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Products > Aloe wickensii
Aloe wickensii - Geelaalwyn
Image of Aloe wickensii
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aloeaceae (now Asphodeloideae)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red & Yellow
Bloomtime: Winter
Synonyms: [A. cryptopoda, Hort.]
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Aloe wickensii (Geelaalwyn) - Succulent plant with solitary stemless rosettes densely packed with upright, curved smooth grey-green leaves with small sharp reddish-brown spines along the margins. The beautiful bi-colored red and yellow flowers appear well above the leaves in branched racemes in late winter with red buds opening to yellow flowers from the bottom of the inflorescence up.

Plant in full sun to light shade in a well-drained soil and water occasionally to regularly in summer (from a summer rainfall area). Cold hardy to 20F.

Aloe wickensii is from an area east of Pietersburg to Burgersfort southwest to near Marble Hall and Nebo in an area that receives much of its 20-25 inches of rainfall in the summer. It was named for a Mr. Wickens who with a Mr. Pienaar (honored by the very closely related Aloe pienaarii) found this plant 25 miles south of Pietersburg in Northern Transvaal in 1914.

This species is often included in with Aloe cryptopoda, but this bi-colored form has long been grown under the name Aloe wickensii with Aloe cryptopoda being a more uniformly all yellow or all red form. In Aloes: The Definitive Guide (Kew Publishing 2011) it is stated that: "This striking species [Aloe wickensii] is easily recognized by its usually bi-coloured racemes of dark red buds opening to bright yellow flowers it has been confused with A. cryptopoda from the northern regions of Zimbabwe but can easily be distinguished by its long-acuminate, broad floral bracts and by its flower colour". Aloe cryptopoda is widely distributed in bushveld areas, in flat open areas and on rocky slopes across a band of the subtropical area on the northern boundries of eastern South Africa. The name 'crytpopoda' meaning "hidden foot" is in reference to the peduncles that are hidden by bracts within the inflorescence. The name Geelaalwyn is the Afrikaner name applied to both of these plants.

We also grow the similar and related to Aloe lutescens Aloe lutescens, which is found further to the north and has the bicolored flowers but is a clump forming plant with yellow green foliage with a narrower inflorescence and it blooms here in Santa Barbara in mid spring, a bit later than A. wickensii. 

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