x Gasteraloe ‘Twilight Zone
Aloe x ‘Twilight Zone’
I was given this plant by the owner of Pleasant Acres Nursery in Leland, Mississippi in May of 2012. We traded a lot of plants. Anyway, the plant was from Proven Winners and it said it was an Aloe ‘Twilight Zone’
I have been calling this plant Aloe x ‘Twilight Zone’ since 2012 because that’s what the label said. When making an update for this page in June (2018), I noticed The National Gardening Association said it was x Gasteraloe ’Twilight Zone’ instead of Aloe x ’Twilight Zone’. I contacted the creator, Kelly Griffin, and told him I was updating my blog about the Aloe ‘Twilight Zone’ and a few websites were calling it a x Gasteraloe cultivar. I told him I wanted to make sure the information on my blog was correct. His reply was…
”Didn’t see this but it is and has always been a Gasteria crossed with an Aloe so you understand that most people when labeling wouldn’t know the difference but if it is labeled as an Aloe, it is incorrect.”
Then I asked if he could tell me the species used in the cross. His reply was…
“It was a hybrid that I made long ago. More than a decade. It is an Aloe haworthiodes hybrid crossed with a Gasteria carinata form. It is largely sterile and only occasionally has it made a seed pod which so far nothing has come from. I named it for the intro to Rod Sterling’s Twilight Zone with the floating stars coming at you like driving in a snow storm. Old black and white tv show was classic!”
So, there you have it straight from the creator of x Gasteraloe ‘Twilight Zone’. Many in the industry mislabeling another plant…
Kelly Griffin works for Altman Plants. He is one of the foremost Aloe hybridizers today and you can watch a few videos showing his AWESOME yard on YouTube.
I really liked this Aloe hybrid because of its dark green leaves covered with tiny white spines. The leaves are very rough and feel like tiny needles.
The above photo is the top view of the x Gasteraloe ‘Twilight Zone’.
As temperatures started cooling down, I moved my plants into the sunrooms and other rooms in the mansion. If the day was warmer during the winter, I would move them to the 40′ wide front porch then back inside in the evening if it was going to be cold at night. The neighbors must have thought I was crazy. I took the above photo a few days before I moved back to the family farm in west-central Missouri.
I moved back to the family farm in west=central Missouri in February 2013. I brought my x Gasteraloe ‘Twilight Zone’ with me as well as most of my succulents. I had to give away several hundred pots and making decisions about what to take and leave behind was tough. I had an awesome backyard and 5 sunrooms at the mansion but I knew I would not have that privilege back home in Missouri.
Back outside once again but this time in a totally new environment.
As with all Aloe and Gasteria, they need a very well-draining potting 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.
I started noticing that many of the succulents had been chewed on. At first, I thought it was grasshoppers because they were very bad in 2013. Strangely, though, I never noticed grasshoppers on my succulents when I was working with them during the day. So, I went outside during the night with a flashlight and was SHOCKED to see many crickets munching away on several of my succulents. Right then and there I started moving them into the shed. I continued moving them into the shed every evening until the end of the summer.
During their growing period, they should be watered on a regular basis if there was no rain. Even though many succulents are dormant during the hotter months of the summer, I still went over them each time I watered my potted plants. I watered my succulents very sparingly during the winter while inside.
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 when 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.
Some plants look really neat from the top.
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 really enjoyed growing the x Gasteraloe ‘Twilight Zone’ but I am not sure about the leaves turning brown. It appears almost like the plant is sick.
I really liked the x Gasteraloe ‘Twilight Zone’ but unfortunately I gave it up with most of my plants shortly after the above photo was taken. Now I am rebuilding my collection and hopefully, I will run across another one someday. They are available online, but I prefer to buy most of my plants in person.
Zones: 9-11 (25-40° F)
Size: 6-12” tall x 6-12” wide
Light: Sun to part shade
Soil: Very well-draining. Good quality potting soil amended with pumice (50/50) or additional perlite and chicken grit (2-1-1).
Water: Normal watering during the growing periods and sparingly over the winter.
Propagation: From offsets
Aloe, their hybrids, and 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 they are summer or winter dormant depends on where the species 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.
*LIGHT: Most information online says 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 shade part of the day, but they still receive a few hours of direct sun. I guess you would call this “light shade”. 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.
**SOIL: As with any cactus and succulent, they need fast-draining soil. Some Aloe grow a massive root system and aren’t that particular about 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 which 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 when 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. Always check for critters that may come home with the plants and keep an eye out during the winter months…
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. There isn’t much online about this plant, but hopefully, the links will help you a little.