Garden Aloes

Aloe congolensis

Also Known As: Congo Aloe

Category: Small to Medium Clumping Aloes

USDA Hardiness Zones: 10a - 11


Aloe congolensis is a small clustering aloe to 6 to 8 inches tall with tight 5 inch wide rosettes on stems that lie along the ground to 2 feet long with short bright green shiny wedge-shaped leaves that have a slight recurved tip and sharp teeth. Leaves take on a reddish-brown cast when drought or cold stressed.


Aloe congolensis is a bright green, shiny aloe with smallish rosettes (6 inches across at the most) of stiff, unbendable (or they fracture) plastic-like leaves with exceptionally large teeth. It grows from tightly-spaced 5 inch rosettes of triangular leaves on stems which lie across the ground. In drought and other times of stress the leaves take on a reddish brown cast. When dry, leaves almost disappear completely (semideciduous) leaving only flowers and a bulb. Plants grow on sprawling stems and each stem retains many leaves (if watered well, which this plant sure seems to like being), sometimes for several feet or more. The leaves are heavily armed with large, sharp teeth the same color as the leaves. It is an aggressive offsetter, and a good grower, and will eventually take over an area, though it is a low growing species.


The Congo Aloe blooms in late fall to winter on solitary (unbranched) racemes which rise about a foot above the leaves. The peach-orange colored flowers come when the plant is more mature and in full sun. Without enough sunlight, plants seem resistant to flower. It seems to take the plant years to mature enough to get to flowering size.

Origin / History

Is it a species? a hybrid? No one knows for sure, but the name suggests it comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The name Aloe congolensis is not a verified species name but this plant has long been offered and passed around under this name which was first used in 1899.

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Care / Cultivation

Plant Aloe congolensis in full sun (for best color) to light shade and irrigate occasionally. This plant was particularly prone to aloe mite damage. The leaves are armed with sharp teeth so use care when pruning back.

Frost Tenderness

This aloe needs protection from hard frosts. Hardy to 28 to 30 F. This is one of the top wimps when it comes to cold sensitivity.

Use in the Garden

Being a prolific offsetting plant it will eventually cover an area, especially if offsets are removed and replanted nearby. Attractive in rock gardens, succulent and cactus gardens and useful in xeriscape plantings as well. Also works well as a succulent container plant and in hanging baskets where long offsetting branches droop ornamentally. It is deer resistant.

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The information on this page about Aloe congolensis has been gathered and summarized from the sources below. Visit these pages to learn more.

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