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Products > Aloe decurva
Aloe decurva - Mount Zembe Aloe

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Aloe decurva
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aloeaceae (now Asphodeloideae)
Origin: Mozambique (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Red/Purple Foliage: Yes
Flower Color: Orange Red
Bloomtime: Winter
Height: 1 foot
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Aloe decurva (Mount Zembe Aloe) - A mostly solitary very short stemmed succulent with a dense rosette laying over slightly that holds many 16 to 22 inch long green leaves that have orange teeth along the margins and blush reddish to orange in winter months. Flowering also occurs in winter with one to three usually unbranched 2 to 3 foot long inflorescences rising up and then arching over and terminating with a 4 to 8 inch long dense raceme of red flower buds that open a vibrant orange with long exerted stamens - in bud the flowers are so tightly packed and nearly sessile (lacking petioles) that it has been described as resembling a curved cob of red corn and when flowers open as like a bottlebrush. The stem of this inflorescence is unique in the aloes as it is curved and sulcate (having parallel grooves).

Plant in full to part day sun in a well-drained soil and give occasional water. It has proven hardy in cultivation to around 25 F. When young and grown from seed this plant takes its time as it elongates along a relatively long and slender prostrate stem but once mature the growth is more rapid, leaves are larger and this stem hidden. This plant grows very well in southern California gardens and has very attractive foliage and flowers.

In its natural habitat Aloe decurva has a very restricted range. It was first discovered in 1949 by Raymond Charles Munch (commemorated by plants such as Aloe munchii) on Zembe Mountain south of Chimoio in Manica Sofala Province, Mozambique where it grows in montane grasslands on the steep rocky slopes from 3,000 to 3,500 feet in altitude. It was described in 1957 by Gilbert Westacott Reynolds, author of The Aloes of South Africa and The Aloes of Tropical Africa and Madagascar, from plants Munch cultivated in his garden near Rusape in what was called Rhodesia and now Zimbabwe. The specific epithet is a reference to the downwardly inclined inflorescence. Our thanks go out to Tom Cole of Cold Spring Aloes who introduced us to this very fine plant and to the Institute of Aloes Studies where we got our cutting stock. We sold this interesting aloe from 2015 until 2019. 

This information about Aloe decurva 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.