Also Known As: Torch Aloe
Category: Large Clumping Aloes
USDA Hardiness Zones: 9b - 11
OverviewPrized for its colorful flowers and attractive foliage, Aloe arborescens is a very common, large clumping aloe with branching stems holding many decorative rosettes. It’s an easy growing and very adaptable aloe from the south eastern part of Southern Africa which will eventually grow to 6 feet high & wide or larger.
DescriptionAloe arborescens is a large, multi-headed, sprawling succulent ranging up to 6 to 9 feet (~3 m) tall, with many rosettes. Each rosette consists of widely spreading, sword-shaped leaves with conspicuous, soft, pale teeth along their margins. Leaves are dull green, yellow-green to sometimes blue-green depending on the location and amount of sunlight the plant has received. Aloe arborescens can grow quite large so only young plants are suitable for use indoors. Offsets normally appear around the base when plants are two or three years old.
FloweringFlowers hang tightly on the inflorescences that rise 2 feet above the foliage from late fall into winter. The flowers of Aloe arborescens are deep orange, almost red; there are also pure yellow flowering forms of this aloe. The inflorescences are usually unbranched and conical with two or more arising from a single rosette. The large flower spikes bloom in Winter and will help brighten up a dull winter garden.
Origin / HistoryThis species has an extensive natural distribution in southern Africa, from Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi south through eastern South Africa, and then westward in a strip along the coast nearly to Cape Town. Aloe arborescens has adapted to many different habitats, its natural habitat usually consists of mountainous areas including rocky outcrops and exposed ridges. Its habitat can vary and is one of only a few species of aloe that is found growing from sea level up to the tops of mountains. Much of its natural range receives summer or year-round rainfall. The plant's name means 'becoming a tree' for this plant's large stature, though a bit misleading as this plant is a large shrub.
Care / CultivationPlant in full sun (coast) to light shade.
Frost TendernessThis drought tolerant plant is cold hardy to about 22 degrees F.
Use in the GardenAn indispensable succulent for the dry garden, this very showy & easy plant is commonly grown as a living fence. This plant makes a dramatic focal point in sunny borders or decorative containers. Like Aloe vera, this species has a host of herbal & medicinal properties. It can be used to treat cuts & burns, & has anti-inflammatory & anti-bacterial effects.
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