the potted plants inside on October 10. I always like to take all their photos and get some measurements before I take them inside.
Aloe ‘Lizard Lips’ is doing well on the front porch once again for the summer of 2019. I see it has a few new buds…
I had to move the plants inside on October 10 because an “F” was in the forecast. The clump has filled the pot and measured 6″ tall x 12″ wide.
The above photo shows Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ tolerating the plant shelf in a south-facing window for the winter. Still flowering on November 24.
In my experience, Aloe ‘Lizard Lips’ can be a bit weird at times. It likes its conditions “like so” and can be somewhat moody. If you are new to this plant, just be prepared for a few ups and downs. Just hang in there.
It seems to prefer a close-knit family so I have rarely divided it. I did a few times when I first started with this plant in 2009, but not since. When I brought home my second plant in 2016 the only thing I have done is put it in a larger pot a couple of times. I just lift it out of the old pot and put it into a larger one, making sure their is ample soil below and tuck new soil around the roots. That’s just about it. The potting soil has to be very well-draining, mix 50/50 with pumice if you have it available. You can buy it online from General Pumice.
Overwintering can be tricky, but you just need to remember it does NOT like it cool and damp, like most succulents. Don’t water unless absolutely necessary and then only a little. If you have this plant and it looks like it is dying during the winter, I recommend you put it in a new pot with fresh dry soil. Give normal watering over the warmer months, allowing the entire pot to soak and drain completely, and allowing the soil to dry between watering. Of course, if your pot is outside in the open, it is kind of hard to control the rain, which seems OK for the most part.
Grow this plant in light to part shade, in my opinion, as its leaves will burn, turn brown, curl, and burn the tips.
There isn’t much new to report about the Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’. It spent the summer on the front porch and did perfectly fine. I moved the plants inside for the winter on October 15 because an “F” was in the forecast. It is the same size as it was in 2019 when I moved the plants inside for the winter. Currently, it is starting to flower again.
Sometimes this Aloe looks great and at other times it looks pitiful. There are so many plants in this pot I think it may have problems getting enough water. But, during the winter it needs to stay fairly dry anyway… I am sure it will survive.
I decided the Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ needed a new pot and new potting soil, so on 12-15, I removed it and gave it a new home. It was in a 4 1/2″ tall x 6″ diameter pot so I increased it to a 6″ tall x 8″ diameter pot. I used 50% Miracle Grow Potting Soil amended with 50% 1/4″ pumice. This plant usually looks a little frazzled so that is fairly normal. Sometimes it looks great and sometimes not so great… Kind of like me at times. 🙂
WHEW! I thought ‘Lizard Lips’ was a goner! Several Aloe came down with a case of mealybugs over the winter and the next thing I knew they were on the ‘Lizard Lips’. I sprayed it and put it on the front porch when temperatures permitted. After a while, there was not a single green leaf and I thought it was dead. Fortunately, it came back to life and is actually looking better than it has for a few years. It’s a miracle!
Well, unfortunately, the Aloe ‘Lizard Lips’ attracted mealy bugs again over the following winter and didn’t make it. After so many years with it, I was sad to see it go. Hopefully, I will run across another one…
I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.