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Products > Aloe castanea
 
Aloe castanea - Cat's Tail Aloe
   

 
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aloeaceae (Aloes)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Orange
Bloomtime: Winter
Height: 8-12 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Aloe castanea (Cat's Tail Aloe). This aloe can grow into a small tree (8 to 12 feet tall) with a single main trunk at ground level with several spreading branches higher up or can be pruned to enhance lower branching to form a dense shrub-like mass 6 to 10 feet tall. The leaves are up to 5 feet long with the older leaves persisting along the trunk providing a "skirt" with the margins armed with firm, small, brown teeth. The blooms, which appear in mid-winter, are an unusual color of dark orange-brown and are formed along the curled and snake-like inflorescence, hence the common name Cat's Tail Aloe. The nectar of this plant is an unusual brown color. Plant this aloe in full sun, even in desert heat, in a well-draining soil. It is drought tolerant but seems to bloom better if planted in rich soil and given some summer water. Often listed as cold tolerant to 25 F. (our plants undamaged at this temperature in the January 2007 freeze) but Brian Kemble of the Ruth Bancroft garden lists it as hardy to 20 F on his List of Hardy Aloes. This aloe is native to the Northeastern South Africa from Witbank in the Mpumalanga province north to Polokwane in the Limpopo province. The specific epithet 'castanea' is the Latin word for "chestnut" in reference to this aloe's brownish colored flowers. We got our original propagation stock of this aloe from Rancho Soledad Nursery in 2005. This wonderful Aloe is attractive to birds and insects and deserves wider use in the garden!  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 castanea.
 
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