Garden Aloes

Aloe peglerae

Also Known As: Fez aloe, Red-hot poker, Bergaalwyn

Category: Single Head Stemless Aloes

USDA Hardiness Zones: 9b - 11


Aloe peglerae is an unusual, small, stemless South African aloe. Stunningly attractive turquoise colored aloe easily identified by the lack of spines on the inside surfaces of each leaf. This aloe grows as a solitary rosette with the leaves curving inwards, resulting in a neat, rounded head or rarely form small groups. Aloe peglerae has unbranched inflorescence with densely set, dull red flowers that usually turn greenish yellow when opening.


From South Africa Aloe peglerae is stemless and clump-forming with rosettes of spreading leaves. It is one of the most easily recognizable of the aloes even when not in flower, because of its habit of growth. The rosette reach only 30-40 centimeters of diameter and the entire plant, excluding the inflorescence, reach the height of 30-40 centimeters. This aloe grows as a solitary rosette which stays stemless & remains tightly clasped in dry situations making it look a bit like an anemone curling into a ball when protecting itself. The glaucous leaves of Aloe peglerae are arranged in a rosette, curved inward so that the plant assumes a rounded, spherical aspect. With beautiful blue-grey, unspotted leaves have significant spines on the margins and undersides of the leaves. As the temperatures drop, the colors of the leaves tend to pinken as is the case in many aloes and other succulents. Leaves are slightly bendable and covered with a blush one can rub off to reveal a greener color beneath. The leaf margins of new growth have whitish spines as opposed to the reddish brown spines on older leaves. The backs of the leaves have spines midway from the base to the top. Not the fastest growing aloe of course but a wonderful fully-formed treasure even while small. It closely resembles Aloe humilis but the leaves are thicker and more rigid. It is a low growing species with irregular flowering and seed set. This unique succulent plant is classed as an endangered species.


In the winter, Aloe peglerae develops an almost comically fat, and often times single, flower stalk in the late fall with a bright red flowers. The flower buds are dull red with purplish stamens protruding from the flower tube which give the flowers a characteristic appearance. The visible portions of filaments are deep purple in color. Flowers are shy to flower unless in full sun and conditions are perfect. The flowers are pollinated by birds, bees and wind.

Origin / History

Aloe peglerae is native from South Africa, it’s an endemic species to to the Magaliesberg, from near Pretoria to near Rustenburg in the Western Transvaal, and the northern, rocky slopes of the Witwatersberg. The species is named after Alice Marguerite Pegler (1861-1929), a botanist and naturalist who collected at first around Kentani, and later in the vicinity of Johannesburg and Rustenburg. It is listed in the Red Data list of South Africa as an endangered species on the extinction queue if not protected or grown for ex-situ conservation. The greatest threat to this plant is caused by over collection in the wild by plant collectors and developments along the ridges where the plants occur. It is illegal to collect this plant from the wild.

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Care / Cultivation

Considered easy to cultivate if given well-drained soil and a sheltered spot in the garden. With regular water it opens up more. Dry conditions will give the leaves a purple color and keep the ball shape tight. Provide excellent drainage of course, but if you have a languishing plant, try regular irrigation. Before each watering, it’s better to wait until the soil is completely dry. It requires a well-drained acid soil, composed of one third of sand or pebbles, to prevent roots rotting. This species needs to be exposed to filtered light, unlike most Aloes. Of course they tolerate also a full exposure to sunlight, and the leaves, if so, will turn reddish. This aloe can be propagated from seed. Sow seed at 70 degrees Fahrenheit or separate offsets in late spring and plant in cactus potting mix. Depending on the viability of seed the germination rate is often up to 60-70%. Seeds must be sown in the well-drained growth media and covered lightly with the fine silica sand.

Frost Tenderness

Exposure to frost should be avoided so, if you are cultivating Aloe peglerae outdoors, try to protect it with little 'greenhouse-like' shelters.

Use in the Garden

With its tightly-packed, grey-green curved leaves, this aloe has an unmistakeable 'soccer ball' form which makes it one of the most interesting form plants available. In cultivation Aloe peglerae makes a stunning show especially in winter when there is little else in flower. The plants look good when planted in groups of three to five in natural grass vegetation as they appear in the veld. They can also be grown in large pots or in a rockery, if the drainage is good. Plant this aloe in a flat grassland garden, preferably creating a rock shelf effect around the aloes to keep the grass back. This is a sure way to create a garden of bizarre living sculptures! The flowers attract butterflies and sunbirds. Aloe peglerae is a slow-growing species, so it can be cultivated also in pots. It is an excellent plant for warm temperate climates that will take drought and moderate freezes.

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