Neglected for many years, Aloes have finally taken their rightful place in the fore of our gardens. Aloes are plants with distinct contrasts. They possess the most amazing stark foliage with textured succulent leaves growing in perfect geometrical rosettes. The leaves of some varieties change colour during the cooler months of the year. Then comes the contrast with flower spikes emerging from the rosette and exploding in a riot of psychedelic colours. Most Aloes bear tubular flowers in umbels opening from the bottom of the flower spike. These flowers are adored by Sunbirds and Hummingbirds and the chances are good that if you plant one you will be able to attract some of these beautiful visitors to your garden. The benefits of planting Aloes are numerous.
Benefits of planting an Aloe
- Aloes come in a diverse range of forms and sizes able to suit any one’s taste.
- They work great with a variety of indigenous and exotic plants.
- Being a succulent, they are able to withstand our harsh dry South African weather.
- Aloes work great in pots and containers.
- They have the most amazing structural leaves with striking flowers in a range of colours.
- There are plenty of Aloes available that are frost resistant but that can flower throughout the year.
- The newer Aloe hybrids specifically grown for garden use and often grow faster with better frost resistance and bigger better blooms.
- Think of grouping Aloes together with other low water need plants to create a waterwise garden.
- Aloes prefer as much sun as possible to thrive with some varieties adapted to grow in semi-shade.
- They are extremely waterwise plants surviving dry spells with no ill effect- this combined with the above makes them ideal for those sunny hard to water areas.
- Always mix some riversand in with a good quality compost or pottingsoil to help improve the drainage, clay soils are death to Aloes.
- They work excellent in pots and containers- think of using them with other waterwise plants in a mixed pot or as a specimen plant on its own.
- Aloes can get diseases such as rust and Aloe cancer and pests such as scale and mealy bug, if your Aloe shows any funny symptoms bring as a sample and we can help you get rid of the problem.
- Aloe flowers can be damaged by severe frost, protect them using a frost cover or if is in a pot to a more sheltered area.
- This year we are stocking Aloes by Andy de Wet master breeder and pioneer in the field of hybridising Aloes. Below are a few of his plants that we are stocking.
- Feed them with an organic fertiliser high in Potash to ensure as many blooms as possible.
Here is a list some of the stunning Aloes in stock:
Aloe CHARLES var ‘ANDcha’
Aloe FIRECHIEF var’ANDfir’
Bright red flowers even when the plant is young
Flowering time is mid-June to late July
Can flower randomly throughout the year
Tolerates temperatures down to -6°
Multi-stemmed plant that grows up to 2.0m in height and spreads up to 1.5m
Aloe KOELEMAN’S ORANGE
A large Aloe that produces a spectacular mass of orange flowers in winter
Peak flowering time is early July to early August
Tolerates temperatures down to -5°
Single stemmed Aloe that grows 1.6m x 1.3m
Peak flowering occurs between July to August
Single stemmed Aloe that grows up to 1.6m in height and spreads up to 1.3m
One of the best Aloes for mass plantings, small gardens and container garden
Mature happy plants can flower from late March to June
Tolerates frost down to -4°. Provides a spectacular display of colour in a landscape
A small bushy Aloe that grows and spreads up to 20cm
We are stocking 17 varieties this year with different characteristics, flowers and leaves. They range in size and price from 2L to 20L bags and R69.90 to R679.90. With so many benefits there is no reason not to find a spot for one in the garden. Lastly have a look at this helpful infographic on how Succulents and Aloes fit into the plant family.
Photos courtesy of Andy de Wet plant breeders