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Products > Aloe x salm-dyckiana
Aloe x salm-dyckiana
Image of Aloe x salm-dyckiana
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aloeaceae (now Asphodeloideae)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Fall/Winter
Synonyms: [Aloe x principis]
Parentage: (A. arborescens x A. ferox)
Height: 8-10 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Aloe x salm-dyckiana - A large shrub aloe to 8-9 feet tall with dark gray-green leaves and 2-3 foot tall upright-branching inflorescences with dark red flowers in late fall and early winter. This aloe typically branches at the base but can have a solitary trunk with very erect stems if crowded.

Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil where little to no irrigation is required in coastal gardens. It has proven hardy to short duration temperatures down to 25 F and not damaged in our 2007 January freeze with 3 nights in a row down to this temperature. Though no empirical data exists on this, we have observed this plant to be resistant to Aloe mite (Aceria aloinis). This is a great show red aloe at Christmas time in California gardens.

Aloe x salm-dyckiana is thought to be a naturally occurring hybrid between A. ferox and A. arborescens. Gilbert Westacott Reynolds notes in the listing of Aloe arborescens in his The Aloes of South Africa the names associated with this cross and includes both Aloe x principis and A. x salm-dyckiana. Reynolds stated that "In several localities A. arborescens and A. ferox grow socially and cross very freely. This is particularly evident near Mossel Bay, Gouritz River, Riverdale and further west, where a bewildering range of hybrid aggregates can be seen in various growth and colour forms." While many refer to all plants with this parentage as Aloe x principis, since there were many forms of this hybrid cross it really is not clear which name best applies to the plants cultivated in California. It has long been grown in our region as Aloe x salm-dyckiana. Eric Walther's mention of "the well-known A. salm-dyckiana" in the June 1930 issue of the Journal of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America is testament to how long this plant has been in cultivation here. Walters notes later in an article titled "Notes from Huntington Botanic Garden" in the May 1932 issue of this journal that "A. salm-dyckiana, a hybrid between A. ferox and A. arborescens, may be recognized by its three-branched inflorescence, scarlet perianth and pedicels decidedly longer than their subtending bracts." when comparing it to the closely related A. caesia Salm-Dyck. Aloe x salm-dyckiana was also the name listed for this plant in the 1940 edition of Cacti and Other Succulent: An Annotated List of Plants Cultivated in Santa Barbara by Pearl Chase and compiled and reviewed by Ralph Hoffmann, E.O. Orpet, Eric Walthers and James West.

Early mention of the Aloe x salm-dyckiana and Aloe x princeps being synonymous was made by Gary Lyons, then curator of the Huntington Botanic Garden Desert Garden in the March-April 1969 issue of the Journal of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America where he notes "Throughout the lower garden there are plantings of an aloe very similar to but much larger than, A. arborescens. This species has always been referred to as A. salm-dyckiana, but it is actually a natural hybrid between A. ferox and A. arborescens and is correctly referred to as A. X principis, its earliest published name."

Our original plants that we produced our crops from came from Franceschi Park in Santa Barbara where old plants formed a massive planting along the entry road that need clearing out, which first provided us with our stock to build from. While it might be confusing to some, because of the early references using this name, the possibility of their being multiple clones, and because it was the name that we first received this plant as, we think it important to retain the name Aloe x salm-dyckiana for this sensational aloe named for the German aristocrat and botanist Joseph zu Salm-Reifferscheidt-Dyck. 

This information about Aloe x salm-dyckiana displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.