Create Your Garden

Aloe africana (African Aloe)

African Aloe, Spiny Aloe, Uitenhage Aloe, Aloe perfoliata var. africana, Pachidendron africanum, Chamaealoe africana

Aloe africana, African Aloe

Aloe africana is an elegant and practical succulent, perfect for adding a touch of the exotic to dry, sunny landscapes. Its striking appearance, low water requirements, and benefits for wildlife make it a valuable addition to environmentally conscious gardens.

Aloe africana: An In-depth Look

Aloe africana, a distinct member of the Aloe genus, is a tall, evergreen succulent plant that offers both aesthetic and ecological benefits. It is known for its tall, slender stem and rosette of long, spiky leaves. It has a striking appearance, with leaves that are blue-green in color, edged with small teeth, and curve gracefully upwards and outwards.

Native: This species is native to South Africa, particularly thriving in the Eastern Cape province. Its native habitat has shaped its resilience and adaptability.

Plant Type and Habit: As a perennial succulent, African Aloe typically grows with a single main stem and forms a rosette of leaves at the top. While it is usually unbranched, it may sometimes be multi-stemmed. The plant has an upright growth habit and is known for its architectural form.

Size: It can reach up to 6-13 feet in height (1.8 to 4 meters), with the leaf rosette spreading out to about 2-4 feet wide (60-120 cm).

Flowers: Aloe africana produces tall spikes of striking yellow to orange tubular flowers arranged in a branched inflorescence. Deep orange in bud, they ripen to orange then turn more yellow. The flowers add a vibrant splash of color to the landscape. The blooming period usually occurs in late winter to early spring, offering a bright display during a time when few other plants are in flower.

Foliage: The thick, blue-green leaves are long, about 2 feet (60 cm), tapered, and adorned with sharp red spines along the edges, giving the plant a dramatic and spiky appearance. Extending outward before gracefully curving down towards their tapered ends, the leaves display a vibrant green hue in shadier spots, while in dry conditions, they adopt a purplish or pinkish tint. Beneath the leafy rosette, the trunk is cloaked in dried, older leaves, adding to the plant’s textured appearance.

Uses: Aloe africana is ideal for xeriscaping, rock gardens, and as a focal point in dry garden landscapes. Its architectural form makes it a popular choice for decorative purposes in public and private gardens.

Hardiness: It’s hardy in USDA zones 9-11 and is well-suited to warm, dry climates. It can withstand light frosts but needs protection from severe cold.

Wildlife: The flowers are attractive to various pollinators, including bees and birds, particularly sunbirds, which are drawn to the nectar.

Toxicity: Like many aloes, Aloe africana can be toxic if ingested, particularly for pets. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling.

Deer and Rabbit: Generally resistant to deer and rabbits.

Drought: Highly drought-tolerant, making it ideal for water-wise gardening and for regions with water restrictions.

Invasiveness: Not considered invasive; it’s a slow-growing plant that typically does not spread beyond its allotted space.

Benefits: Apart from its ornamental value, Aloe africana is low maintenance and attracts beneficial wildlife. It can also be used medicinally, although it’s less common than Aloe vera for these purposes.

Aloe Growing Tips

Light: Prefer bright, indirect sunlight; can tolerate direct sunlight. In extremely hot climates, provide some afternoon shade to prevent leaf scorch.

Soil: Require well-draining, sandy or gravelly soil. Cactus or succulent potting mix is ideal for container-grown plants.

Water: Water deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Reduce watering in the cooler months to prevent root rot.

Fertilizer: Feed with a diluted, balanced fertilizer once in the spring and again in the summer. Avoid over-fertilizing, which can lead to weak, leggy growth.

Pruning: Remove dead or damaged leaves at the base to keep the plant healthy. Pruning is minimal and generally only for aesthetic purposes or to remove offsets.

Propagation: Easily propagated by removing offsets (pups) that grow around the base of the plant. Allow cuttings to callous over for a few days before planting in soil.

Pests and Diseases: Watch for pests like mealybugs or scale insects. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so ensure proper drainage.

Requirements

Hardiness 9 - 11
Plant Type Cactus & Succulents
Plant Family Asphodelaceae
Genus Aloe
Common names Aloe
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 6' - 13'
(180cm - 4m)
Spread 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spacing 24" - 48"
(60cm - 120cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Deer, Rabbit
Attracts Bees, Birds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden, City and Courtyard, Gravel and Rock Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Aloe
Guides with
Aloe
Not sure which Aloe to pick?
Compare Now

Alternative Plants to Consider

Aloe pluridens (French Aloe)
Aloe wickensii (Geelaalwyn)
Aloe thraskii (Coast Aloe)
Aloe Moonglow™
Aloe petricola (Stone Aloe)
Aloidendron barberae (Tree Aloe)

Recommended Companion Plants

Agave
Echeveria
Sedum (Stonecrop)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

Succulents
Aloe
Cold-Hardy Aloes for Your Garden
Pretty Aloes for Your Containers
Great Perennials as Companion Plants for Your Succulents
Great Ornamental Grasses as Companion Plants for Your Succulents
Great Shrubs as Companion Plants for Your Succulents
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
Buy Plants

Requirements

Hardiness 9 - 11
Plant Type Cactus & Succulents
Plant Family Asphodelaceae
Genus Aloe
Common names Aloe
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 6' - 13'
(180cm - 4m)
Spread 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spacing 24" - 48"
(60cm - 120cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Deer, Rabbit
Attracts Bees, Birds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden, City and Courtyard, Gravel and Rock Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Aloe
Guides with
Aloe
Not sure which Aloe to pick?
Compare Now

Gardening Ideas

Plant Calculator

How many Aloe africana (African Aloe) do I need for my garden?

Input your garden space dimensions

Your Shopping List

Plant Quantity
Aloe africana (African Aloe) N/A Buy Plants

Please Login to Proceed

You Have Reached The Free Limit, Please Subscribe to Proceed

Subscribe to Gardenia

To create additional collections, you must be a paid member of Gardenia
  • Add as many plants as you wish
  • Create and save up to 25 garden collections
Become a Member

Plant Added Successfully

You have Reached Your Limit

To add more plants, you must be a paid member of our site Become a Member

Update Your Credit
Card Information

Cancel

Create a New Collection

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

    You have been subscribed successfully

    Join Gardenia.net

    Create a membership account to save your garden designs and to view them on any device.

    Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

    Join now and start creating your dream garden!

    Join Gardenia.net

    Create a membership account to save your garden designs and to view them on any device.

    Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

    Join now and start creating your dream garden!

    Find your Hardiness Zone

    Find your Heat Zone

    Find your Climate Zone