San Marcos GrowersSan Marcos Growers
New User?
Wholesale Login
Enter Password
Home Products Purchase Gardens About Us Resources Contact Us
 Web Site Search
Plant Database
Search by Plant Name
  General Plant Info
Search for any word
  Advanced Search >>
Search by size, origins,
color, cultural needs, etc.
Site Map
Retail Locator
Plant Listings


 Weather Station

Products > Aloe africana
Aloe africana - Spiny Aloe

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aloeaceae (Aloes)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow & Orange
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Height: 6-8 feet
Width: 2-4 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Aloe africana (Spiny Aloe) A solitary often unbranched small tree-like aloe usually up to 6 feet but sometimes taller with rosettes densely crowded with gracefully arching 2 foot long lance-shaped thick grayish blue-green leaves that have prominent sharp red teeth along the margins and in a row running along the middle of the lower surface with older leaves skirting the trunk. Flowering on this species can happen at other times but most often in mid-winter to early spring (January-March) with an un-branched to few-branched 2 to 3 foot inflorescence of erect long-tapering terminal spikes of flowers that are orange in bud and turni yellow just prior to opening from the bottom of the spike upwards. The individual flowers are held in a downward inclination but uniquely turn upwards towards the tips, making identification of this species quite easy. Plant is full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate regularly to very little - though from a climate that gets little frost and more summer moisture within its natural range, it adapts well to our mediterranean summer dry climate with only infrequent summer irrigation and temperatures down to 25F - unharmed in our January 2007 freeze with 3 nights at 25F. This is a great plant that can be used as a focal point like a small tree aloe and underplanted with other succulents. Keep it back from the path as the teeth are sharp and catch clothing and cut the skin but in flower it is sensational and also very attractive to bees and hummingbirds. Aloe africana is native to the summer moist coastal Eastern Cape in South Africa where it grows within thickets of shrubs from sea level to nearly 1,000 feet in elevation. It was described in 1768 by the Scottish botanist Philip Miller, who was also the chief gardener at the Chelsea Physic Garden. It was grown in Europe prior to when many other aloes were described and before Linnaeus establishing the binominal classification system we currently use. The specific epithet that Miller gave it is simply in reference its African origins. The common name Uitenhage Aloe used in South Africa comes from a locality, the Uitenhage District, where this plant is plentiful. Our stock on this plant from the Institute of Aloe Studies.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We have also incorporated comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Aloe africana.