Also Known As: Chinthembwe, Khuzi, Lichongwe
Category: Tree Aloes
USDA Hardiness Zones: 9b - 11
OverviewAloe mawii is native to Malawi, Mozambique, and southern Tanzania and one of the shorter, almost shrubby tree-like aloes. This species grows to 6 feet tall, sparsely branched with a dense rosettes of 2 foot long red tinged grey-green leaves with reddish margins and orange-brown teeth.
DescriptionAloe mawii has a trunk up to 4 - 5 inches in diameter. Leaves are channeled and arching with spreading, horizontally oriented rosettes. The plants form a rosette or small single-stemmed tree to 8 feet tall; most often the plants are lower than 3 or 4 foot tall and often form small colonies arising from suckers. This shrubby species produces few branches, each of which bear a terminal rosette of leaves with a bluish cast and faint lines. Leaves somewhat bendable and bright light green to nearly red in stressful times. Prominent white teeth (tipped pale pink) along leaf margins.
FloweringIn mid winter Aloe mawii holds its bright, orange-red flowers in horizontal, long inflorescences, perhaps to better provide perches for birds. They are quite attractive and unusual! It will cheerfully bloom during the cooler months with flower colors a deep orange to bright scarlet. Inflorescence 1 meter tall, simple, raceme oblique or horizontal, and densely flowered. Flowers are somewhat unique, but reminiscent of Aloe marlothii though with only one stem (no branches). Flowers on stems are all one sided - facing up to the sky. Perianth red or orange. Stamens with purple filaments and orange anthers.
Origin / HistoryThis species is from east-central Africa, centered on Malawi and extending northwards and southwards where it grows on grassy rocky slopes at altitudes between 1,800 and 6,000 feet. The plant name honors Captain A.H. Maw, on whose property in Malawi the type specimen was collected.
Care / CultivationPlant in full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate occasionally to infrequently. Under nearly frost-free conditions, such as in Southern California gardens, the plant is easily grown on almost any soil.
Frost TendernessCold hardy to around 25° F.
Use in the GardenIn drought and heat the leaves turn red and make a great garden feature.
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