Hello aloe Add colour to a dull garden with aloes: minimal water and little maintenance required
Aloes don’t need much water or maintenance, and are at their most beautiful in winter. We asked three experts for advice on how to keep these plants happy in the garden.
Mountain aloes in their full glory on Bushveld koppies, the candelabra aloes of KwaZulu-Natal, bitter aloes in the southern Cape, the Uitenhage aloe, striking quiver trees on the plains of the Northern Cape… From chilli red and peachy pink to yellow and orange; from mountain aloes 7m in height to white grass aloes only 10cm tall – without these pops of colour, the South African landscape would be truly dull in winter time.
Indeed, it’s the wide variety of growth habits, inflorescences, flower colours and leaf forms that makes aloes so irresistible to collectors and gardeners, says Gideon Smith (right) in the Sasol First Field Guide toAloes of Southern Africa. More than 500 aloe species have been identified around the world, and about 120 of them are indigenous to South Africa. For this aloe report, we consulted Gideon, who has six books about aloes to his name, as well as aloe cultivators Leo Thamm (left) of Sunbird Aloes in Randburg and Andy de Wet (right) of De Wet Plant Breeders and The Aloe Farm at Hartbeespoort. >
THIS PHOTO AND OPPOSITE Quiver trees ( Aloidendron dichotomum) bear butter-yellow flowers from mid to late winter, brightening the Knersvlakte in Namaqualand.
Rooiklip Aloe ‘Vambalinni’
Rooiklip Aloe angelica hybrid
Rooiklip Aloe marlothii hybrid