False Aloe (Manfreda virginica)

This plant is a relative to the better-known agave. It was once considered to be in the lily (Liliaceae) family, and then the amaryllis (Amaryllidaceae) family that contains alliums like onions, garlic, and chives. Now it is safely classified in the Asparagaceae family, closely related to the asparagus.

 Sometimes you have to just sit back and enjoy the drama of plant classification while they just sit there and keep on growing!

 This false aloe grows much differently than the aloe plant we know. It grows much faster and its leaves will grow and disintegrate as it matures. It generally flowers yearly, with one or more straight stalks that can shoot up over 6 feet in the air! The single stalk can have 50 or more flowers on it, yet each flower is only fertile for a day or two. This is a tactic it takes to only open specific flowers long enough to fertilize without fertilizing itself.

 Plant your false aloe in late spring/early summer. It thrives in full sun or part shade, sandy soils, and needs watering every few days until it becomes established, and then only when there is a serious drought. These plants will do great in pots where you can modify the soil to make a sandy or rocky well-draining mix.