Also known as the Krantz aloe, Aloe arborescens is a multi-headed shrub that can grow to a height of between 2 and 3 m with a similar spread. The leaves are fleshy, curved and tapering with toothed margins. The attractive blue-green colour of the leaves provide contrasting colour in the garden. Flowers are produced in early winter and have a bright red to orange colour. The flower spikes tower above the plant, adding accent colour during the cold months of the year. The bell-like blooms have an abundance of nectar, attracting birds and insects.
Aloe arborescens is a fast grower that requires minimum maintenance. It is very drought resistant and can handle windy and hot conditions. Contrary to belief, this aloe is fairly sensitive to cold conditions. The plant can withstand light morning frost, but prolonged, extreme cold and heavy frost is detrimental to its growth. The flowers are more sensitive than the leaves.
Historically, Aloe arborescens was planted around domestic animal enclosures to act as a living fence. Today Aloe arborescens is used mainly as a decorative or accent plant, but can also be utilised to form a barrier or hedge. Aloe arborescens is an attractive plant that provides food for sunbirds in winter as well as attracting insects and thus other birds. Used medicinally.
You may find stock of this plant at Random Harvest.