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Products > Aloe ciliaris 'Firewall'
 
Aloe ciliaris 'Firewall' - Groundcover Aloe
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aloeaceae (Aloes)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Year-round
Synonyms: [Aloe ciliaris hybrid, 'Fire Break']
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 6-12 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25° F
Aloe ciliaris 'Firewall' (Groundcover Aloe) - A moderately low growing succulent with arching upright semi-woody stems to 2 to 3 feet tall and forming a dense green mass to 10 feet wide or more. The stems are densely covered by tightly overlapping 4 inch long lanceolate leaves that are auriculate at their bases, with a sheath attaching the leaf to the stem and, as with the species, this sheath is adorned with cilia, or soft white teeth, though the teeth are shorter and more scattered than on Aloe ciliaris var. ciliaris. The scarlet-red 1 inch long flowers, on foot long unbranched inflorescences, emerge near the terminal ends of the branches and bloom throughout much of the year. More robust in all respects than the species and growing in a mounds up to 2 feet tall rather than climbing like Aloe ciliaris var. ciliaris. Plant in full sun to light shade and irrigate occasionally to very little - quite drought tolerant but remains greener and plumper with some irrigation. This plant is a bit more tolerant of cold temperatures than the species and has been undamaged by winter temperatures of 20 - 25 degrees F. This is an old hybrid that we first noted seeing old plantings in Santa Barbara area gardens in the 1980s and there has been much speculation as to its origins. The plant certainly most resembles, Aloe ciliaris, which is a hexaploid (2n= 42) and since nearly all other South African aloes are diploids with 14 chromosomes, a hybrid with Aloe ciliaris as a parent would be difficult and there are no known natural hybrids of Aloe ciliaris in the wild. Aloe ciliaris is now considered to have three varieties, var. ciliaris, a hexaploid (2n=42), var. tidmarshii, a diploid(2n=14) and var. redacta, a tetraploid(2n=28) with var. tidmarshii probably being the progenitor of the group. With the discovery of the polyploidy in natural populations of the species, the chances of a natural or created hybrid is certainly more feasible. To this point there was a garden-grown plant of the species described as 'forma gigas' in 1938 by Dr. Flávio Resende that was determined to be a petaploid (2n=35). We may never determine the actual parentage or origins of this plant, which we have grown in the nursery garden since receiving it 1985. It is a common plant in old gardens in Santa Barbara and is particularly plentiful at Bellosguardo , the wonderful Santa Barbara estate owned by the late Huguette Clark where we first saw in large 15 foot wide solid stands. This plant, with its densely overlapping succulent leaves, has been observed to be fire resistant and possibly stop passage of fire across large patches and so has been dubbed "Firewall", quite the fitting name for it and a name we are happy to use this name for this plant we have long sold as "Aloe ciliaris hybrid". In an interesting twist of nomenclature, a recent proposal is to place this and other climbing aloe into their own genus, Aloiampelos - see our listing of Aloe ciliaris var. ciliaris, for more information on this. We also grow for the more delicate Aloe ciliaris var. tidmarshii This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Aloe ciliaris 'Firewall'.
 
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