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Products > Aloe decurva
Aloe decurva - Mount Zembe Aloe
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 that 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 and like us, those who have grown it from this stage wonder if we have the right plant, 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 this plant 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.  The information about Aloe decurva displayed on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources we consider reliable. We will also relate those observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments we receive from others and welcome hearing from anyone who has additional information, particularly when they share cultural information that would aid others in growing it.