Also Known As: Malagasy Tree Aloe
Category: Single Head Tree Aloes
USDA Hardiness Zones: 9b - 11
OverviewAloe vaombe, the 'Malagasy Tree Aloe' is one of the most beautiful large tree aloes, making a stunning centerpiece specimen for a garden. It is a large unbranched tree aloe to 12 feet tall or more with large solitary rosettes up to 5 feet across of recurved, pale green leaves that have whitish teeth. Mature plants produce spectacular orange-red flowers in the winter.
DescriptionAloe Vaombe is a beautiful and brillant large, unbranched, Madagascan native that can grow up to 12 feet tall or more with large solitary rosettes up to 5 feet across. Arguably the most brilliant of all the tree Aloes because of the beautifully exotic appearance of a succulent foliar rosette sitting atop a stunningly ornate trunk. Leaves are persistent on stem (though they can be cut and the pealed off for a more smooth stem look). These leaves are cupped-shaped in cross section and take on rich red tones in winter. Downward arching, elongated, grey-green succulent leaves are edged in white serrated 'teeth'. Cut leaves ooze a brilliant yellow-green sap that turns a dark purple when dries (just like that of Aloe rubroviolacea). Fading leaves simply droop down and eventually dry forming a skirt around the single trunk.
FloweringAloe vaombe flowers in winter on highly branched inflorescences and racemes of moderately compact conical racemes of fiery red to red-orange. Seed pods are exceptionally large and incredibly productive with many thousands of seed produced each winter. The flower spikes are much loved by bees and hummingbirds.
Origin / HistoryThis large Aloe comes from Southern Madagascar (Toliara Province) where it grows in dry thorny scrub on limestone soils. The specific epithet comes from the indigenous name 'vahombre'. Also known as Malagasy Tree Aloe.
Care / CultivationPlant Aloe vaombe in full sun and water it sparingly once established, though plants grow much faster and more lushly with regular irrigation. This Aloe is drought-resistant, drought-tolerant, and handles most soil types and a variety of climates. Aloe vaombe will benefit from filtered light in hot, inland locations. This plant's seed for some reason is one of the easiest to germinate.
Frost TendernessAloe Vaombe can resist temperatures around 30 F for short periods of time. Reportedly not cold hardy much beyond the upper 20's F as evidenced by damage and survival stories reported around the Los Angeles area after the January 2007 cold spell. Severe flower and moderate leaf damage at about 26F, and near defoliation below that (still, plants have a lot of 'come back' potential).
Use in the GardenWhen grown in the ground, Aloe Vaombe is a great centerpiece specimen for the near frost free garden with red foliage and flowers making a stunning combination in winter. The flowers attract bees and birds to the garden. Deer resistant and extremely drought tolerant once established. Aloe Vaombe Madagascar Tree Aloe does well in pots, rockeries and a wide range of gardens, and like all succulents is very drought tolerant, making it a favorite for pots around pools or on balconies where established plants are expected to survive with very little water or attention. The exotic rosettes make this variety a great addition to any garden as the bold texture provides great contrast, and can be used quite effectively in adding some flare to any garden. As Aloe vaombe (Madagascar Tree Aloe) is very hardy and essentially maintenance free, it is often used in mass plantings in public spaces as it is a reliable performer.
The information on this page about Aloe vaombe has been gathered and summarized from the sources listed below. Visit these pages to learn more or even buy the plant for your own garden.