Blog Know your: aloes

Know your: aloes

Aloes light up winter with their brilliant spikes of flowers.

The new hybrids offer dramatic colour combinations, and some of the species also deserve a spot at your place. Here’s a handful to consider.


Aloe ferox


Krantz aloe

Aloe arborescens

This is an ideal species for coastal areas. The rosettes of blue-green, curved, toothed leaves look good all year and the orange flower spikes brighten winter days. At 3m tall and 1.8m wide, one is all you need to fill a tricky hot spot, though they do look great in a group. Full sun and good drainage are a must.


Aloes arborescens


Fan aloe

Aloe plicatilis

This is a tall, architectural accent plant that will slowly get to 1.5 m in the garden or in a container. The silver-green, flat leaves have rounded tips, and are arranged in a fan formation. Red spikes of tubular top it off in late-winter.


Fan aloe


Aloe vera

Widely used to soothe skin irritations, the juicy, faintly spotted, green leaves of this aloe form a suckering clump of rosettes to 50cm tall and wide. It performs best in a part-shade position protected from the hot afternoon sun. Kept potted, it makes a handy addition to your first aid kit – just break a leaf to release the gooey gel.


Widely used to soothe skin irritations, Aloe vera


Sunset aloe

Aloe dorotheae

The stiff, jagged, orange-red leaves of this species form around a lime green centre, offering mounds of colour all year. Spikes of green-tipped, yellow flowers appear in winter. For best colour plant in a well-drained spot in full sun. This is a striking, tough, water-wise ground cover to 50cm tall.


Sunset aloe


Aloe ‘Fairy Pink’

Dainty white flowers with a pink base are held above the green clumping foliage of this small hybrid aloe. It looks its best in semi-shade, where it will reach 20cm tall and 12cm wide. Pot it to allow you to easily limit exposure to rain and frost.


Aloe ‘Fairy Pink’


Aloe ‘Big Red’

Stop the show with this large hybrid aloe, which features beautiful branching red flower clusters in winter. A large rosette of grey-green foliage provides a contrasting foil for the flowers. Plant in full sun and plan for it to reach 1.8m tall in flower and 1m wide. It’s been bred to cope with moderate frost and rain.


Aloe ‘Big Red’


Aloe ‘Sparkler’

This aloe flowers from autumn throughout winter, with yellow flowers with bright orange anthers or ‘sparks’. Growing to 30cm tall and 25cm wide in clumps, it’s great to use to edge a hot spot. It’s tolerant of frost and full sun, and requires only occasional water.


Aloe ‘Sparkler’


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