Aloe arborescens

This Torch Aloe is a large densely growing succulent shrub that can grow up to 6-8 feet tall and can equally spread 6-8 feet wide with branching stems holding many 18 inch wide rosettes of narrow recurved soft-toothed margined leaves that are dull green, gray-green, yellow-green, orange-red to sometimes blue-green depending on the location and amount of sunlight received.

Otay Lakes Rd. & Santa Paula

Aloe arborescens is fast-growing and it will tolerate drought and neglect once established, it’s easily propagated from a branch or cut stem.  Once cut, allow to dry for 5-7 days or until the wound has sealed and calloused over, and then plant in well-drained soil.  They don’t need to be rooted in a container, just transplant directly into their permanent place in the garden or landscape.  It is important to remember not to water cuttings; overwatering may cause them to rot.

Rice Canyon Demonstration Gardens

Torch Aloe is grown mainly as an ornamental or as an accent plant, but is also an excellent and impenetrable hedge plant.  Plant in full sun (coast) to light shade.  This drought tolerant plant does great in coastal California without any supplementary irrigation.

Aloe spike flowering

Echeveria gibbiflora ‘Mauna Loa’

This cabbage-like succulent is actually an Echeveria; it looks similar to red leaf lettuce or red cabbage.  Its large flat leaves crinkle and frill at the edges forming rosettes up to 12 inches in diameter. The rosettes are pale green when young, and then develop shades of blue and pink with age.  Edges can turn red to burgundy when grown in the sun.

Mauna Loa


This Echeveria is perfect for medium decorative pots in your outdoor living area or as a feature on your table.

Echeverias have some of the most beautiful flowers when they bloom.

Echeveria in bloom

Myrtillocactus geometrizans forma cristata

This nursery-produced cactus has bizarre and interesting blue-gray waxy stems
which forms a tree-like trunk and has a tendency to fan out, clustering over one another; some stems will form stable crests while others  just cluster over one another.  Occasionally  when new branches form out from a crest, they may revert to the normal growth pattern, giving rise to a more bizarre appearance.

Myrtillocactus geometrizans forma cristata

The crests are frequently grafted onto a normal a Myrtillocactus trunk but are easily grown on their own roots.
The Dinosaur Back Cactus tolerates exposure to full sun and moderate watering.   Myrtillocactus doesn’t like to be exposed to temperatures below 28°F and never let the night-time temperature fall below 50°F.   Water regularly during the  summer months and allow soil to dry fully before watering again.  Myrtillocactus needs well-drained soil mix, with small gravel added to ensure drainage.  During the winter months plants should be rather kept dry, and water is restricted to only enough to keep the stems and branches from shriveling.  Since they are big-sized plants need plenty of space for their roots, repotting should be done every other year, or when the plant has outgrown its pot.  Exposure: Light shade when young, full sun later.

Dinosaur Back Plant

There are several crested clones of Myrtillocactus geometrizans that have a tendency to fan out, some will form stable crests while others will cluster over one another, regardless, both types make for a spectacular landscape attraction.

Crested Blue Myrtle

Beautify Chula Vista Day October 2016

Thank you to all who participated in the Beautify Chula Vista Day event that took place on October 15th.  Our annual event was at Rice Canyon for the removal of invasives along a 1.2 mile stretch of trail, Discovery Canyon and Rancho Del Rey Business District for litter removal, and our fall revegetation project between Buena Vista and Via Goya along the parkways of Rancho Del Rey Pkwy South.

40 volunteers participated in our annual revegetation project and planted over 300 hundred plants: 200 hundred California Native plants and 100 succulents, and spread 65 yards of mulch along the east- and westside parkways of Rancho Del Rey Pkwy South.

Hover mouse over picture gallery to get a quick caption.

A BIG thank you to Mayor Mary Casillas Salas for participating in the planting of our waterwise plant material and spreading of mulch.


Here’s the gallery of after pictures.

Here’s a quick reference of our plant palette.  Hover mouse over picture gallery to get a quick identification of plants.

Aloe reitzii

Reitz’ Aloe

This beautiful robust stemless plant usually has a single rosette 3 feet tall with long broad silvery blue-green leaves with reddish teeth along the margins. In the summer the spectacular inflorescence branches near its base with each stem becoming a vertical spike rising well above the foliage and holding dark red to orange-red down-curved flowers that lie flat against the stems with the oldest flowers turning yellow at the tips starting from the bottom of the spike.

Young plants may produce only one raceme but older plants can produce multiple racemes, further enhancing a spectacular sight. This species is easily identified by its compact racemes of dark red flowers, with the tips of the flowers curving downwards towards the branch and pressed tightly against it.

This feature, together with very short pedicels, far exserted stamens and style, and the tendency to produce thorns on the lower leaf surface,  can often be confused with Aloe gerstneri and Aloe petricola.  


Chula Vista Open Space