For those of us who love succulents, there is a price to pay. These water-wise plants often cost a lot of money. If you have a bottomless wallet, that may not be a problem, but for those of us who live on a budget and want to include these lovely plants in our landscapes, it can be a problem.

Thankfully, there is something that you can do in many cases to turn one succulent plant into several. I’ll show you how I did this when I bought a ‘Blue Elf’ aloe, which I had wanted for a long time.

‘Blue Elf’ aloe is somewhat unique among aloe species. They thrive in hot, reflected heat handling full sun where most other aloes turn brown, while yearning for winter. Orange flowers appear in later winter and last into spring adding a welcome splash of color to winter gardens.

I visited the Desert Botanical Garden’s fall plant sale the other day and had a list of plants that I wanted in my garden. One of my must haves was three ‘Blue Elf’ aloe plants. The holes were already dug, and all I needed were my little aloes.

The problem was that initially, I could only find 3-gallon specimens for $30 and not the smaller 1-gallons I was hoping to find. Later, I did see them in the 1-gallon size, for $20 a piece. Ouch! So, what was I to do? I certainly didn’t want to spend $60 for three 1-gallon plants.

I went back to look at those in the 3-gallon containers and noted that there were at least three good-sized clumps of aloe, which was all I needed. So I bought it and took it home.

Using a sharp hand shovel, I cut my way through the root ball, isolating each clump.

Out came several nice-sized aloes, ready to be planted. 

I planted them in my pre-dug holes where they will root out nicely with some supplemental water.

It turns out that there weren’t just three, but five clumps of ‘Blue Elf’ aloe, so I found two more areas to plant them. 

So, instead of paying $60 for three 1-gallons, I got 5 ‘Blue Elf’ aloe for $6 each, which for succulents, is a great deal!

Another type of succulent where you can sometimes find ‘extra’ plants in a nursery container include agave.

At the same plant sale, many different species of agave were on display ready to be purchased. While not all types of agave make ‘babies’ (pups), a lot of them do. Can you spot the two agave containers in the photo above where there is more than one agave growing?

The next time you are shopping for aloe or agave for your garden, take a close look at them in their nursery containers – you may find two or more plants for the price of one. How cool is that?

14 replies
  1. Cheryl
    Cheryl says:

    Also watch for Gardner’s cleaning up the baby’s that have sprouted around a bigger specimen…. I lucked out the other day and got a carload for free! I love succulents too here in Southern California!

    Reply
  2. A Joyful Chaos
    A Joyful Chaos says:

    I love succulents, though I don’t have any at the moment. My houseplants all took quite a hit after we moved halfway across the country. I tried babying them along as best I could, but they never did adjust to our new home and one by one they dies. It made me sad.

    Blessings~

    Reply
  3. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    New to your wonderful writings and toAz. Pl wondering what nursery you’ve found Blue Elf aloes at and why are they named as such? Thank you and keep up on writing. Is as good for the soul as gardening I believe!

    Reply
    • arizonaplantlady@gmail.com
      arizonaplantlady@gmail.com says:

      Hi Debbie,

      Welcome to Arizona! Blue Elf aloe can be found in most nurseries, particularly those that carry succulents. I’ve even seen them at the big box stores on occasion. I’m thinking that their name comes from their small size and blue/gray coloring.

      Reply

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