Also Known As: Dwala Aloe, Chabaud's Aloe
Category: Single Head Stemless Aloes
USDA Hardiness Zones: 9a - 11
OverviewAloe chabaudii (Dwala Aloe) is an easy-to-grow, clustering perennial succulent that forms large colonies of gently spreading, turquoise green rosettes. It is a robust, attractive, generally stemless, fast growing aloe with very showy flowers in winter.
DescriptionAloe chabaudii is a clustering aloe that can form large groups with neat rosettes to 2 feet tall of up to 30 bluish green leaves that are often flushed with pink when grown in full sun. In a compact spiralled rosette at the stem apex in old plants, but in juvenile plants they are ranked in vertical rows. Plants are stemless even in mature specimens, many suckers are produced. Aloe chabaudii leaves are broad, tapering, lanceolate-attenuate, without spots, pale grey-green to blue-turquoise, which in full sun and in winter can take a pinkish-red tinge. Young plants may have white spots on the leaves which disappear at maturity. The leaf margins with small pungent, deltoid teeth. Plants generally form one of two alternate colors: blue/grey-green, often flushed with pink, or reddish/pink. Dwala Aloe when grown in shaded woodland are often larger, with dark olive-green leaves, and a taller more expanded inflorescence.
FloweringAloe chabaudii flowering occurs mainly in winter and is a showy, prolific display of orange-red flowers held in branched racemes. Individual flowers are tubular and sought after by nectar loving birds and insects. The inflorescence is a 50 - 100 cm (1 ½ to 3 feet) tall multi-branched panicle with up to 15 densely flowered racemes. Flowers are small of coral pink or red at tip of each branch.
Origin / HistoryNamed after John A. Chabaud, an enthusiastic amateur gardener in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in whose garden the original specimens flowered. Aloe chabuadii can be found in the Northern Province, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces of South Africa. It extends into Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Swasiland. The common name sometimes given this plant is Dwala Aloe for its typical habitat - a dwala is a word used to describe a large unbroken dome of granite in Zimbabwe but it is also called Chabaud's Aloe.
Care / CultivationAloe chabaudii is tolerant of a wide range of habitats, from dry, exposed granite slopes to shady wooded slopes, or even vertical cliffs drenched in spray from waterfalls. This plant originates in a summer rainfall area and appreciates additional water in summer. A perennial succulent is heat and cold-tolerant, adaptable to sun or shade, in well-drained soil. Stress from poor drainage can make the plant more prone to pest problems as well as rots. It can take full sun along the coast as well.
Frost TendernessPlants can tolerate frosts with temperatures down to around to 25°F for short durations and may prove hardier.
Use in the GardenIn mild climates it can be cultivated outdoors for use in landscaping, preferably planting it in hot and dry rock gardens. Aloe chabaudii is one of the more strikingly colored aloes and grows attractively in a garden with other succulents and sun-loving cycads. It makes an excellent ground cover, grows best in a sunny position and makes a long lasting cut flower. Works fine as a container plant, especially in a wide bowl style of planter which allows the plant to offset and multiply. Aloe chabaudii could be interesting massed with additional containers of larger leaved aloes which bloom at different times to extend the bloom season.
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