Also Known As: Blue Aloe
Category: Small to Medium Clumping Aloes
USDA Hardiness Zones: 9b - 11
OverviewAloe acutissima is an attractive aloe from Madagascar with interesting foliage colors and winter flowers that does well in the ground or in larger pots. This is a shrubby, fast growing species which can fill an area in a few years, after which it slowly spreads in all directions. Aloe acutissima is generally a smallish, many-stemmed species with spikes of orange to red flowers.
DescriptionAloe acutissima spreads out from the center and with time can form a wide, somewhat wildly branching, shrub. A rapid but low grower that reaches 18′ tall with slender stalks and multiple heads. Its stems are topped with 8-10 inch wide rosettes of narrow recurved leaves that have pink-purple and red. The primary leaf color is pale turquoise, with other colors coming about in response to various stresses (heat, cold, drought, sun burn). Its recurved leaves are somewhat narrow and armed on the margins with triangular reddish-brown teeth. Dry weather, heat and cold produce the most vibrant colors.
FloweringThe dull orange-red winter flowers are borne on single spikes which rise a foot above the colored foliage and are attractive to hummingbirds. The foliage is main, attractive feature of this species not the flowers.
Origin / HistoryThe species name means 'very acutely pointed.' This plant grows up to 4000 feet in elevation close to Toliara near the south west coast of Madagascar to Fianarantsoa closer to the center of the island, where it grows on rocks and shallow soils.
Care / CultivationAloe acutissima is drought tolerate, grows well in full sun and well-drained soil. Likes water all year round and not prone to rot but requires little irrigation and colors up best when kept dry. Thrives in California’s rich soil with little care and water needed. Remove spent flowers and leaves if desired. It may need cutting back in smaller, well-planned landscapes.
Frost TendernessCold-tolerant to around 25 °F.
Use in the GardenSucculent and cactus gardens, xeriscape plantings, dry borders and rock gardens. Does well in pots too, provided soil drains well. Best when planted in groups of three or more to fully appreciate striking lilac foliage.
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