Gardening Magazine

Aloe Speciosa

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Aloe speciosa (28/02/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Aloe speciosa (28/02/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering period: Late spring to early summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 3m

Eventual Spread: 1.5m

Hardiness: 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b

Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae

Sub Family: Asphodeloideae

Aloe speciosa Leaf (28/02/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Aloe speciosa Leaf (28/02/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Aloe speciosa is a slow growing evergreen perennial with an upright rosette forming habit, forming a single stem. Its grey/ green fleshy leaves are linear lanceolate with red toothed margins, up to 1m long and arranged spirally on a tilted orientation. This plant will slowly form an erect stem. Its orange/ red flowers are tubular, mature to green/ white, are up to 55mm long and appear as erect racemes which may be up to 50cm long.

Aloe speciosa, commonly known as Tilt Head Aloe, is native to south South Africa. In its native habitat it grows in dry river valleys and mountain slopes in dense thickets.

Aloe speciosa Flower (28/02/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Aloe speciosa Flower (28/02/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

The etymological root of the binomial name Aloe is derived from the Semetic alloeh a name for this genus. Speciosa is from the Latin meaning ‘spectacular’.

The landscape architect may find Aloe speciosa useful as a suitable specimen plant in a rock or desert garden setting. Its is also suitable for growing as a house plant, suitable for bright conditions. Once established this plant is drought tollerant. Care should be taken when locating this plant due to the sharp teeth found on its leaf margins.

Ecologically, Aloe speciosa flowers are attractive to pollinating insects and Sunbirds.

Aloe speciosa Trunk (28/02/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Aloe speciosa Trunk (28/02/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Aloe speciosa prefers moist, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

When maintaining Aloe speciosa as a houseplant its soil should be watered regularly. Watering should be reduced during the winter months. Its preferred active growing temperature rages from between 18ºc to 28ºc, although it will tolerate a temperature as low as near freezing. Feeding with weak fertiliser solution should be carried out once a month during the growing season. Mealy bugs may attack this plant.

DAVIS Landscape Architecture

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