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Aloe arborescens (krantz aloe)
Article Number: 341 | Rating: 5/5 from 1 votes | Last Updated: Fri, May 17, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Aloe arborescens (krantz aloe) grows into a large and spreading plant that is very useful for larger gardens. It has a multi-stemmed growth habit and crowns of narrow, thorny leaves, and needs quite a lot of space. It produces conical flowers in shades of bright orange, post-box red, salmon-pink and butter-yellow. There are so many varieties that it is possible to plant an aloe garden using only of A. arborescens varieties.
Sometimes we ignore or neglect them, but when the fiery flowers of the aloes appear, we cannot get enough of these plants. Nowadays nurseries stock many new aloe hybrids, and they bloom in so many stunning colours that even the most selective of colour connoisseurs is sure to be satisfied. From the small, humble varieties to the stately Aloe ferox and Aloe ‘Rex', the plants in this genus are now high fashion and claiming their rightful place in our gardens.
When do they bloom?
There are both winter- and summer-flowering aloes, so between them and all the lovely new hybrids there should always be at least one in bloom.
Most suitable climate
If you take into account the natural habitats of our indigenous aloes, it is apparent that they can be grown almost throughout the country. However, although they are often described as ‘exceptionally hardy', they are not resistant to heavy frost and bitter cold. Most can tolerate light morning frost, but in areas that suffer from anything harsher, they should be protected with a frost blanket.
What they need
Location: full sun, even in the hottest regions. Rockeries were the traditional spots for aloes, but nowadays they are planted in more prominent places in the garden. They are exceptionally pretty between ornamental grasses, and as accent plants in pots and formal urns.
Insects such as aphids and snout beetles sometimes attack aloes, and they occasionally fall prey to fungal diseases, such as rust, especially if they are growing close together. Spray the plants with a systemic insecticide to stop the sucking insects in their tracks.
Get more value
If you obtain an aloe cutting without roots, for example a branch of A. arborescens or A. barberae, place it on a piece of newspaper in the shade for about two weeks to let the wounds dry out. After that, simply push it into sandy soil, such as coarse river sand, to let it take root (you can dip it into commercial hormone rooting powder first). Stemless aloes produce many runners – simply divide them and then replant.
In a nutshell
* Tough, water-wise plants.
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