Also Known As: Aloe abyssinica, Aloe vera var. aethiopica, Aloe schweinfurthii, Aloe percrassa var. saganeitiana, Aloe abyssinica var. peacockii, Aloe aethiopica, Aloe peacockii
Category: Small to Medium Clumping Aloes
USDA Hardiness Zones: 9b - 11
OverviewAloe elegans is a medium size, slowly offsetting, stemless aloe to 18 to 24 inches tall with open rosettes of upright fleshy green-gray colored leaves that are lance shaped with reddish teeth along the margins, particularly when plants are drought stressed. This highly variable species is from Ethiopia and Eritrea.
DescriptionThis medium-size aloe is usually solitary growing with fleshy 1-2' leaves and green-gray coloring. Leaves have teeth on their margins and when the plant is under stress, the leaves turn a nice reddish brown.
FloweringAloe elegans blooms in winter and early spring. The conical heads of flowers appear on a few (2-4) branched inflorescence rising above the leaf tips. The flower color ranges from a pale yellow to orange-red and this selection, vegetatively produced, has pale mid-orange colored flowers. This plant's flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies and birds.
Origin / HistoryIt is native to northern Ethiopia and Eritrea where it is very common on open stony slopes from 5,200 to 8,200 feet. This plant was described by the Italian botanist Agostino Todaro in 1882 from a plant grown from seed sent to him by the German botanist Wilhelm Schimper who collected it in the Tigray region around 1870 after settling in Ethipioa in 1836. The name refers to the overall elegant nature of this plant, particularly in reference to the attractive bright flower colors that range from yellow through orange to scarlet with all colors sometimes evident within a single population.
Care / CultivationPlant in full sun to light shade in a well-drained soil and irrigate infrequently.
Frost TendernessHas proven to be fairly hardy, handling short duration drops down to 25°F and more prolonged temperatures of 27°F.
Use in the GardenRock, succulent and cactus gardens. Excellent in xeriscape and fire-resistant plantings. Silvery-blue foliage provides a nice contrast to darker colored foliage plants. Aloe elegans can be grown in containers too.
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